A model has been developed for obtaining the projected performance of membranes in pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) from direct osmosis and reverse osmosis measurements. The model shows that concentration polarization within the porous substrate of the membrane markedly lowers the water flux under PRO conditions. The model has been used along with experimental data obtained with a variety of reverse osmosis membranes to project PRO performance with several water—brine sources. Some literature data on PRO have been similarly examined. Based on these results and a simple economic analysis we conclude that membranes with significantly improved performance will be needed if PRO is to become an economically feasible method for power generation using seawater—fresh water as the salinity gradient resource. However, the economics of a brine/fresh water system appear competitive with conventional power generation technologies.