Recently there has been a global effort to increase the utilization of renewable energy resources. In this study, we use observed data to estimate the ocean wave power available in coastal Florida. We find that average values ranging from 2.073 to 6.939 kW/m are available annually. It is shown that these values vary spatially; regions in the Atlantic Ocean have more available wave power than those in the Gulf of Mexico. Average annual wave power also varies temporally, likely due to meteorological events, indicating that changes in the climate may have significant impacts on available wave power.
Available wave power is estimated using a spectral wave power equation, which requires sparsely available spectral wave density data. Wave power is more commonly estimated using a standard wave equation, which simplifies the required parameters to wave heights and wave periods. Here, we use both equations in order to assess the impact of this simplification. We find that the estimated wave power values calculated using the two equations differ considerably; using the simplified equation underestimates available wave power by an average of 17%. The degree of underestimation varies spatially, thus we recommend using the spectral wave power equation for ocean wave power assessment whenever possible.