This paper presents and discusses the wave climate off the Swedish west coast. It is based on 8 years (1997–2004) of wave data from 13 sites, nearshore and offshore, in the Skagerrak and Kattegat. The data is a product of the WAM and SWAN wave models calibrated at one site by a wave measurement buoy. It is found that the average energy flux is approximately 5.2 kW/m in the offshore Skagerrak, 2.8 kW/m in the nearshore Skagerrak, and 2.4 kW/m in the Kattegat. One of the studied sites, i.e. site 9, is the location of a wave energy research site run by the Centre for Renewable Electric Energy Conversion at Uppsala University. This site has had a wave power plant installed since the spring of 2006, and another seven are planned to be installed during 2008. Wave energy as a renewable energy source was the driving interest that led to this study and the results are briefly discussed from this perspective.