A wave resource characterization was performed for the southern coast of Alaska based on a 32-year hindcast covering the period from 1979 to 2010. The characterization closely followed International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Specifications. An unstructured-grid Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) model, which had an approximate spatial resolution of 300 m within 30 km from the nearest shoreline, was developed. Extensive model validation and error characterization was performed. The model was found to perform well with an average absolute percent error of 8.6% in significant wave height, averaged over 18 buoys. Statistics for the six IEC wave resource parameters were calculated and aggregated at 20 km from shore to quantify the incident wave power and its variability at a regional scale. The southern coast of the Aleutian Archipelago was found to have the most available wave energy in the region. A nearshore resource assessment was performed by evaluating resource hotspots located 1 km from shore. More than 28% of the nearshore stations analyzed had an Optimum Hotspot Identifier value of at least 5 [kW/m] at diverse water depths, thereby positioning Alaska as a promising location for wave energy development.