Ocean waves are often cited as an appealing source of renewable energy in the Pacific but the costeffectiveness of wave energy converters (WECs) is deemed unproven and the technology is rarely considered as a reliable renewable energy resource in Pacific Island countries. However, single/stand-alone WECs could be a competitive option against fossil fuel generators because of the high cost of imported fuel. This study analyses the wave energy resource in the Pacific and calculates the potential cost and power generation of a benchmark WEC in Pacific Island countries.
The type of WEC chosen depends largely on the environmental and geophysical characteristics of the wave energy site where it is to be deployed. The aim of this study was not to report on the best device for each site but rather to give advice about the islands that could benefit most from wave energy. Therefore, the cost analysis is based on a single WEC – the Pelamis device. The Pelamis device cost presented here serves as a benchmark for comparison with other WECs in different locations. Due to uncertainties and variations in potential costs across the region, the study evaluated the range of costs applicable to the whole region. The costs of the WEC, transport, installation, operation and management, refit and decommissioning are included. Site-specific potential power generation was calculated, based on a realistic power output dependent on the wave conditions.