Global wave energy electricity capacity is potentially as large as presently installed hydro power and likely larger than presently installed nuclear power.
The raw wave energy resource is measured in average power per unit crest length, e.g. kW/m or kW/km.
Ireland and UK (Cornwall & Scotland) have some of the highest average power per unit crest length values in the world. Annual averages as high as 80kW/m in some locations.
Ireland has an estimated 850km long 50kW/m wave power contour (Source: Irish Wave Energy Atlas, ESBI & SEAI). That is a raw power input average of 42.5GW and a raw energy input of 372.5TWh per annum.
At present total Irish annual electricity consumption is around 26TWh per annum. The ultimate technically achievable electricity production from wave energy in Ireland is about equal to present consumption.
It is estimated that the wave energy resource around the coast of the United Kingdom could meet 15% to 25% of current UK electricity demand. Related energy sales would be circa £2.5bn p.a. (excluding subsidies) and related technology and engineering sales would be circa £20-£30bn.
Wave energy is a relatively constant and highly predictable form of renewable energy.
Wave energy is environmentally benign with many high quality environmental studies showing that on balance wave energy technology has either a positive or neutral impact on the environment.
Studies indicate that the cost of wave energy is lower than the historical cost of wind energy at comparable levels of maturity. (EPRI, 2005)