Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Waterpower banner

Wave Energy Resource Characterization

Wave Energy Resource Characterization

According to a 2011 DOE funded analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute, the U.S. has a total wave energy resource along the outer continental shelf of 2,640 TWh/yr, with a recoverable resource of 1,170 TMh/yr. To give a sense of the size of that resource, the U.S. uses approximately 4,000 TWh of electricity in a year total.

The DOE is in the process of refining these numbers, focusing on specific "hot spots" with strong wave resources and high energy costs. PNNL is working with Sandia National Laboratory and university partners to apply the latest the third-generation, wave spectral modeling capabilities to resource assessment. This will give the marine and hydrokinetic energy (MHK) industry, DOE, federal partners, and states improved resolution not only on the total wave resource, but its seasonality, interactions between currents and winds, and extreme storm conditions. Ultimately, this work will increase humans' ability to predict and classify wave resources. Accurate and localized resource assessments can reduce financial risk, inform device design, and guide siting to attain energy production goals.

Point of Contact:

Water Power Research