Wave Climate and the Wave Power Resource

  • Denis Mollison
Conference paper
Part of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics book series (IUTAM)


Wave climate statistics are reviewed from the wave power engineer’s point of view. It is emphasised that there is no fixed answer to the question “What do we need to know about the wave power resource ?” but rather a feedback loop between our knowledge and the development of any particular type of wave power device.

The mean power available averages over 40 MW/km along the best oceanic coasts, such as those of western Europe; of which at least 50% is potentially economically extractable. The total resource worldwide is roughly equal to present world electricity consumption. (Electricity is not the only possible use; direct use of wave power may also be attractive, for instance for desalination.)

Current interest is more in small scale devices, perhaps 10 to 30 metres wide, which enjoy a number of advantages, including the ‘point absorber effect’, whereby they have an effective capture width considerably greater than their physical width. Mean outputs of 1 to 2 MW should be feasible, and even devices with outputs as low as 100 kW may be economically attractive.

The outstanding data requirement is for better information on directional spectra, for specific analyses of device performance and survival rather than for power output estimates.


Wave Height Wind Power Wave Spectrum Wave Power Wave Climate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Mollison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Actuarial Mathematics and StatisticsHeriot-Watt UniversityRiccarton, EdinburghScotland

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