This project estimates the naturally available and technically recoverable U.S. wave energy resources, using a 51-month Wavewatch III hindcast database developed especially for this study by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Centers for Environmental Prediction. For total resource estimation, wave power density in terms of kilowatts per meter is aggregated across a unit diameter circle. This approach is fully consistent with accepted global practice and includes the resource made available by the lateral transfer of wave energy along wave crests, which enables wave diffraction to substantially reestablish wave power densities within a few kilometers of a linear array, even for fixed terminator devices.
The total available wave energy resource along the U.S. continental shelf edge, based on accumulating unit circle wave power densities, is estimated to be 2,640 TWh/yr, broken down as follows: 590 TWh/yr for the West Coast, 240 TWh/yr for the East Coast, 80 TWh/yr for the Gulf of Mexico, 1570 TWh/yr for Alaska, 130 TWh/yr for Hawaii, and 30 TWh/yr for Puerto Rico. The total recoverable wave energy resource, as constrained by an array capacity packing density of 15 megawatts per kilometer of coastline, with a 100-fold operating range between threshold and maximum operating conditions in terms of input wave power density available to such arrays, yields a total recoverable resource along the U.S. continental shelf edge of 1,170 TWh/yr, broken down as follows: 250 TWh/yr for the West Coast, 160 TWh/yr for the East Coast, 60 TWh/yr for the Gulf of Mexico, 620 TWh/yr for Alaska, 80 TWh/yr for Hawaii, and 20 TWh/yr for Puerto Rico.