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Reduce renewable energy cost: the wave energy

Despite its considerable potential, wave energy has not yet reached full commercial development. The cost of wave energy remains significantly higher than competing alternatives, including other renewable energy sources such as wind or tidal power.

The University of Western Australia has won $1 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to work on the deployment of arrays of wave energy converters.

This will be the first time the interactions between wave energy resource, array location and configuration, seabed topography (known as bathymetry) and geotechnical characteristics will be studied to reduce costs.

Deputy Director of UWA’s Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, Professor Christophe Gaudin, explained: “One of the key objectives of the wave energy industry today is to produce commercially viable wave farms by placing multiple wave energy converters (WECs) together in an array.

“We’ll investigate the size, pattern and location of arrays of the converters, taking into account the distance to shore and associated wave conditions, and the nature and mechanical characteristics of the seabed sediments.

“All of these factors have an effect on the total cost of the infrastructure and have been acknowledged by ARENA as having the potential to reduce energy costs in the future.”

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht would create clear pathways for renewable energy technologies by fostering collaboration between research institutions and industry.


Mr Frischknecht said: “Each successful project is focused on delivering commercially viable solutions, aimed at solving a current industry challenges. The rich array of industry partners shows the breadth of sectors that will be involved in the transformation of Australia’s energy networks and systems,”

“ARENA’s $17 million funding is leveraging substantial contributions from private and public sectors, with combined project values totaling more than $55 million."


The project outcomes will be applicable for all floating wave energy converters and are expected to reduce cost of foundations for the entire wave energy industry.