Wave Energy

In 2009, the City of San Francisco undertook a study to understand the wave energy resource and feasibility of generating electrical power from waves in the Pacific Ocean west of the City and County of San Francisco. The results of the study are encouraging, and suggest that over 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power - enough to power ten percent of San Francisco homes - could be produced annually at a cost in the range of 17 to 22 cents per kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh).

This report presents the results of a study addressing the feasibility of generating electrical power from waves in the Pacific Ocean west of the City and County of San Francisco. The study included site-specific measurement of wave data at a location approximately 8 miles west of San Francisco during the fall and winter of 2008-2009 to confirm the magnitude of the wave resource. A screening-level assessment of wave energy conversion devices identified the status of device development and applicability to a San Francisco project based on site-specific criteria, which were developed considering marine species  and habitats, commercial and recreational activities, and regional planning. A limited number of promising wave energy conversion devices were further investigated to develop estimates of annual power generation, and the likely cost of power if a 30-megawatt (MW) wave farm were to be developed in the study area. The results of the study are encouraging, and suggest that over 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power could be produced annually at a cost in the range of 17 to 22 cents per kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh).  This cost is comparable with the cost to produce solar photovoltaic power.

Download Wave Power Feasibility Study Report