Renewable ocean energy in the Western Indian Ocean
Review article, 2012

Several African countries in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) endure insufficiencies in the power sector, including both generation and distribution. One important step towards increasing energy security and availability is to intensify the use of renewable energy sources. The access to cost-efficient hydropower is low in coastal and island regions and combinations of different renewable energy sources will play an increasingly important role. In this study the physical preconditions for renewable ocean energy are investigated, considering the specific context of the WIO countries. Global-level resource assessments and oceanographic literature and data have been compiled in an analysis of the match between technology-specific requirements for ocean energy technologies (wave power, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), tidal barrages, tidal current turbines, and ocean current power) and the physical resources in 13 WIO regions Kenya, Seychelles, Northern Tanzania and Zanzibar, Southern Tanzania, Comoros and Mayotte, Northern-, Central-, and Southern Mozambique, Western-, Eastern-, and Southern Madagascar, Reunion, and Mauritius. The results show high potential for wave power over vast coastal stretches in southern parts of the WIO and high potential for OTEC at specific locations in Mozambique, Comoros, Reunion, and Mauritius. The potential for tidal power and ocean current power is more restricted but may be of interest at some locations. The findings are discussed in relation to currently used electricity sources and the potential for solar photovoltaic and wind power. Temporal variations in resource intensity as well as the differences between small-scale and large-scale applications are considered.


Ocean current power


Wave power

Indian Ocean


Tidal power


Linus Hammar

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Jimmy Ehnberg

Pöyry SwedPower

Alberto Mavume

Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM)

Boaventura Cuamba

Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM)

Sverker Molander

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

1364-0321 (ISSN) 18790690 (eISSN)

Vol. 16 7 4938-4950

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering



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