This paper aims to assess the marine space availability for the nearshore and offshore wave energy exploration while avoiding conflict with any technical, environmental, legal or other use restriction. Within the available areas retrieved in a GIS environment, it is presented a method to evaluate the performance of various state-of-the-art Wave Energy Converter technologies in terms of the expected Power Output Capacity Factor and Capture Width, when potentially working in the characteristic sea states found on the selected areas. The method is applied to a case study in the Archipelago of Azores. The data of the wave resource utilized comes from a hindcast model refined down to a spatial resolution of 0.05° that makes possible the detailed analysis and spatial comparison of results at insular local scales. The results intend to provide stakeholders and decision-makers with meaningful information about the suitable locations for the wave energy exploration and about the most efficient converter devices in such locations for the potential deployment of a wave energy exploration facility.

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