There are opinions claiming that 70% of the world energy consumption could be provided from renewable resources by the year 2050. These resources are needed, because fossil fuels both cause pollution of the environment and will be depleted in the near future. In this regard, the objective of this study was to determine the wave energy potential and the costs associated with its application to Turkish waters. To this goal, the wave energy potential in Cesme-lzmir was investigated. Cesme is known to have abundant wind, which plays the primary role in the formation of sea waves. For this purpose, the Solar Energy Institute of Ege University carried out wind velocity measurements within the period from 05.11.1998 to 05.11.1999 at an altitude of 10 m in Cesme. The measured values were regarded as if they were taken at an altitude of 19.5 m from seawater level. With this approach, the Pierson-Moskowitz wave energy spectrum was constructed. Through this wave energy spectrum, wave energy that is to be obtained at the measurement area within one year was determined. The variation of wave energy according to each month was evaluated. Hence, the unit cost of electricity to be produced by a turbine (with a width of 1 m), assumed to be installed at the area of measurements, was calculated. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.