Scientists on Wednesday mapped out the best places across Australia's southern coast for generating wave energy, all the way from Geraldton in Western Australia to King Island in Tasmania.
A new Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) energy atlas showed that if just 10 percent of the energy generated from waves was harnessed, it would meet half of the nation's current electricity consumption.
Australia's southern coastline has been identified by the World Energy Council as one of the world's best sites for generating wave energy.
The Center for Australian Weather and Climate Research's Dr Mark Hemer said even the small fraction of energy harnessed from Australia's coast will be enough to meet future government targets.
"If we look at the sustained energy resource along the southern coastline-and we're looking between Geraldton in West Australia and southern tip of Tasmania-that has a sustained wave energy resource of about... five times larger than Australia's present day electricity consumption," Dr Hemer told ABC News on Wednesday.
"It's a small fraction... we figure out that if we could harness just 10 percent of the wave energy along a 1,000km strip of the southern coast, then that would be enough to meet the Australian Government's renewable energy targets of 20 percent renewable energy before 2020."
Dr Hemer said wave energy is not a quick fix and it is still a decade or two away from being a real force as an alternative energy.
"Wave energy really is a baby at the moment-there's currently only about four megawatts of wave energy generating capacity installed globally," he said.
"If you compare that to wind energy, there's about 200,000 megawatts of installed capacity, or 50,000 times more, so wave energy is a long way behind on the cost learning curve."
The research has been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
Chief technology officer at wave energy company Oceanlinx, Tom Denniss, said the research validates the most suitable locations for commercializing wave energy.
"What has happened in the past with wave energy developers is that they've had to go down and put their own wave logging devices and leave them there for quite a period of time," Denniss said in a statement.
"Even when I say 'quite a period of time', that might be a year or so and that's still not enough to really get the level of detail that's desired.
"What this does, the latest report, is to provide a continuum rather than occasional points in the ocean here and there, so it's incredibly useful."
He said there are still technological hurdles to overcome, including proving to investors the durability of equipment to last decades in the ocean.