The blue economy has an estimated value of $1.5 trillion annually, which is predicted to double by 2030 (NOAA, 2021). As R&D funding for wave energy converters (WECs) continues to rise globally, wave power costs are anticipated to fall; this, in tandem with unstable oil prices and unfavorable conditions for deploying small-scale offshore renewables like solar and wind, is likely to lead to the widespread adoption of networks of small-scale WECs. Using a comprehensive market-sizing approach, this paper analyzes the business case for these WEC networks, which have the potential to enable offshore industries to benefit from an "Ocean Internet of Things," or O-IoT. This market analysis reveals not only the blue economy industries most ripe for adoption, but it establishes the idea of "increasing marginal returns" for the wave energy industry stemming from widespread network effects, contrary to the "diminishing marginal returns" dominating most industries. Networks of small-scale WECs, with average power outputs around one kilowatt, will likely unlock immense value in mature, growing, and embryonic offshore industries. In a mature industry like oil and gas, WECs may enable operations like remote sensing and pipeline inspection. In a growing industry like aquaculture, WECs may enable operations like feeding and fish stock monitoring. In an embryonic industry like coral reef restoration, WECs may even enable operations like seawater electrolysis for mineral accretion. While the blue economy is expected to continue outpacing the global economy through 2030, this paper concludes that robust networks of small-scale WECs may enable this growth even further. As oil and gas and other offshore industries set sustainability targets for 2030, 2050, and beyond, WEC networks present a novel approach to decarbonize operations while unlocking new value.

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