NREL's Water Power Software Makes a Splash

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


WEC-Sim is a DOE-funded software tool being jointly developed by NREL and SNL. WEC-Sim computationally models wave energy converters (WEC), devices that generate electricity using movement of water systems such as oceans, rivers, etc. There is great potential for WECs to generate electricity, but as of yet, the industry has yet to establish a commercially viable concept. Modeling, design, and simulations tools are essential to the successful development of WECs. Commercial WEC modeling software tools can't be modified by the user. In contrast, WEC-Sim is a free, open-source, and flexible enough to be modified to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the WEC industry. By modeling the power generation performance and dynamic loads of WEC designs, WEC-Sim can help support the development of new WEC devices by optimizing designs for cost of energy and competitiveness. By being easily accessible, WEC-Sim promises to help level the playing field in the WEC industry. Importantly, WEC-Sim is also excellent at its job! In 2014, WEC-Sim was used in conjunction with NREL's FAST modeling software to win a hydrodynamic modeling competition. WEC-Sim and FAST performed very well at predicting the motion of a test device in comparison to other modeling tools. The most recent version of WEC-Sim (v1.1) was released in April 2015.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2015

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5000-64112


  • electricity generation
  • modeling
  • simulation tools
  • water power
  • water systems
  • wave energy converters
  • WEC
  • WEC-Sim


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