After some introductory considerations on the wave energy resource and the technology for its utilization, the paper concentrates on the more mature devices developed to be located on the shoreline or near shore (the so-called first generation devices), especially those that have reached the stage of full-sized prototype deployed in open sea waters. Apart from a brief reference to the shoreline TAPCHAN converter, the rest of the paper is devoted mostly to the oscillating water column (OWC). The principal factors affecting the technological development and the economics are analysed, taking into consideration the experience from existing prototypes: device siting, hydrodynamics and structure geometry, structural design and construction, power take-off equipment (turbine, electrical generator) and control. Special attention is devoted to two critical factors: civil construction and ways of reducing its costs, and air turbine conception and performance. The paper concludes with some perspectives on first generation wave energy technology.

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