In this study, the existence and variability of wave energy resource potential of the Black Sea based on 15-year hindcast data is described in detail. The hindcasts of wave parameters were carried out by using the third generation wave prediction model (Simulated WAves Nearshore - SWAN), which is one of the most popular numerical wave models and has been widely used for estimating ocean waves. The model was forced with the ECMWF ERA Interim wind fields and applied with a spatial resolution of about 0.0167 degrees x 0.0167 degrees and a model time step of 6 h to resolve efficiently offshore and nearshore wave conditions. The results were presented in the form of charts of the spatial distribution of significant wave height and wave power, on a monthly, seasonal and annual basis. Annual energy was calculated in the study region with the hindcast data set covering 15 years (1995-2009). The areas with the highest wave energy resource were determined and the south west coasts of the Black Sea are suggested as the best site for the installation of a wave farm. It was determined the western parts of the Black Sea (especially the south-west) are exposed to energetic waves more than the eastern parts. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.