The majority of the 8 000 MW to 10 000 MW would come from the west and south coasts of the country.
The centre on behalf of the South African National Energy Research Institute (Saneri) and the Eskom Research and Innovation Department (ERID) hosted the workshop, focused on wave and ocean current energy.
"Many studies have been done on wave and ocean capacity along our shores - the verdict is that the latent power that is available is promising. The main challenge is cost and finding the right technology," the centre said in a statement.
The consensus that came out of the workshop held last Thursday, far surpassed the initial 24 MW that government initially proposed wave power would contribute to the Department of Minerals and Energy's target of 10 000 GWh from renewable energy sources.
Canada's Finavera Renewables recently said that it was planning to build a 20-MW wave-power project in South Africa and power utility Eskom was also looking at finding ways to harness wave and ocean energy.
However, all the participating stakeholders acknowledged that there were certain obstacles to overcome in achieving the full potential of wave energy.
The main barriers to harvesting the energy from the ocean were identified as the lack of financial incentives, or even clarity as to who would purchase the electricity and at what price.
The centre explained that the main mechanism to stimulate competition and a free market would be the introduction of a feed-in tariff aimed specifically at electricity from ocean energy resources - which was a topic that Eskom and the government had talked about, but, to date, had not acted on.
Additional challenges included a lack of coordination between the various government departments, that resulted in, either failure to implement the existing policy, or the reversal thereof, such as Cabinet's decision that only Eskom may purchase the power from all independent power producers.
Further, the existing legislative framework, especially pertaining to ocean energy, was deemed unclear in terms of which laws apply, or which government departments were responsible for issuing the relevant permits.
The challenges aside, the goal of the workshop was to develop a road map for the development of an ocean energy industry in South Africa. The participants came to a conclusion regarding certain short-term actions.
These actions included Saneri, through the centre at Stellenbosch University, and ERID championing the interest of ocean energy in the country, the creation of a network of ocean energy stakeholders with ongoing communication through a website and email with regular workshops and conferences to interact and the development of vision and mission statements for the role of ocean energy in South Africa.
A base of expertise would also be established to advise government, at all levels, developers, Eskom and financial institutions on the various aspects of ocean energy.
Eskom and Saneri have embarked on a joint collaboration to promote research and demonstration of ocean energy technologies in the country, and this may culminate in the establishment of a wave test centre, which would serve as a demonstration site in the ocean where developers could test their wave energy converters.
Further, it was proposed that a common, public repository of all existing ocean energy data for South Africa be established by June 2008, as there was currently a variety of data sets available in the country at various organisations mapping the ocean energy resource.