California Senate Votes to Assess Wave and Tidal Energy in the State

Eco Wave's wave energy-generating technology set up along the California coast

(Credit: Eco Wave)

by | Sep 25, 2023

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The California State Senate has voted in favor of legislation calling for an in-depth study and assessment of wave and tidal energy along the state’s coastline.

California already has plans in place to achieve a carbon-free grid by 2045, and wave and tidal energy has immense potential to contribute to the state’s goal. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that wave and tidal energy has the feasibility to provide 30% of the country’s energy needs. California’s outer continental shelf alone can power 13 million homes solely through wave energy.

The bill, SB 605, was introduced by Sen. Steve Padilla and sponsored by AltaSea, an organization that maintains 35 acres on the Port of Los Angeles dedicated to clean energy and other ocean-based climate solutions. It will now be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for approval.

“Utilizing wave and tidal energy is crucial to meeting California’s important goals for clean air and a climate-resilient economy,” said Terry Tamminen, president and CEO of AltaSea. “SB 605 is another example of California’s innovation and leadership in the fight against climate change. I’m hopeful that Gov. Newsom will sign SB 605 into law.”

AltaSea Promotes U.S. Investment in Wave Energy

While renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are becoming more visible across the country, wave energy is a lesser-known yet equally useful renewable energy source. AltaSea argues that wave energy is even more effective as waves are ever-present and more predictable than wind and sunlight.

Wave energy is generated in multiple ways, from directing waves into channels to spinning electricity-generating turbines. AltaSea reports that wave energy has the ability to operate during heat waves and blackouts, which have become increasingly common in California.

The technology and its accompanying benefits are certainly not limited to the coast of California. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the yearly energy potential of waves off the coast of the U.S. amounts to as much as 2.64 trillion kilowatt hours, or about 64% of the overall electricity used in the country in 2021.

AltaSea has already established a pilot program in partnership with Eco Wave aimed at capturing wave power. According to the new bill, the California Energy Commission will work with state agencies, such as the California Coastal Commission and Ocean Protection Council, to find the best location for wave and tidal energy projects on state and federal waters.

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