California state senator introduces bill calling for ocean energy strategic plan

On April 18th, 2023, California State Senator Steve Padilla has introduced California Senate Bill 605 – Wave and tidal energy – with the goal to “develop a strategic plan for the deployment of wave energy and tidal energy technologies, infrastructure, and facilities” before 2025. CalWave Power Technologies, Inc (CalWave) CEO Marcus Lehmann testified during the hearing of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee in person and supported the hearing at the Natural Resources and Water Committee a week later.

The SB 605 bill now has passed both the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and the Natural Resources and Water Committee in the past two weeks unanimously, with 15-0 and 10-0 votes, respectively.

While New Jersey Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak introduced wave energy legislation to the New Jersey State Assembly in March 2022, California SB 605 may set the stage for other states bordering the Pacific Ocean. With its 840-mile coastline and wide-open exposure to the energetic waters of the North Pacific, California’s outer continental shelf has an estimated 293,000 gigawatt-hours of annual wave energy potential. If fully harnessed, this wave energy resource would more than double the state’s electricity generation.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held its first Pacific Ocean offshore wind lease auction in December 2022, where five offshore wind leases were awarded to private bidders for a combined $757.1 million. Construction of the two projects offshore Humboldt Bay and three projects offshore Morro Bay will likely not commence until the end of the decade, but the introduction of offshore wind infrastructure provides an opportunity for the development of utility-scale wave energy projects as well. By co-locating technologies and aligning supply chains, integrating wave energy technologies into offshore wind projects may significantly increase the power produced from offshore sites without significantly increasing balance-of-plant costs.

If passed, CA SB 605 should enable large-scale commercial wave and tidal energy projects up and down the California coast. 

CalWave, however, has already made clear its intentions to deploy its technology for the benefit of Californians. The company deployed its first-ever open-ocean system, named the x1, offshore La Jolla, CA at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in September 2021. Originally scheduled for six months, the successful project concluded and the system was recovered after 10 months of continuous operations. The pilot was funded by the US DOE WPTO and the results were featured in a DOE press release.


“The committee was excited to hear that a local business has already completed a successful pilot in California in 2021-2022, proven the technology and environmental acceptability and is now in the process of scaling up the technology toward production, creating local jobs and energy security,” Lehmann said.

About CalWave

Founded in 2014, CalWave is a California-based wave energy developer on a mission to provide reliable and cost-effective ocean wave technologies for sustainable energy access. CalWave’s vision is to unlock the power of ocean waves to secure a clean energy future.

The company is a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s U.S. Shadow Committee for international standards on marine energy, and a member of NHA’s Marine Energy Council, which is calling for domestic marine energy deployment targets of 500 MW by 2030 and 1 GW by 2035.