Berkeley, CA – CalWave, a California-based wave energy technology developer, has been selected as the technology provider for a wave energy project at Yuquot, British Columbia (BC) with the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation (MMFN).

Located on Nootka Island, just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Yuquot is the traditional home of the MMFN. It was also the site of first contact between European explorers and Indigenous peoples on the west coast of North America, when Captain James Cook moored his ship in Nootka Sound in 1778. The community existed for thousands of years as a center of fish and fur trading until the late-20th century, when almost all residents were forced to relocate to Vancouver Island.

Now, the MMFN is working to reclaim their land, rebuild their community, and harness the energetic North Pacific waves to help power their new microgrid and establish energy independence. A CBC Vancouver video about the wave energy project can be found here:

Yuquot means “where the wind blows from all directions.” With large waves close to shore, it’s easy to see where the community gets its name.

The Indigenous-led project, funded so far by a grant from TD Bank Group and the Clean Energy in Rural and Remote Communities Program within Natural Resources Canada, includes a consortium of other partners based across Canada:

  • The Pacific Research Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED) at the University of Victoria is a research lab accelerating the development and adoption of marine renewable energy technologies on the BC coast. (Victoria, BC)
  • Barkley Project Group is a team of project managers specializing in renewable energy and community infrastructure for First Nations communities. (Nanaimo, BC)
  • Canpac Marine Services delivers safe, high quality, cost-effective solutions for inspection services, repairs, maintenance, and construction of marine assets. (Port of Vancouver, BC)
  • Environmental Dynamics Inc provides practical, environmental consulting services, specializing in aquatic and terrestrial sciences, as well as environmental management. (Prince George, BC)
Yuquot has wide open exposure to the North Pacific Ocean, whose waves have significant potential to provide clean energy to coastal communities.

As a “first-of-a-kind” (FOAK) wave energy project for coastal community microgrids, the MMFN project may serve as a blueprint for coastal communities along the North American Pacific Coast and around the world. The project is currently in a feasibility and design phase to gather all the necessary information for the MMFN to make an informed decision on full project buildout.

“This village was a trade hub, a place of great wealth sought after by our European visitors,” said Azar Kamran, CEO of the MMFN. “Moving forward we want to establish Yuquot as a center once more, now in the context of setting examples for innovation in community building and clean energy development.”

Yuquot is located on Nootka Island, separated from the larger Vancouver Island by a narrow strait. The Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation occupies much of Nootka Island and the north central portion of Vancouver Island.

About CalWave

CalWave is a California-based wave energy technology developer. Since being named a winner of the Wave Energy Prize by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 2016, the company has secured four R&D contracts from the DOE Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO). CalWave demonstrated its first open-ocean system offshore San Diego, CA from September 2021 to July 2022 and is contracted by DOE to deploy its first utility grid-connected system at the 20 MW PacWave test site off the central Oregon coast.