Cal Poly will receive a grant of up to $750,000 from the federal Department of Energy to assess the feasibility of locating a wave energy facility in California.
The money will be combined with matching funds to determine which location along California’s 745-mile coastline is most suitable for the National Wave Energy Testing Facility.
The Department of Energy will pick one national testing facility site, so the state and Cal Poly are competing with Oregon, Washington and the states along the eastern seaboard.
“The California coast is ripe for realizing the promise of ocean wave energy,” said Sam Blakeslee, director of Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy, the lead investigator for the project.
Once a site is selected, the federal government will cooperatively fund from $25 million to $50 million to develop the facility, making whichever state that is chosen an international leader in the development of this renewable energy technology.
Wave energy facilities convert energy from ocean waves into electricity, which is sent along existing land-based transmission lines to consumers. The California Energy Commission estimates the state’s wave energy potential to be 7,500 megawatts, or about 3.5 times the power produced by the recently closed San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California.