Ocean Power Technologies has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

Two California-based firms to advance marine energy sector with new wave energy collaboration

A California-based developer of wave energy technologies, CalWave, has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AltaSea at the port of Los Angeles for establishing a local wave energy industry and building projects off the coast of California.

Courtesy of Port of Los Angeles

AltaSea, like CalWave, supported a bill that requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to assess the feasibility, costs, and benefits of wave and tidal energy and to identify suitable sea space for these projects in state and federal waters. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in October 2023 after unanimous approval by the California State Senate and Assembly.

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In response to a request for comments from the CEC, CalWave and the National Hydropower Association (NHA) provided the following recommendations to support California’s marine energy sector: to quantify savings for California ratepayers from integrating marine energy technologies into the grid, as well as to provide matching funds for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awards and investments in technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D).

Aside from that, other recommendations are to clarify state regulatory processes for the deployment of marine energy projects and encourage federal agencies to do the same, and implement market-pull mechanisms similar to those used during the early phases of wind and solar industrialization in California (e.g., feed-in tariffs and/or contracts for difference). 

And finally, to ensure the Humboldt Bay Harbor, recreation, and conservation District’s $426.7 million investment from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) can support the marine energy sector, and to set statewide marine energy deployment targets of 100 MW by 2030, 500 MW by 2035, and 2,500 MW by 2040.

The Port of Los Angeles, the busiest seaport in the Western Hemisphere and North America’s largest trade gateway, can now also become a hub for offshore renewable energy, said CalWave. AltaSea offers 180,000 square feet of incubator space on 35 acres in a sheltered harbor, focusing on regenerative aquaculture, renewable energy, and blue technology & underwater robotics.

“We’re thrilled to expand our wave energy coalition with CalWave, a national leader in wave energy systems and a California-based company with the most operational hours of wave energy technology in our California coastal waters,” said AltaSea President and CEO, Terry Tamminen.

“We look forward to working closely with CalWave to support the CEC in implementing SB 605, which can help jump start our joint efforts to harness wave energy’s full potential across California’s coast and establish a new local industry exporting wave energy technology globally.”

California aims for 25,000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2045 and has already leased 4,600 MW to developers. Implementing these recommendations and marine energy deployment targets will help the state become a global leader in wave energy projects as well.

Co-locating floating offshore wind with CalWave’s wave energy farms, as shown in an artist’s impression. Source: CalWave

“The Port of Los Angeles will play a critical role for the construction and operation phases of offshore wind in the state. Thus, we are very excited to establish this formal relationship with AltaSea and to join the AltaSea Wave and Tidal Energy coalition as an inaugural member, “ said CalWave Co-Founder and CEO Marcus Lehmann.

“Recent studies highlight the technological, economic and grid-level benefits of combining floating offshore wind and wave systems by achieving a higher joint capacity factor, creating more local jobs and increasing the utilization of offshore lease areas. Having demonstrated our technology in local waters, we see great potential to export our wave energy technology globally, made in California.”

In September 2023, CorPower Ocean signed a MoU with America’s blue economy research and developments center AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. The agreement provides CorPower with access to facilities and resources at AltaSea’s campus located in the nation’s busiest seaport – Port of Los Angeles.

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