Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal


Rachael Salcido


This Article considers the approaches that Oregon, California, and Washington have taken to address the need for additional renewable energy while also undertaking a shift to comprehensive ocean management. Discussion of offshore federalism, a component of the opportunities and challenges of this nascent industry, is highlighted at various points. The Memoranda of Understanding that these coastal states have entered into with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have been central to facilitating hydrokinetic energy development. While each state has taken a slightly different approach to folding wave energy into its alternative energy and marine management agendas, the progress made is encouraging for the development of a robust ocean energy industry.

Part II presents a background on the efforts to regulate hydrokinetic wave energy projects in the Pacific Northwest. Part III discusses the legal background of the shared offshore jurisdiction between state governments and the federal government. Part IV explores the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission procedures relating to offshore hydrokinetic wave projects. Part V reviews licensing regimes in Washington, Oregon, and California. Part VI discusses preliminary conclusions that can be drawn from the analysis of state regimes. Part VII discusses regional efforts and comparative insights. Part VIII discusses the long-term sustainability of offshore hydrokinetic energy.