Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal


This Article provides a brief history of wave energy development, examines the status of hydrokinetic projects undertaken at a state and local level, and navigates the overlapping, and often competing, jurisdictional mandates confronting U.S. project developers. It also explores lessons learned from the European Union’s (EU) recent regulatory experience and provides recommendations for short- and long-term steps forward in the United States. Part II discusses early wave energy projects, research and policy developments, and highlights recent advances in technical testing and economic feasibility of wave energy projects. Part III analyzes the status of hydrokinetic energy development at the state and local level, using California and San Francisco as significant case studies. Part IV clarifies the challenges that the emerging hydrokinetic industry faces with regard to competing policy and jurisdictional considerations, particularly between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the MMS. Part V examines the European wave energy regulatory regime and extracts relevant lessons learned that can be applied to federal jurisdiction over wave energy projects in the United States. Finally, Part VI suggests immediate regulatory actions to streamline procedures for the continued and future development of wave power, as well as long-term strategies to reform the federal permitting process and ensure proper consideration of the marine environment in all project operations.