"Wave energy off the West Coast has incredible potential," BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank said in a statement Thursday.
Researchers at Oregon State University aim to design, build and operate a project that could generate much as 20 megawatts of electricity from waves. The energy could be sent to the mainland through a subsea cable from a site four nautical miles off the coast of Newport.
Cruickshank said his agency would work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on project development. BOEM said it was now ready to move forward after determining there is no competitive interest in the area of the proposed research center.
In early June, BOEM awarded a lease to Florida Atlantic University for marine hydrokinetic technology testing.
Wave energy programs are in the early stages of development.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
EIA: Russia diversifying energy production