Hawaii will be the first state to connect a wave-generating buoy into a power grid.
Hawaii is already well-known as the place for spectacular waves, where the best test their skills in the surf.
Now the state will also be known as the place to test just how much energy can be created in the waves before they reach our shores.
The U.S. Navy is spending $9 million to expand the Wave Energy Test Site in Kaneohe Bay.
"The potential energy for Hawaii is huge, but the practical problems to make it commercially viable are also huge," said Patrick Cross, a project specialist for the University of Hawaii.
UH will monitor and measure the impact and effectiveness of a new prototype buoy that will be installed in the fall. The buoy will sit largely below the surface in about 100 feet of water, generating power to undersea cables by the motion of the ocean.
The buoy is just one of two new buoys that will be launched, each different in design and size because researchers are still trying to figure out the best way to get the most power from the ocean.
"Wave energy is where wind energy was 30 years ago. We're at that early stage of trying to figure out what the viable approaches are to energy extraction," said Cross.
Coastal areas already have numerous buoys bobbing around, but it is unknown how an array of large power producing buoys could affect marine life.
That is why UH will measure the amount of sound generated electro-magnetic frequency waves and take environmental studies during the testing. It will also conduct underwater surveys to see the durability of the new devices.
Information that could be used as larger, commercial wave-power buoys are produced.
The first prototype could generate up to 20 Kwh, enough to power several homes. More importantly it will also help determine just how much energy can be captured as both big waves and small roll in.
"There is a lack of of data to really answer the question: how much power can we get out of a given wave?" stated Cross.
The first buoy will go in about 3,000 feet from shore. In 2015, the second buoy is expected to be installed just over a mile from shore.
Each of the test buoys will be deployed for a year, then newer designs and bigger buoys could take their place.