The Pacific Ocean is becoming valuable real estate. Fights over this space resemble those of the gold rush. Decision makers require data to integrate new uses (wave energy) with existing uses (commercial/recreational). It is vital to have the best data available and implement the best management practices concerning the environmental dimension. Yet, permitting processes rarely fail on technical or natural science grounds; rather, they fail because of lack of attention to the human dimension. Legislators and resource managers need to understand socioeconomic and sociopolitical perceptions. This knowledge is crucial for allowing citizens to determine their interests and civic opportunities. An informed and engaged public is essential to progress on environmental protection and sustainable development. It is important to assess the scope and depth of policy-relevant knowledge among stakeholders and the public, to learn where they acquire their information, and to flesh out the link between policy-relevant knowledge and understanding/acceptance of wave energy generation. By specifying the connection between knowledge holding and support for wave energy, purposeful public education and information dissemination efforts could be targeted effectively, and policy processes could be designed to maximize policy input and meet citizen and community concerns. This research program looked at wave energy in terms of political/regulatory processes and environmental, social, and economic sustainability and acceptability.