Marine energy (i.e., energy from waves, tides, currents) in the United States is a nascent industry. In particular, permitting processes—an uncertainty for industry advancement that can be costly and time consuming to navigate—have rarely been tested and used for marine energy. The novelty of the marine energy industry and utilization of open ocean permitting processes that were not originally developed for marine energy have led to extensive efforts to gain consensus amongst state and federal regulatory agencies to authorize marine energy projects. In 2021, Oregon State University successfully completed permitting of a wave energy test facility, called PacWave South, off the coast of Oregon, which is designed to advance wave energy research and development. This article documents the multi-year process that Oregon State University used to receive federal and state authorization for a pre-permitted commercial-scale grid-connected facility by detailing the development of the test facility, management of uncertainty and challenges, and key decisions. The PacWave South case study provides insights for the larger marine energy community as the industry advances towards commercialization.