Australia: OPT to Develop 19 MW Wave-Energy Project with Lockheed Martin
Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT), a leading wave energy technology company, and Lockheed Martin have entered into a teaming agreement with the goal of developing a 19 megawatt wave-energy project in Portland, in the state of Victoria, Australia. This is one of the largest wave-energy projects announced to date, and leverages a grant from the Commonwealth of Australia.
For the project, Lockheed Martin will assist with the design of Ocean Power Technologies’ (OPT) PowerBuoy® technology, lead the production and system integration of the wave-energy converters and support overall program management. Lockheed Martin and OPT have been collaborating since 2004, first on the development of an Advanced Deployable System for the U.S. Navy and most recently to design and launch utility-scale wave energy converters off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.
“Lockheed Martin is applying its expertise to commercialize promising, emerging alternative energy technologies,” said Dan Heller, vice president of new ventures for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business. “We see great potential in harnessing the vast power of the ocean. By working with OPT and Australian industry on this project, we will advance wave energy in Australia and globally.”
According to the World Energy Council, wave energy has the potential to produce around 2,000 terawatt hours of electricity a year, or enough power to meet 10 percent of the world’s current energy needs. In Australia, which has very attractive wave resources, this percentage could be significantly higher.
Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of OPT, said, “Lockheed Martin’s commitment to alternative energy and its engineering, production, and systems integration expertise will provide momentum to our Australia initiatives, where both companies see great potential for large-scale wave energy generation. We also appreciate the Commonwealth government’s continued support of this project, which we expect to create a significant number of local jobs as we develop and maintain operations over the life of the power station.”
Funding for the project also includes a previously announced grant of A$66.5 million ($65.3 million USD) from the Commonwealth of Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. A Funding Deed sets out the terms of the grant, including the requirement to obtain significant additional project financing.
The project is to be developed by a special purpose Australian company, Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd, currently owned by Ocean Power Technologies (Australasia) Pty Ltd. The partners are assessing financing opportunities for the project and pursuing power purchase agreements with local industry and utilities.
Offshore WIND staff, July 12, 2012; Image: Ocean Power Technologies