With funding support coming from Australia’s federal government, the 19MW project will use Ocean Power Technologies’ (OPT) PowerBuoy technology and is one of the largest wave energy projects announced to date. It will be developed off the coast of Portland, Victoria by a special purpose Australian company, Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd, currently owned by Ocean Power Technologies (Australasia) Pty Ltd.
Lockheed Martin will assist with the design of OPT’s technology, lead the production and system integration of the wave-energy converters and support overall programme management. “Lockheed Martin is applying its expertise to commercialise promising, emerging alternative energy technologies,” explained Dan Heller, vice president of new ventures for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business.
“Lockheed Martin’s 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,” added Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of OPT.
The Portland wave energy project is expected to be built in three phases and may eventually be scaled up to 100MW at some point in the future, according to OPT. For the initial 19GW plan, OPT expects that 45 Powerbuoys will be deployed, along with five undersea substation pods and a power cable connecting the project to the onshore network. It is estimated to generate 75,000MWh a year when completed.
With permitting and consent applications now underway, the project partners are now assessing financing opportunities for the Portland project and pursuing power purchase agreements with local industry and utilities – the previously announced grant of A$66.5 million (US$65.3 million) from the Commonwealth of Australia’s Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism was awarded on condition of the developer obtains significant additional project financing.
Lockheed Martin and OPT have been collaborating since 2004, first on the development of an Advanced Deployable System for the US Navy and most recently to design and launch utility-scale wave energy converters off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon.