Ocean Power Technologies Heads to Australia

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New Jersey’s Ocean Power Technologies (s OPTT) said today it’s signed an agreement with Australia’s Leighton Contractors to develop wave power projects off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

This is the latest in a number of deals for Ocean Power over the past year. Last month, the company signed a contract under the U.S. Navy’s Deep Water Active Detection Systems program. That’s its second contract with the Navy for the data gathering and communications project, with both deals worth a total of $5 million for Ocean Power. And in September, Spanish utility Iberdrola deployed a PowerBuoy from Ocean Power off the coast of Spain, with Ocean Power calling it the world’s first commercial utility-scale wave power generation venture.

Ocean Power’s PowerBuoy has a piston that moves as the buoy rises and falls with the waves, driving a generator that produces electricity.

The companies may still have a lot of legwork to do before they can release any details about the project, however. Ocean Power will first work on identifying potential project sites and assessing their commercial prospects. Once those sites are picked, Leighton, an engineering and construction services firm, will work on obtaining government approvals, negotiating power purchase agreements, and structuring the project financing.

Leighton will also oversee project delivery and operation of the wave power stations, with Ocean Power selling its PowerBuoy systems to companies formed by Leighton for the projects, but Ocean Power didn’t say how many projects they expect to set up or how much power they’ll generate.

Leighton also signed a deal today with Germany’s MAN Solar Millennium to set up solar thermal power plants in Australia. There weren’t any details on the financial terms of that deal, either, nor did Leighton say how many plants they plan to build. MAN Solar, a joint venture of MAN Ferrostaal and Solar Millennium, was formed to construct and finance large-scale solar thermal power plants with a capacity of 50-250 megawatts. MAN Solar is currently working on the 50-MW Andasol 3 solar thermal plant in southern Spain.

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