Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) and Lockheed Martin have announced they will team to develop a 19-megawatt (MW) wave energy project off the coast of Victoria, Australia. When complete, the project will be one of the largest wave energy generation projects in the world.
OPT’s PowerBuoy generator will be used in the project to capture and convert the potential energy of Australia’s famous surf into clean energy. Once the system is installed, it will generate electricity via the rising and falling of waves, which drives an underwater generator in each buoy. The generated electricity will then be transmitted ashore via an underwater electricity cable.
The potential for wave energy is significant. Wave energy has the potential to produce 2,000 terawatt (TwH) hours of electricity per year, or about 10 percent of the world’s total energy needs, according to the World Energy Council. In addition, wave energy projects can be deployed near large shoreline cities, which often have the largest electricity demand but the most constrained transmission and generation capacity.
A previously announced grant of $65.3 million has been provided by the Australian government for the project, but this funding stipulates the project secure additional project financing, likely in the form of power purchase agreements with local industries and utilities.
While project completion is far from assured, it’s a significant step toward expanding offshore renewable energy resources. OPT has produced an interesting animation of how their technology works, and it’s worth a quick watch.