Ocean Power Technologies has received US government approval for a planned 1.5MW wave power station off the coast of Oregon. The licence is the first to be issued by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for wave power. OPT's plan calls for ten of its PowerBuoy units to be installed 2.5 miles offshore Reedsport, with the first scheduled to be deployed by year-end.
The company also entered a co-operative R&D agreement with the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate to perform a new round of offshore tests on OPT's Autonomous PowerBuoy to determine its use for long duration maritime vessel detection. Tests with the APB-350 Autonomous PowerBuoy last year off the coast of New Jersey are reported to have achieved higher-than-predicted power harvesting capability and survivability during Hurricane Irene. The company has received a $75,000 grant from Maryland Technology Development Corp to show how the device can be used 'with multiple surveillance technologies', OPT said. Vessel tracking equipment will include both HF radar and an acoustic sensor system, allowing the PowerBuoy 'to collect data for ocean observing applications at the same time as it performs its enhanced surveillance duties'.
In Japan, OPT received a $900,000 contract from Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding to analyze methods to maximize buoy power capture in Japanese sea conditions. The collaboration between Mitsui and OPT staff will use advanced optimization methodologies as well as modeling and wave tank testing to develop PowerBuoy enhancements. Analysis and design work is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2013, when a decision is expected on possible ocean trials of a demonstration system, the prelude to a possible commercial-scale wave power station in Japan. The Japanese government has set a goal of 1500MW in new power generation capacity from wave and tidal energy sources by 2030.