DOE awards Ocean Power Technologies $4.8MM for proposed wave power projects

Source: Ocean Power Technologies, Inc.

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTT) is pleased to announce that it has won two new funding awards totaling $4.8 million from the US Department of Energy (DoE). 

OPT plans to use the first award, for $2.4 million, in connection with the construction and deployment of one of its PB150 PowerBuoys® at Reedsport, Oregon, as part of the first proposed commercial wave power project in the US. Deployment of the 150 kilowatt peak-rated PB150, which is currently under construction, is expected to occur in 2011. This is the second award to OPT by the DoE in connection with the Reedsport project. In 2008, OPT received $2.0 million to use towards the construction of the PB150 PowerBuoy. 

In August 2010, the Oregon project received a major boost when the Company signed an agreement with 14 stakeholders to support the responsible, phased development at the Reedsport site of a 10-PowerBuoy wave power station. With a peak generating capacity of 1.5MW, it is equivalent to the power needs of about 1,000 homes. This agreement represents a key step towards the granting of a license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

The second award being announced is also for $2.4 million and it is intended to be used for the design and development of OPT’s next generation 500kW PowerBuoy wave power system, the PB500. The technology development will focus on increasing the PB500’s power extraction efficiency, implementing a “Design-for-Manufacture” approach and reducing maintenance costs, all of which aim to achieve lower installed capital and energy costs and make wave power more competitive with fossil fuels. This award follows an initial $1.5 million award announced in April 2010, taking the total DoE funding in connection with the PB500 to $3.9 million. 

Charles F. Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said: “These awards are another significant step in a global drive to make wave power a commercial reality. OPT’s programs of work under these awards are in accord with the Department of Energy’s objectives to help develop innovative technologies that contribute to the clean energy economy. The funds will help OPT to accelerate the commercialization of our PB150 wave power stations in the US and facilitate the development of our 500 kilowatt-rated PowerBuoy technology. We appreciate the DoE’s continued support of OPT’s programs to harness wave power as a major source of renewable energy.” 

Issued to OPT under a competitive process, the awards were announced by the US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, to accelerate the technological and commercial readiness of emerging marine and hydrokinetic technologies, which seek to generate renewable electricity from the nation’s oceans and free-flowing rivers and streams. 

OPT’s receipt of funds under these awards is subject to the negotiation of definitive contracts and confirmation of cost sharing sources. OPT intends to seek third party funding to satisfy its cost sharing obligations under the DoE grants.

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