Ocean Power Technologies awarded contract to research Japanese applications

Hydrokinetic power developer Ocean Power Technologies Inc. has received a US$900,000 contract from Japan's Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding to further develop its buoy generation system for application in Japanese sea conditions.

OPT says the contract will allow it to continue analyzing methods of maximizing its PowerBuoy units through modeling and wave tank testing. Enhancements developed in conjunction with Mitsui will allow the units to capture even more power given Japan's wave conditions, according to the company.

"We believe Japan is a nation that can clearly benefit from our unique ocean-based energy technology," says OPT Chief Executive Officer Charles F. Dunleavy. "We appreciate the trust that MES has placed in us and the progress this represents toward bringing utility-scale wave power to the Japanese people."

The analysis and design work is expected to be complete before May 2013, after which OPT says a decision will be made regarding the next step toward an ocean trial of the system.

The project reflects a recent initiative released by the Japanese Environment Ministry, which says the country will increase its renewable generating capacity by more than six times its current capacity. The government specifically identified wave generation as a key component in this policy, setting a goal of 1,500 MW in new generation capacity to be created by 2030 via wave and tidal power sources.

HydroWorld.com reported earlier this month that another of OPT's projects -- a 1.5-MW project off the coast of Reedsport, Ore. -- was delayed due to inclement weather. The project is the first wave power scheme to have been granted a license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

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