Surf’s Up for Oregon Wave Power Project

Lockheed Martin, Ocean Power Technologies to collaborate on 1.5 MW wave power generation project


file Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technology are collaborating on a proposed commercial-scale wave power generation project off the Oregon coast. OPT's wave generation system uses a "smart," ocean-going buoy to convert wave energy into low-cost, clean electricity. Photo courtesy OPT.

The Beach Boys were sittin’ on top of the world after recording “Catch a Wave” in 1963. Now, Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) and Lockheed Martin plan to catch some waves of their own and harness their energy.

Video Courtesy Ocean Power Technologies

OPT recently announced a collaboration with Lockheed Martin for its proposed wave power generation project at Reedsport, Oregon. With decades of wave and tidal energy experience, Lockheed Martin will provide OPT with design, manufacturing system integration and supply chain management assistance.

This U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded OPT a $2.4 million contract as part of its plans to develop renewable marine energy. Lockheed Martin will be working with OPT on this DOE grant. The proposed Oregon project located 2.5 miles off the coast will be the first commercial wave park on the U.S. West Coast.

“Lockheed Martin’s reputation and track record in manufacturing technology and its focus on renewable energy technologies will greatly assist us,” said Charles F. Dunleavy, OPT’s chief executive officer. “With the Department of Energy’s continued support and Lockheed Martin’s expertise, the commercialization of our technologies to harness wave power continues to make steady progress.”

OPT's PowerBuoy wave generation system uses a "smart," ocean-going buoy to convert wave energy into low-cost, clean electricity. The waves’ rising and falling causes the buoy to move up and down. This mechanical energy drives an electrical generator, which transmits power to shore via an underwater cable. 

The Oregon PowerBuoy’s steel structure construction is complete and the advanced power take-off and control system testing is underway. Assembly, systems integration and land testing will occur over the next several months. It will be the first of a 10-buoy wave power station with a peak generating capacity of 1.5 megawatts, equivalent to the power needs of about 1,500 homes.

In addition to wave energy projects, Lockheed Martin is also working with Atlantis Resources Corporation on tidal turbines for the Meygen project, a 398 MW renewable energy plant powered by the tide off the coast of Scotland.