Lockheed inks deal to produce energy from ocean waves in Australia

US arms maker Lockheed Martin Corp has signed an agreement with renewable energy company Ocean Power Technologies to harness the motion of ocean waves to generate electricity off the coast of Victoria, Australia.

The $230 million deal will produce the world’s largest wave energy project using power buoys designed by Ocean Power Technologies that tap energy from the surface motion of waves, as reported by Reuters.

Once completed, around 2018 or 2019, the project will generate 62.5MW of peak power, enough to meet the needs of 10,000 homes and about one-third the capacity of a small coal-fired power plant in the US.

The agreement is part of a drive by Lockheed, the maker of F-35 fighter jets and coastal warships, to expand its foothold in the alternative energy business as it seeks to offset a slump in US and European military budgets.

The company last year announced a deal with Chinese consumer firm Reignwood Group to design the biggest power station fueled by differences in ocean temperatures. It also has projects based on tidal power.

The power buoys to be used in this project will rise about 9.1m out of the water, far smaller than wind turbines, which are typically 40m tall and have drawn public resistance. The goal is to complete the first phase by 2014 or 2015, producing about 2.5MW of
peak power.