Ocean Power Technologies (Australasia) Pty Ltd (OPTA), a subsidiary of Ocean Power Technologies, Inc., announced on Friday, November 6, the award of a grant from the Federal Government of Australia (FGA).

This grant to OPTA, in partnership with Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd (Leighton), is for $66.46M to build a wave power project off the Australian coastline near Victoria, expected to generate power in the 19-megawatt (MW) range.

This project is the sole wave power-based item among four renewable energy projects awarded funding by the FGA. OPTA and Leighton have formed a special-purpose company, Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd, via a collaboration agreement signed in late 2008, to implement wave power-based systems off Australia’s Southeastern coastal areas.

OPTT is an industry leading innovator in wave power architectures; systems which harness the tidal forces of bodies of water to generate electricity. With direct access to a $150B power generation equipment market via systems like OPTT’s proprietary PowerBuoy®, a modular buoy format wave generator, the Company has the proficiency and vertical sector integration to produce results on this project.

Leighton already has a proven track record in biofuel and wind farm projects and, as Australia’s largest project and development contracting group, is dedicated to becoming a leader in the renewable energy sector.

The project’s 19-MW operational capacity is sufficient to power 10,000 homes and should see groundbreaking by calendar 2Q 2010. Announced as part of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP) by Martin Ferguson, Australian Resources & Energy Minister, this wave power project received 28% of overall funding, and is expected to account for 5% of Australia’s energy needs by 2020, according to the FGA.

Victorian Wave Partners will need to meet funding milestones by seeking out additional sources in order to qualify for the signing conditions of a Funding Deed that enables the grant money.

Founder and Executive Chairman of OPT (and CEO of OPTA) Dr. George W. Taylor hailed this “bold step” by the FGA to incentivize wave power production. Taylor commented that the “Victoria, Australia project is expected to be one of the first utility-scale wave energy projects globally, and the latest example of OPT’s lead in turning wave energy technology into a commercial reality worldwide”.