Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) is paving the way for the construction of a utility-scale wave power project in the USA through a new agreement with engineering firm Lockheed Martin.

The two companies have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on the project, which is likely to be located in either California or Oregon. OPT has already cemented similar ventures in Australia, and is currently building the world’s first commercial utility-scale wave power station in Spain.

Under this latest agreement, OPT would provide its project and site development expertise, build the power take-off and control systems of the plant, and provide the PowerBuoy modules. Lockheed Martin would provide construction, systems integration and deployment of the plant, as well as operations and maintenance services.

The project represents the first time that the two firms have worked together on a utility-scale renewable energy project. OPT – which recently announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer and chief technology officer – plans to deploy its PowerBuoy technology around the world through strategic alliances.

In May last year, OPT announced a joint development agreement with Griffin Energy for the construction of up to 100 MW of capacity off the coast of Western Australia. Last month it signed an agreement with Leighton Contractors to develop wave power projects off the east and south coasts of Australia.

OPT’s PowerBuoy technology is a floating buoy anchored to the seabed that captures the energy created by the rising and falling waves. The generated power is transmitted ashore via an underwater power cable.

The New Jersey-based company has already installed examples of its product in Hawaii and New Jersey. At Santoña, off Spain’s northern coast, OPT installed the first PowerBuoy unit in September 2008.

Last month OPT said that Mark Robert Draper, who has served as the company’s chief operating office since June 2007, has become its new CEO. He succeeds Dr George W. Taylor, founder of OPT, who has been appointed executive chairman.

Dr Phil Hart has taken up the newly-created position of chief technology officer with the company.