A new agreement signed by Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) will help the company to carry out its strategy of entering into alliances around the world as a basis for global expansion.

The US-based wave power technology company has signed an agreement with Australia’s Leighton Contractors to develop wave power projects off the east and south coasts of Australia. The deal is an important step for OPT and the commercialisation of its PowerBuoy technology.

Under the agreement, OPT will identify potential project sites and assess their commercial prospects, while Leighton will obtain approvals, negotiate power purchase agreements, and oversee project delivery and power station operation. The companies have not yet indicated the number of projects that they are targeting for development.

OPT says that Leighton’s experience with infrastructure projects make it an ideal partner. The Sydney-based company employs over 9000 people and has A$9.0 billion in projects.

“[Leighton’s] project development and delivery expertise will contribute to making the Australian market a major regional hub for the introduction and commercialization of OPT’s unique, ocean tested wave power technology,” commented OPT Chief Executive Dr. George W. Taylor. “Leighton is an early mover in the rapidly developing market for renewable energy, and we are delighted they have decided to form an alliance with us, as the Australian appetite for renewable energy and carbon reduction strategies is increasing.”

OPT’s PowerBuoy technology consists of ocean-going buoys that convert the movement of waves into electrical energy. In September 2008 the company announced that it had deployed the first PowerBuoy unit at a project in Spain that will become the world’s first commercial utility-scale wave power project.