Ocean Power Technologies, Inc (Nasdaq: OPTT) ("OPT" and “the Company”), a leading wave energy technology company, today announced that its utility-scale PowerBuoy ® off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon, is expected to be deployed in spring 2013.
Final testing of the PowerBuoy has continued to be on track for completion ahead of final assembly and readiness for deployment in October 2012, as announced previously. Subject to weather conditions, the Company had thereafter planned to tow the completed device approximately 300 miles from the Portland area dry dock to its deployment site about 2.5 nautical miles west of Reedsport.
The early onset of unfavorable weather conditions in recent days has significantly impacted the installation of moorings. In addition, uncertainty regarding weather conditions over the October timeframe has increased the risks of incurring substantial deployment vessel “standby” costs and adverse safety conditions while transiting the buoy over the distance from the dry dock to the deployment site. The buoy itself is designed to perform well during severe weather once installed, but during transit there are concerns for towing stability in the harsh conditions now more frequent. Furthermore, following deployment there is a required period of time for commissioning the PowerBuoy for full operation, which also may need some level of marine operations.
Charles Dunleavy, Chief Executive Officer of OPT, said: “Our partners and staff have worked very hard to enable completion of the buoy before the harsh Oregon winter sets in. However, risk management plans for marine operations have to be sufficiently flexible to cope with changes in weather conditions, and safety concerns are paramount. As with all our PowerBuoy deployments, we will proceed carefully, and we have assessed the risks of deployment and commissioning activities during the upcoming weeks. We are not prepared to compromise the safety of crews or their vessels, or the OPT PowerBuoy system itself enroute to the site and during the deployment and commissioning. We remain committed to developing this wave energy project, and this process will serve to enhance our future deployments. In light of the increased weather, safety and cost risks, it is the right decision to plan for deployment next spring.”