The UK government has given planning approval for the world’s first large scale wave farm off the coast of Cornwall in South West England.
It means the £28m project, which has been developed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), has cleared the last major regulatory hurdle. Funding for the project has already been approved by the RDA.
The consent announcement was made by John Hutton, UK Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
Wave Hub is a world first and will include an onshore substation connected to electrical equipment on the seabed about 16 kilometres offshore via a sub-sea cable.
Companies developing wave energy technology will be able to plug into Wave Hub to test their wave energy devices on a scale never seen anywhere before. Four companies have already been chosen to use Wave Hub, which will allow them to use an area of sea for the pre-commercial testing of wave energy devices.
A new independent economic impact assessment, commissioned by the RDA, has shown that Wave Hub could create 1,800 jobs and £560m in the UK economy over 25 years. Almost 1,000 of these jobs and £332m would be generated in South West England.
Wave Hub could generate enough electricity for 7,500 homes, directly saving 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over 25 years. This would support South West England’s target for generating 15 per cent of the region’s power from renewable sources by 2010.
The Wave Hub project will cover an area of sea measuring four kilometres by two kilometres and each wave device developer will be granted a lease of between five and 10 years in an area of approximately two square kilometres. The water at the deployment site is approximately 50 metres deep.
Up to 30 wave energy devices are expected to be deployed at Wave Hub and will float on the surface of the sea. Wave Hub is expected to be operational in 2009.