Work starts this week on the next stage of the pioneering Wave Hub marine energy project with the construction of an onshore electricity sub-station at Hayle in Cornwall.
Wave Hub will create the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology by building a grid-connected socket on the seabed, 10 miles off the coast, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.
The £42m project has been developed by the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world-class marine energy industry in south-west England.
Contractors Dawnus Construction will this week start preparing the site of the new sub-station that will allow electricity generated out to sea to be fed into the National Grid.
The six-month project will include the installation of more than £1m of electrical equipment, including a monitoring system for wave energy developers to measure how much power their devices produce.
It follows the completion in February of the first phase of work to drill a 200m duct through sand dunes at Hayle where Wave Hub’s subsea-cable will come ashore. It will be linked to onshore cabling threaded through the duct and connected to the new sub-station.
The single-storey sub-station will occupy part of the former coal-fired power station site at Hayle, and is next to an existing sub-station.
Wave Hub is being funded with £12.5m from the South West RDA, £20m from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and £9.5m from the UK government.
It is on schedule to be completed by autumn of this year with the first wave devices expected to be deployed in 2011.
An independent economic impact assessment has calculated that Wave Hub could create 1,800 jobs and inject £560m in the UK economy over 25 years. Almost 1,000 of these jobs and £332m could be generated in south-west England.