The South West Regional Development Agency’s Wave Hub marine energy project has been installed on the seabed following an operation to lower the 12-tonne hub into 55m of water and 16km offshore.
The £42m Wave Hub is a grid-connected socket on the seabed off the coast of Cornwall, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.
Wave Hub was lowered to the seabed using a crane on board the cable laying ship Nordica and touched down at 15.12 on Friday September 3.
Over the last two days the hub’s four 300m ‘tails’ have been positioned on the seabed and later today the vessel Tideway Rollingstone will start to place the first of 80,000 tonnes of rock on top of the 25km cable connecting Wave Hub to the shore to hold it in place.
Science minister David Willetts, said: ‘The UK is already leading the way, with 25 per cent of the world’s wave and tidal technologies being developed here. This is a huge opportunity for UK business – the sector could be worth £2bn by 2050 and it has the potential to create up to 16,000 jobs by 2040.’
The RDA’s Wave Hub general manager Guy Lavender added: ‘Wave Hub will be on the seabed for the next 25 years, helping the world gain invaluable knowledge about how we tap the vast energy potential of our oceans in the pursuit of…renewable energy and cementing the UK’s position at the forefront of this green power revolution.’
Wave Hub is connected to the shore via a 25km, 1,300-tonne subsea cable that has been laid over the last few weeks from the beach at Hayle on the north Cornwall coast out to the Wave Hub site.
With the hub on the seabed, contractor CTC Marine spent the weekend ensuring that the hub’s four 300m cable ‘tails’ which serve the four berths at Wave Hub are in the right position, and have surveyed the entire length of the cable.
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.