E.ON and Ocean Prospect have withdrawn from the Wave Hub project off the north Cornish coast, opting instead to test their recently acquired Pelamis wave energy converter at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.
Wave Hub, currently being developed by the South West Regional Development Agency, will be an underwater ‘socket’ providing the necessary infrastructure to connect up to four wave energy projects to the electricity grid.
Four developers were looking at using Wave Hub to ‘plug in’ marine power projects, with E.ON and Ocean Prospect looking at using the Pelamis wave power device at the site.
E.ON purchased the 750kW Pelamis device in February 2009 and expects it to be commissioned in 2010.
Dave Rogers, regional director of renewables for E.ON, said: ‘Our aim is to concentrate on testing our Pelamis device, which means that it was unlikely we’d be in a position to connect to Wave Hub in the short term.
‘We still believe Wave Hub is an excellent project – and we may well return to it in the future – but our initial goal is to get a machine into the water as quickly as possible, which we’ll be able to do in Orkney.’
Nick Harington, head of Marine Energy at the South West RDA which is developing Wave Hub, said: ‘It’s entirely understandable that E.ON wants to test a single next-generation device at the European Marine Energy Centre rather than an array of devices, which is what Wave Hub is designed for.
‘We wish them well and hope to welcome them back in the near future.
‘Wave Hub is on course to be built and commissioned next year.
‘We are currently in detailed negotiations with three wave device developers, and look forward to the first device being deployed at Wave Hub in 2011.’
The Pelamis trial at EMEC forms part of E.ON’s renewable development portfolio in the UK that, if built, would be able to provide power for around a million homes and displace two million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.