Work on the £42m Wave Hub marine energy project begins this week when engineers start to drill through sand dunes at Hayle in Cornwall.
According to the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency), 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 project has been developed by the South West RDA and is core to its strategy to develop a world-class marine energy industry in south-west England.
A two-week operation is now underway to drill a 200m duct through sand dunes at Hayle where Wave Hub’s subsea cable will come ashore. The cable will be threaded through the duct and connected to a new electricity sub-station that will be built next year, allowing Wave Hub to be connected to the National Grid.
Guy Lavender, Wave Hub’s recently appointed general manager who takes up his post in January, said: ‘Our contractors have spent the last two weeks setting up on site and are now ready to start. This is a crucial part of our shore-side works and means we’ll be ready to receive the cable connecting Wave Hub to the shore when it is laid next summer.
‘We want south-west England to be a world leader in the development of marine renewables, an industry that could be worth £2bn a year to the UK by 2050. With world leaders meeting in Copenhagen next week to discuss climate change, Wave Hub is a tangible example of a project that could have a global impact on reducing carbon emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels.’
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.
In July, south-west England was designated the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area because of its strength in marine energy, attracting a further £10m of UK government investment for projects that will support the industry.
With government, RDA and European funding, the total investment in the south west’s marine energy programme in the next two years is expected to top £100m.