Exeter, England The latest stage of South West Regional Development Agency’s Wave Hub project is under way as the hub and its 25-km cable are loaded onto a cable laying ship ready for deployment offshore in the next few weeks, South West RDA reported.
Wave Hub, a marine renewable infrastructure project that will create the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology, is on course to be completed by summer 2011.
Wave Hub is creating a test site for wave energy hydropower technology by building a grid-connected socket on the seabed, 16 kilometers off the coast of Cornwall, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.
The GBP 42 million project has been developed by the South West RDA and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in South West England.
The cable, which weighs 1,300 tons and cost GBP 7 million to make, is being spooled directly from the JDR Cable Systems’ factory in Hartlepool onto the cable laying ship MV Nordica at a rate of 400 meters per hour. The operation is running 24 hours a day and will take around five days to complete.
The Nordica has been chartered by CTC Marine Projects based in Darlington, County Durham, which has been appointed by the South West RDA to lay the cable and install Wave Hub on the seabed.
The RDA’s Wave Hub General Manager Guy Lavender said: “This is a major milestone for Wave Hub and has been planned with military precision. We’ve already connected Wave Hub to the cable, so it has been loaded first, followed by the cable itself. The whole operation needs to be carried out with great care, so it will be a nail biting time for the whole team, but they are very experienced.
“After that, the Nordica will head for the north Cornwall coast to start the cable laying operation, and, weather permitting, we expect Wave Hub to be in the water in early August. This will be followed by a rock dumping operation to hold the hub and cable in place, ready for the first wave energy devices to be deployed in 2011.”
Wave Hub is being funded with GBP 12.5 million from the South West RDA, GBP 20 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and GBP 9.5 million from the UK government.