Wave Hub Gets Go-ahead

Wave Hub, an offshore electrical ‘socket’ that has been designed to support the testing of arrays of marine wave generators has been given the official go-ahead by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA), which is backing the development.

The project, which is due for commissioning in summer 2010, will see the grid-connected device installed on the seabed in some 50 metres of water around 10 miles (16 km) off the coast of St Ives, Cornwall, in south west England. There are four berths available, each covering two square kilometres. Wave Hub will have an initial maximum capacity of 20 MW but has been designed with the potential to scale-up to 50 MW in the future.

At the launch of the government’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy this week, the south west of England was designated as the UK’s first Low Carbon Economic Area because of its strength in marine energy. As part of its support programme, the government will make £19.5 million (US$32 million) available as part of a £100 million ($160 million) two-year investment programme in marine renewables, being led by the South West RDA, which includes £9.5 million ($16 million) for the pioneering Wave Hub project.

Wave Hub has also secured £20 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence programme.

Advocates of the scheme say that Wave Hub could create more than 1000 jobs across the South West. A further £10 million has been made available for the RDA to support other marine energy projects in the region.

Stephen Peacock, Enterprise and Innovation executive director at the South West RDA said: “We want to forge a new industry from the seas around our shores and today’s announcements cement our position as a global leader in wave and tidal technologies.”

Peacock also said that the project has now signed legal agreements with Ocean Power Technologies Limited to take the first berth at Wave Hub for testing its PowerBuoy device. Wave Hub has also placed its first equipment order, for 16.5 miles (26 km) of subsea cable.

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