The South West RDA (Regional Development Agency), which is developing Wave Hub 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall, says its contractors will start work on the wave energy project on 16 November.
Wave Hub is a marine renewables infrastructure project that will create an electrical ‘socket’ on the seabed in some 50 m of water around 16 km (10 miles) off the coast of Cornwall and connected to the National Grid via a subsea cable.
Groups of wave energy devices will be connected to Wave Hub and float on or just below the surface of the sea to assess how well they work and how much wave energy they generate before going into full commercial production.
There are four berths available at Wave Hub, each covering 2 km2. 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.
The £42 million wave energy project is fully funded, has planning approval and will be operational next year. It has already signed up its first wave energy device developer.
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.
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 £100 million.
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Lord Hunt, welcomes the start of work on Wave Hub: “The scope for wave and tidal energy around the UK’s shores is massive and the Wave Hub will help marine energy developers test their cutting edge projects and help them reach commercial viability.”
The first phase of the construction of Wave Hub will be on shore. Civil engineers Dean & Dyball have been appointed to drill a 200 m duct under and through sand dunes on the beach at Hayle in Cornwall between now and the end of the year.
The narrow duct will be lined with a pipe as it is drilled and will eventually link Wave Hub’s subsea cable with a new electricity sub-station on the site of a former power station. Work on the sub-station will start in January and is expected to take 6 months to complete. Wave Hub will be deployed and the subsea cable laid in the summer of next year, South West RDA says.