The world's biggest wave energy site is about to go live after the successful installation of a giant socket on the sea bed off Britain. Wave Hub was constructed off the North Coast of Cornwall (10 miles off Hayle) and will essentially be a 'socket' sitting on the seabed for wave energy converters to be plugged into. It is hoped that the Wave Hub will make the South West a leading player in the global marine energy industry.
The £42M Wave Hub has been lowered to the seabed off Cornwall using a crane on board the cable laying ship Nordica (right) and touched down on Friday.
The project aims to create the UK's first offshore facility which will demonstrate the operation of wave energy generation devices. The funding for the Wave Hub is part of the government's plans to make the South West of England a world center for tidal energy.
The hub's four 300m tails have been positioned on the seabed and later today the vessel Tideway Rollingstone will start to place the first of 80,000 tons of rock on top of the 25km cable connecting Wave Hub to the shore to hold it in place.
Wave Hub is connected to the shore via a 25km, 1,300-ton subsea cable that has been laid over the last few weeks from the beach at Hayle on the north Cornwall coast out to the Wave Hub site.
The Wave Hub provides an area of sea with grid connection and planning consent where arrays and devices can be operated over several years.
These will eventually be able to generate electricity from the power of the waves and will allow developers to transmit and sell energy to Britain's electricity distribution grid.
The Wave Hug is expected to be operational in 2011 and could create more than 1,800 jobs, the RDA said.
When completed, it will have an initial maximum capacity of 20 megawatts, enough electricity to power about 7,000 homes, but has been designed with the potential to scale up to 50 megawatts.
News of Wave Hub's successful installation was welcomed by UK Science Minister David Willetts, who said: 'It is fantastic news that Wave Hub has now been deployed on the ocean floor - this ground breaking project will strengthen the UK's position at the forefront of the wave energy sector.
'The UK is already leading the way, with 25 per cent of the world's wave and tidal technologies being developed here.
'This is a huge opportunity for UK business - the sector could be worth £2Bby 2050 and it has the potential to create up to 16,000 jobs by 2040.'
UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker also congratulated the Wave Hub team on their achievement, saying: 'The UK's massive marine energy resources have the potential to supply millions of homes with renewable power, giving us security of supply and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
'Wave Hub will fulfil a crucial role that complements our existing test facilities in the UK and will help companies bring forward the development of marine energy.
The RDA's Wave Hub General Manager Guy Lavender said: 'Seeing Wave Hub lowered into the water was the culmination of more than seven years' hard work by hundreds of people and the fact that it was designed and built in this country is testimony to the skills and experience that the UK already has in the fledgling marine renewables industry.'
The DailyMail, "World's biggest wave energy site off Cornish coast set to go live", accessed August 8, 2010