The Wave Hub, a groundbreaking renewable energy project that is set to become the UK’s first offshore facility dedicated to wave energy, has been installed off the North Coast of Cornwall. Four wave energy generation devices will connect their arrays into the Hub, allowing developers to transmit and then sell their renewable energy to the UK’s electricity distribution grid. The total capacity of the hub will be 20 MWe (megawatt electrical).
The project that has cost £42 million ($64 million) will essentially be a ‘socket’ sitting on the seabed for wave energy converters to be plugged into. It is hoped Wave Hub’s construction will make the South West of England a leading player in the global marine energy industry. Wave Hub will also see the construction 0f a sub-station built at Hayle 10 miles away. It will be situated adjacent to a connection point on the distribution network. From there, a cable will be taken through a 200m duct beneath the sand dunes and then across the sea bed to an eight square kilometre area within which the devices will be moored.
The South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) has put £12.5 million into the project with £20 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme. Another £9.5 million will come from the UK government. The scheme is expected to be operational next year and has already signed up its first wave device developer – Ocean Power Technologies Limited. Fred Olsen Limited, WestWave and Oceanlinx are said to be the other three companies.