Work starts this week on the next stage of the pioneering Wave Hub marine energy project with the construction of an onshore electricity sub-station at Hayle in Cornwall.
Wave Hub will create the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology by building a grid-connected socket on the seabed, 10 miles off the coast, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.
The £42 million project has been developed by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in South West England.
Contractors Dawnus Construction will this week start preparing the site of a new sub-station that will allow electricity generated out to sea to be fed into the National Grid.
The six-month project will include the installation of more than £1 million of electrical equipment, including a monitoring system for wave energy developers to measure how much power their devices produce.
It follows the completion in February of the first phase of work to drill a 200-metre duct through sand dunes at Hayle where Wave Hub’s subsea-cable will come ashore. It will be linked to onshore cabling threaded through the duct and connected to the new sub-station.
Guy Lavender, Wave Hub’s general manager, said: “This next chapter in Wave Hub’s development is a crucial part of the on-shore infrastructure we are building at Hayle and Wave Hub’s grid connectivity is part of what makes it so attractive to the marine energy industry.”
The single-storey sub-station will occupy part of the former coal fired power station site at Hayle, and is next to an existing sub-station.
Wave Hub is being funded with £12.5 million from SWRDA, £20 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and £9.5 million from the Government.
It is on schedule to be completed by autumn of this year with the first wave devices expected to be deployed in 2011.
An independent economic impact assessment has calculated that Wave Hub could create 1,800 jobs and inject £560 million in the UK economy over 25 years. Almost 1,000 of these jobs and £332 million could be generated in South West England.