The Wave Hub scheme is officially open for business after being ‘plugged into’ to the National Grid.
It has created the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology by building a grid-connected socket on the seabed 16 kilometres off the Hayle coast, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.
Yesterday (November 2), the complete system underwent its first full test when it was connected to the grid network via a new substation that has been built at Hayle, where Wave Hub’s 33kV cable comes ashore.
Wave Hub’s general manager Guy Lavender, speaking today at the RenewableUK annual conference and exhibition in Glasgow, said: “We’ve been continually testing the integrity of the whole system during the installation process but yesterday was the first time it was fully energised and plugged in to the grid, and I’m delighted to say that it went without a hitch.
“From today the system will be permanently energised and monitored, so Wave Hub is well and truly open for business.”
The penultimate stage of Wave Hub’s installation is expected to be completed today when the last of 177 concrete ‘mattresses’ is laid on top of the subsea cable. The cable itself is buried under the seabed to around five kilometres offshore and thereafter has been covered with 91,000 tonnes of rock. The mattresses are being laid at regular intervals on top of the rock to ensure the cable is secure.
Next week a marker buoy will be installed to record Wave Hub’s position, and that will be the final part of the physical installation.
“The future of Wave Hub and its ongoing operation are not in doubt, and the project is fully funded as we continue to seek commercial customers”
The £42 million Wave Hub project has been developed by the South West RDA and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in the region.
And Lavender allayed fears concerning Wave Hub’s future. He added: “There has been some speculation given that the South West RDA is due to be abolished by March 2012. The future of Wave Hub and its ongoing operation are not in doubt, and the project is fully funded as we continue to seek commercial customers.
“What we don’t yet know is who will own the asset when the RDA is gone, and that is being discussed. But that has no impact on Wave Hub’s continued role as a vital facility for the development of the wave energy industry in the UK and overseas.”