Wave Hub, the pioneering wave energy project on course to be built next year off the Cornish coast, has announced another wave energy development partner.
Orecon Limited will occupy the fourth berth at Wave Hub, which aims to be operational from August next year.
The company, based in Bodmin in Cornwall, was founded in 2002 as a spin-out business from the University of Plymouth. Last year it succeeded in raising $24 million of private investment for the development of its wave to energy buoy, which can generate enough power for 1,000 homes.
Orecon takes the place of Australian company Oceanlinx which was expected to use Wave Hub. The company has since received a grant from the Australian Government and has decided to make its next deployment in Australian waters.
Wave Hub will be a giant electrical ‘socket’ on the seabed, some 10 miles offshore and connected to the National Grid, into which wave energy device developers can plug their devices and carry out pre-commercial testing on a scale not seen before.
It is already being hailed as one of the UK’s flagship renewable energy projects and is one of just six case studies to feature in the Government’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy which was launched in London last week by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, and Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson.
Nick Harrington, Head of Marine Energy at the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA), which is leading the Wave Hub project, said: “This is just the latest exciting development for Wave Hub, which is on course to be built next summer.
“We are now tendering for the electrical equipment and sub-sea cable, have agreed a new design that potentially gives us more generating capacity as technology evolves, and have applied for a safety zone around the project.
“Orecon is at a crucial stage in developing its technology and we hope Wave Hub will be the springboard to full scale commercialisation.”
David Crisp, chief executive of Orecon, said: “The UK still leads the way in the development of wave energy technology and we have the best wave resources in Europe. Wave Hub will give us the development platform we need to prove our technology to the world and we’re delighted to have been selected as one of the RDA’s partners.”
Construction of Wave Hub is expected to start in May 2010 and be completed by August 2010, with the first wave energy devices expected to be deployed in 2011.
Nick Harrington added: “Wave Hub is just part of a much bigger ambition to make South West England the cradle of offshore renewables development, not just in the UK, but the world.”
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 the South West.