U.K. grants final consent for Wave Hub testing facility

Secretary of State for Business John Hutton announced approval September 17 of the United Kingdom’s final consent for the Wave Hub ocean energy test facility to be constructed off the coast of Hayle, Cornwall, England.

The total 28 million pound (US$54.8 million) Wave Hub project is a proposed underwater cable system to connect wave energy projects to the national grid. The sponsor of the facility, South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), earlier this year approved 21.5 million pounds (US$42 million) for Wave Hub, the final amount of funds needed to build the ocean power project testing site. (HNN 5/14/07)

Over the past year, some of Britain’s half-million surfers lobbied Parliament, calling for further environmental impact assessments of the project, to be located ten miles offshore from the holiday resort of St Ives. The environmental assessments showed the Wave Hub’s effect on beaches would be less than feared.

“There’s now been three environmental surveys, so that’s drawn a line under it,” Wave Hub project manager Nick Harrington said.

Four wave device developers have been chosen to test technologies at the site:
o Oceanlinx Ltd. of Australia, which plans to combine Oscillating Water Column technology with its patented turbine technology;
o Ocean Prospect Ltd. and E.ON UK of the U.K., which intend to test 10 Pelamis P750 devices developed by Ocean Power Delivery;
o Ocean Power Technologies of the U.K., which intends to install a 5-MW project based on its PowerBuoy wave energy converter; and
o Fred. Olsen Ltd. of Norway, which plans to install a number of floating buoys attached to a floating platform that converts wave energy to electricity.

The project is to provide the world’s biggest testing ground for wave power devices, an area of four kilometers by two kilometers, RDA said. The installation is expected to generate up to 20 MW of clean energy, enough to power 7,500 homes and displace generation that would produce 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide over 25 years.

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