Wave Hub is creating the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology by building a grid-connected socket offshore, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.

The £42M project has been developed by the SWRDA and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in South West England and the UK.

Wave Hub was lowered to the seabed using a crane on board the cable laying ship Nordica and touched down at 15.12 on Friday 3 September. Over the last two days the hub’s four 300m ‘tails’ have been positioned on the seabed and later today the vessel Tideway Rollingstone will start to place the first of 80,000 tonnes of rock on top of the 25km cable connecting Wave Hub to the shore to hold it in place.

News of Wave Hub’s successful installation was welcomed by UK Science Minister David Willetts, who said: “It is fantastic news that Wave Hub has now been deployed on the ocean floor – this ground breaking project will strengthen the UK’s position at the forefront of the wave energy sector. The UK is already leading the way, with 25% of the world’s wave and tidal technologies being developed here. This is a huge opportunity for UK business – the sector could be worth £2Bby 2050 and it has the potential to create up to 16,000 jobs by 2040.”

UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker also congratulated the Wave Hub team on their achievement, saying: “The UK’s massive marine energy resources have the potential to supply millions of homes with renewable power, giving us security of supply and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Wave Hub will fulfil a crucial role that complements our existing test facilities in the UK and will help companies bring forward the development of marine energy.”

The RDA’s Wave Hub General Manager Guy Lavender said: “Seeing Wave Hub lowered into the water was the culmination of more than seven years’ hard work by hundreds of people and the fact that it was designed and built in this country is testimony to the skills and experience that the UK already has in the fledgling marine renewables industry.”

Wave Hub is connected to the shore via a 25km, 1,300-tonne subsea cable that has been laid over the last few weeks from the beach at Hayle on the north Cornwall coast out to the Wave Hub site.

With the hub on the seabed, specialist contractor CTC Marine spent the weekend ensuring that the hub’s four 300 cable ‘tails’ which serve the four berths at Wave Hub are in the right position, and have surveyed the entire length of the cable.

Wave Hub is being funded with £12.5M from the SW RDA, £20M from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and £9.5M from the UK government.