Work starts on Wave Hub

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New Wave Hub general manager Guy Lavender
New Wave Hub general manager Guy Lavender

Construction starts this month on the pioneering Wave Hub project that will put the south west at the forefront of the global marine energy industry.

The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), which is developing Wave Hub ten miles off the Hayle coast, said its contractors would start work on November 16.

Wave Hub is a cornerstone of the RDA’s strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in the south west. It is a large grid-connected socket on the seabed for wave energy devices to be tested on a scale not seen before.

The £42 million project is fully funded, has planning approval and will be operational next year. It has already signed up its first wave device developer.

Stephen Peacock, executive director of enterprise and innovation at SWRDA, said: “This milestone is the culmination of more than six years’ work by the RDA and its partners and will catapult south west England and the UK to the forefront of wave energy development. Our aim is to create an entirely new low carbon industry in the south west and hundreds of quality jobs.”

The first phase of construction will be on shore. Civil engineers Dean & Dyball have been appointed to drill a 200 metre duct under and through sand dunes on the beach at Hayle between now and the end of the year.

The narrow duct will be lined with a pipe as it is drilled and will eventually link Wave Hub’s subsea cable with a new electricity sub-station on the site of a former power station. Work on the sub-station will start in January and is expected to take six months to complete. Wave Hub will be deployed and the subsea cable laid in the summer of next year.

Meanwhile, SWRDA has also announced the appointment of Guy Lavender as general manager for the Wave Hub project.

After a comprehensive recruitment process, Lavender – who currently works at the RDA as director for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – emerged as the best candidate from a strong field.

He will join Nick Harrington and the rest of the Wave Hub delivery team from January of next year as the remaining installation contracts are awarded and construction begins, and he will be responsible for leading the safe and efficient operation of Wave Hub.