Following the announcement of the secured funding for the World's largest Wave Farm to be built just off the coast of Cornwall, The Renewable Energy Centre is actively supporting the growth of this source of renewable energy, with a section on its website dedicated to wave and tidal power.
The Renewable Energy Centre was delighted with the announcement that the proposed plans for the world's largest wave farm situated just off the UK coast, has secured sufficient funding from the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA).
The £21.5m grant means the £28m 'Wave Hub' project could soon be producing enough energy to power 7,500 homes in the UK. The South West RDA has now applied to the UK government for planning permission for the project and a decision is expected next month. If permission is granted, construction of the Hub may begin as early as 2008.
The Renewable Energy Centre defines wave power as the power achieved by capturing the energy contained in the movement of water in ocean waves which is then used to drive electricity generators. The Wave Hub could be descibed as similar to an "electrical socket" on the ocean bed and a range of 40 different wave energy devices will be tested at the proposed site 10 miles off the Cornish coast.
Each of the 40 devices on or just below the surface of the water would be linked to the Hub and assessed on the amount of power they generate and how well they cope operating at sea. A high voltage cable on the seabed will then connect the hub to the National Grid via an electricity substation on the mainland in Hayle.
The Wave Hub has been hailed by many environmental groups as a flagship project which will help lead the way in developing renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions in the UK. The power created would meet approximately 3% of Cornwall's electricity needs, saving 24,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year when displacing fossil fuels.
Furthermore, the Regional Development Association stated that the project could generate £76m over 25 years for the regional economy and would create at least 170 jobs.
There are three companies already involved in the project; Ocean Power Technologies Limited, Fred Olsen Limited and WestWave, a consortium of E.On and Ocean Prospect Limited, using the Pelamis technology of Ocean Power Delivery Ltd. For further information a direct website link and contact details can be found on www.therenewableenergycentre.co.uk
Richard Simmons, founder of The Renewable Energy Centre stated "The RDA's grant is a significant step for the future of the wave power industry and renewable energy overall. So many half-measures have been attempted in recent years but the Wave Hub project is a true example of a move from research and development to a full scale production project that has the potential to make a real difference."
There has been some opposition to the project, particularly from the surfing community who are concerned that by taking energy from the waves the Wave Hub devices could reduce wave heights by up to 10%, putting the surfing industry in Cornwall at risk.
However, Dr Kerry Black, the New Zealand-based physical oceanographer, has concluded that the impact on wave height would be less than five per cent off a metre-high wave and this also correlates with the RDA's research.
The UK is already emerging to be the world leader in wave energy technology. The Wave Hub project is seen by many as the first step towards to a carbon zero living but some groups have found this renewable source of energy as particularly expensive and claim that consumers will see their electricity bills rise increasingly over the next 10 years.
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