The British government has given planning approval for the world’s first large-scale wave project off the coast of north Cornwall.
Sited 10 miles (16km) out to sea off Hayle, the hub – which would collect energy from wave turbines – could generate electricity for 14,000 homes.
It should deliver electricity to the national grid by 2009.
It is hoped the project could generate £330m for the regional economy over 25 years.
We look forward to using the same energy we’ve used to ride waves to light up our homes as well
Andy Cummins, Surfers Against Sewage
The official consent announcement will be made on Monday by John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
The Wave Hub – a seafloor “socket”, will connect wave energy machines to the mainland.
The proposed power station will involve up to 20 sets of machines, with pumps, pistons and turbines, about 10 miles (16km) out to sea off St Ives Bay, generating electricity for 14,000 homes.
There was some objection to the scheme among surfers who were worried the farm would reduce wave height on the beaches.
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But Dr Kerry Black, a New Zealand-based physical oceanographer, concluded in June that the impact on wave height would be less than 5% – far less than the 11% feared previously by some surfers.
The environmental campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), has welcomed the project.
Andy Cummins, SAS Campaigns Officer, said: “Wave hub’s government approval is good news for Cornwall and for the future of renewable energy generation in the UK.
“We look forward to using the same energy we’ve used to ride waves to light up our homes as well.”
The implications of the project for the region’s economy are considerable according to Claire Gibson from the South West RDA.
“It’s a really exciting project for the region,” she said.
“It’s really going to position us as the place to be.”
Four wave device developers have already been chosen for the scheme which will also be a testing site, allowing companies that develop wave energy technology to test their devices.
Up to 30 wave energy devices are expected to be deployed at the Wave Hub and will float on the surface of the sea.