U.K. Installs Wave-Power Test Facility Off Coast of Cornwall

The U.K. installed a wave-power test facility off the coast of Cornwall, southwest England, to allow developers including Ocean Power Technologies Inc. to gauge the viability of their equipment.

The 12-ton “Wave Hub” was placed in waters 55 meters (180 feet) deep on Sept. 3, and four lines of cable were attached over the past two days, according to a statement today from the South West England Regional Development Agency. The hub will act as a socket for devices that turn wave energy into electricity.

“This ground-breaking project will strengthen the U.K.’s position at the forefront of the wave energy sector,” U.K. Science Minister David Willetts said in the statement. “The U.K. is already leading the way, with 25 percent of the world’s wave and tidal technologies being developed here.”

The U.K. estimates that energy from the waves and tides could power 15 million homes by 2050 and create 16,000 jobs by the 2040s. The Wave Hub project overcame opposition from surfers who feared it might lower the height of waves along the Cornish coast. Wave Hub is located off the coast at Hayle, 20 miles from Newquay, Britain’s surf capital.

The 42 million-pound ($65 million) project has four berths, each allowing developers to test groups of wave-power equipment. The first devices are expected to be installed next year, and New Jersey-based Ocean Power agreed to take the first berth, according to today’s statement.

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