£1.5m boost for Cornish wave power

Cornwall's growing reputation for harnessing the power of the sea may swell thanks to an injection of cash into its Wave Hub project.

The project at Hayle, backed by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA), aims to become a centre of excellence in the development and manufacture of wave technology.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “This ground-breaking Wave Hub project is evidence of British engineering and offshore expertise. Almost 80% of the value of contracts awarded so far have gone to UK businesses.

“The UK is already leading the way in marine energy, 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 £2bn by 2050 and it has the potential to create up to 16,000 jobs by 2040.

“But this is a young industry and it needs support to realise that potential. That’s why Government is continuing to provide £18.5m of support for marine projects here in the South West. Today’s investment in OPT is further evidence of that commitment”

The project brings together specialist companies.

These include Ocean Power Technologies, set to benefit from a £1.5m Government grant to scale up its Powerbuoy, which it claims could compete economically with fossil fuel generation.

This is the latest in a wave of grants supporting this industry in the South West and follows an announcement by the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board last week of a £7 million investment in nine projects aimed at developing wave and tidal technologies of the future.

OPT is the first company signed up to use Wave Hub – a £42 million project to create the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology, off the north coast of Cornwall.

Angus Norman, the firm’s chief executive, said: “We share the government and the RDA’s vision that the UK has a unique opportunity to leverage its geographic location and engineering expertise to harness wave power for abundant, safe and renewable energy as well as a source of new jobs and industrial regeneration.”

David Gibbs

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