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200318 | Wave Hub for sale

Wave Hub for sale

Cornwall Council Cabinet agreed this morning to try and sell the Wave Hub at Hayle in 2021 but if a buyer cannot be found the operation will be closed down.

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The preferred option is to sell the site and help convert it into a floating wind farm.

In April 2019 Cornwall Council entered into a two-year commissioning agreement with Wave Hub Limited to manage and operate the Wave Hub.

A four year Business Plan was presented to cabinet today with several options to consider in terms of the direction of travel. The preferred option is to sell Wave Hub during 2020-21.

Wave Hub comprises of a mix of assets including the ownership of Wave Hub Limited, the Wave Hub device and associated property. The proposed disposal would include the sale of the Hayle offshore and onshore assets, allowing the purchaser ‘to acquire a consented offshore site with significant in-place onshore infrastructure’.

On the basis that a sale is completed, the proceeds will then be reinvested in renewable energy, with a focus on the offshore wind market, like the recently announced £150m offshore wind plans.

The current Wave Hub is a grid connected site located off the coast of Hayle. It was originally conceived for the testing and development of wave energy devices and arrays. It was funded through European Structural Funds and central government funding and became operational in 2010.

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There has been no Cornwall Council funding allocated to support the delivery of Wave Hub – it was transferred with funds from central government. In March 2017, the assets and the operating company, Wave Hub Ltd, were transferred from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to Cornwall Council along with sufficient funds to operate the site for a period of time and decommission the asset when the time comes. This funding is held in a separate ring-fenced reserve.

Since the transfer, the wave energy sector has not developed at the pace originally anticipated when the Wave Hub was conceived. Therefore, Wave Hub Ltd has been tasked with finding alternative uses for the site, including undertaking the technical and regulatory work to enable the deployment of floating wind turbines.

This is still at a precommercial stage but the technology is significantly more advanced than wave energy and on a scale and magnitude that far exceeds the potential of the power that can be generated from the Wave Hub.