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201008 | Cornwall’s Wave Hub is about to become a Wind Hub – and could have a new owner next month

Cornwall’s Wave Hub is about to become a Wind Hub – and could have a new owner next month

Posted By Peter Tremayne on 8th October 2020

By Peter Tremayne

Cornwall’s Wave Hub could be sold next month. Cornwall Council thinks it has a deal and hopes to announce a buyer within weeks.

The Hayle-based project, which for more than 20 years has existed only because of European Union investment, has never delivered a single watt of commercial electricity. The costs of harnessing wave power proved too expensive for private investors.

But the Wave Hub is unlikely to be melted down for scrap metal. Anchored to the sea bed about 10 miles offshore, it might one day have a future as a “plug socket” for a floating windfarm.

Last year Cornwall signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Welsh and Irish governments to prospect for and develop offshore wind. The sector is attracting worldwide interest amid scenes reminiscent of the 19th century Klondikers' discovery of gold in the Yukon region of Canada. Now the race is on to see who comes first in the “wind rush.”

In February a report by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC) claimed there were four potential offshore wind projects in Cornwall and Wales. Of these, so far only Blue Gem Wind, based in Wales and backed by the controversial French energy giant Total, has secured a licence from the Crown Estate.

County Hall officials are nevertheless pinning their hopes on a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership forecast that offshore wind will create 3,200 jobs locally and add £682 million to the local economy. The A&P group, based at Falmouth, is hoping to win manufacturing contracts.

The identity of the Wave Hub’s new owner will therefore be of great interest, as it will mark a significant milestone in any Cornish involvement.

Part of this “wind rush” could be a relatively small £150 million scheme for a four-turbine 32 MW project 10 miles off the Cornish coast. The LEP thinks this could power up to 23,000 homes by 2023.

Sceptics think this timescale is pure fantasy, an opinion not budged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent conversion to become a supporter of offshore wind. But historians point out that only those 19th century gold miners who arrived early in the Yukon – the “Klondike Kings” - got rich. Within three years, the gold rush was over. Many of the latecomers starved.




Via Cornwall Reports

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