Excavations start on Cornwall's pioneering Wave Hub project
The next stage of Cornwall's pioneering Wave Hub project is underway with excavation work to create the scheme's vital onshore electricity link.
Contractors are digging a pit on Hayle beach, West Cornwall, to house a connecting block to join Wave Hub's offshore cable with onshore cables linked to a new electricity substation.
When Wave Hub's 25km, 1,300-tonne sub-sea cable is laid later this summer, it will end inside the beach pit and be connected to cables through two ducts that have already been drilled through the sand dunes at Hayle.
The cables will lead back to a substation being built on the other side of the dunes, and ultimately connect Wave Hub with the National Grid.
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Guy Lavender, Wave Hub general manager at the South West Regional Development Agency, said: "Wave Hub's grid connection is one of its selling points to the global wave energy industry so this is a vital piece of work.
"Over the next two weeks, beach users at Hayle are going to see various bits of plant and machinery at the top of the beach while the beach pit is constructed.
"Later this summer, once all the cables have been connected in the pit, it will be filled in again and the sheet piling will be removed, so you'll never know we were there."
The hub will become the world's largest test site for wave energy technology.
Wave power devices will be connected to the grid-connected socket on the seabed, 16 kilometres off the coast, to have their performance evaluated.
The £42 million project has been developed by the South West RDA, and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in South West England.
An independent economic impact assessment has calculated that it could create 1,800 jobs and inject £560 million in the UK economy over 25 years. Almost 1,000 of these jobs and £332 million could be generated in South West England.