MP Andrew George: Wave Hub needs government support
A pioneering project to harvest energy from the power of the waves off the Cornish coast must have continued government backing to succeed and grow, a local MP has said.
St Ives MP Andrew George today spoke about the £42m Wave Hub project in the House of Commons.
He congratulated the government on its support for the marine renewable sector so far but urged ministers to step up support for wave energy, including the North Cornwall site, which is the world's largest test site for wave energy technology, consisting of a grid-connected socket on the seabed ten miles out to sea from Hayle.
This morning, Mr George asked green energy minister, Greg Barker MP, to meet with him and industry representatives to discuss ways to drive forward the industry and the Wave Hub.
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Mr George said: "The sea is a fantastic source of free energy if the government can give the wave energy sector the boost it needs to properly trial commercial scale devices at the only commercial scale site in the world.
"This is an ambitious project but the long term dividends for energy security, the UK economy and the environment are massive."
Earlier this year, the first wave energy device was given approval to be deployed off the coast of Hayle later this year following the granting of a marine licence.
Cork-based Ocean Energy Ltd (OEL) was awarded a three-year licence by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
Wave Hub consists of a giant "socket" on the seabed connected to the National Grid by an underwater cable, into which wave energy devices can be "plugged" and tested.
Last month, the project came under fire when Mebyon Kernow member Rob Simmons wrote to business secretary Vince Cable saying progress on the energy project, unused since it was installed in 2010, was "lamentable".
Mr George added: "When we have a potential clean green source of power and the infrastructure to exploit it through Cornwall's Wave Hub, it's important to have full ministerial backing to help the industry evolve. It could make a massive contribution to the UK's commitment to cut carbon emissions and boost jobs in the green economy."
Claire Gibson, Wave Hub general manager, said: "We are grateful to Andrew George for raising this issue with the minister as the wave energy industry is keen to explore what potential support may be available to accelerate its commercialisation given the recent government support announced for the tidal sector.
"We have offered to help Andrew pull together a representative industry group that can meet with the minister and brief him about some of the challenges the industry faces, and to suggest some potential solutions."