I am writing to you to plead for action over Wave Hub and to question why it has taken so long for anything to actually happen with the project. Cornwall has been at the forefront of industrial development over the centuries and we take pride in our excellence in engineering and innovation. As such the Wavehub project off the coast of Hayle was widely welcomed here in West Cornwall. In the past we were at the cutting edge of the last industrial revolution and everyone welcomed the idea we'd be again at the cutting energy of another revolution this time in renewable energy. However unlike Cornwall in the industrial revolution, Wavehub has stalled.
Over a year ago (22/12/2011) the ownership and management of Wavehub was centralised to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The press releases and headlines proudly proclaimed that the 'Future of Wavehub was Secured'. Considering Wavehub itself was ready and awaiting users over a year before that, many people in Cornwall are questioning what exactly is the future of Wave Hub, what exactly have we secured? If you're unaware of what Wavehub exactly is, it is a pioneering test project for wave and tidal energy projects to trial new technologies. Elsewhere wave and tidal energy is already being harnessed, technologies have moved from the developmental stage to the operational stage. With this in mind it is lamentable that the Wavehub project has seen little actual progress in finding users.
I do welcome some progress with the Irish firm Ocean Energy Limited engaging with the project later this year. It is good news, but even when they are using Wavehub they will only use one of the four berths and only 1 megawatt of the 20 megawatt potential. I urge that there is some concerted action to utilitise the potential of this multi-million pound technology, not only for the sake of itself but also for the local area. People were struggling to get decent jobs here before the economic downturn and the onset of austerity, now it is worse. With this in mind it is disappointing that this huge investment has not yielded any substantial amount of long term jobs. Finding users for Wavehub would provide jobs for people in West Cornwall and it would also provide a great example of how Cornwall is at the forefront of green energy, provide optimism for both this growing sector and the Cornish economy generally.
So I ask of you, can you provide me (and the people of Cornwall) an update on progress with this project?
Can you provide justification that having the management of Wave Hub centralised in London, is to the benefit of the project and the taxpayer?
Whether the department has considered grants or funding to assist other users getting hooked up to Wavehub?