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£42 Million Wasted On Another Renewable Project

March 28, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


Another £42 million down the plughole!



A £42m wave energy project off the Cornish coast has yet to produce any electricity despite being up and running for eight years.

Wave Hub, an undersea electrical socket installed to test wave energy machines, has hosted just one device since 2010.

But it was not connected to the shore and one of the project’s two remaining potential customers has now pulled out.

Wave Hub said it was "disappointed" that energy firm Carnegie had decided to test its device in Australia.

Carnegie – an Australian company – was given £9.6m from the European Regional Development Fund to test its device.


Image copyright Wave Hub Image caption The only device to have been used at Wave Hub did not deliver any electricity back to shore

Wave Hub, based at Hayle in west Cornwall, said the wave energy business was "unfortunately taking longer to develop" than anticipated so it was "diversifying" and exploring options for testing floating wind turbines.

More news from Devon and Cornwall

The scheme was financed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (£12.5m), the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£20m) and the UK Government (£9.5m).

The authorities said at the time that it could generate £76m over 25 years for the regional economy.

MP for the area, George Eustice, said: "This is obviously disappointing news. Cornwall has a wave resource that is second to none, however the development of technologies to successfully harness wave energy has taken longer than hoped."

A total of four developers can connect a number of devices into the Wave Hub via the seabed socket, which then supply energy to the national grid.

Johnny Gowdy, from Regen South West, which promotes renewable energy systems, said floating wind turbines were a "great way of using the asset" and there was more money going into that technology than into wave power.

Wave Hub

Image copyright PA Image caption A total of four developers can connect their devices into the Wave Hub


In 2006, three companies were signed on for initial development but all pulled out.

The only other project in the pipeline at Wave Hub is from the American firm Gwave, but that deployment is not expected for several years.

No-one was available for immediate comment from Carnegie.

  1. Peter Murray. permalink
    March 28, 2018 10:17 am

    It seems our Government are happy to waste £millions on insane energy projects but can’t spend £50m on having our passports manufactured in the UK.
    As many observers have already suggested, they have no idea of what is the correct decision or any common sense.

  2. Sara Hall permalink
    March 28, 2018 10:53 am

    On a slightly smaller scale, yet enormously expensive for a small island with a population under 2000, the long running Alderney tidal scheme still fails to get off the seabed.
    Latest information I believe is that nothing will happen now until 2030, but “do please continue to fund this important and necessary project”!

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      March 28, 2018 5:21 pm

      Perhaps they could examine the Rance estuary tidal generator nearby in France.
      In the same area with big tidal ranges. 10-16 metres.
      In the eighteenth century the big tidal ranges in Brittany led to many tide mills being built as they were considered more reliable (predictable operating times) than windmills. If you cannot make something work with a 10 metre fall then give up.

  3. John Fuller permalink
    March 28, 2018 11:23 am

    MP for the area, George Eustice, said: “This is obviously disappointing news. Cornwall has a wave resource that is second to none..” No George, it is “none”!

    • A C Osborn permalink
      March 28, 2018 12:02 pm

      George is factually correct, the “resource” ie the Waves are still there.
      What is not there is the means to reliably and economically extract it’s energy.

      • John Fuller permalink
        March 28, 2018 12:55 pm

        Yes, the waves are there, they have energy, but it’s not a resource.

    • March 28, 2018 2:21 pm

      George should stick to things he knows a bit about, like farming (not the subsidy type). What would he say if wave energy took off and killed the Cornish surf industry, a major tourist attraction? I bet he hasn’t thought of the unintended consequences.

  4. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 28, 2018 11:31 am

    I just cannot udnerstand why public money is used for this. There is so much private money around that wants to invest in stuff, if a project cannot get that cash, then lots of sensible, incentivised people have had a look an said no. What makes politicians and civil servants think they know better?

    • Joe Public permalink
      March 28, 2018 12:50 pm

      “What makes politicians and civil servants think they know better?”

      Because they get paid to spend *other* peoples’ money.

      By the time the projects come to fruition & generally fail, the original proponents will generally have been promoted above their level of incompetence.

      • dave permalink
        March 28, 2018 7:12 pm

        “…over their level of incompetence.”

        EVEN FURTHER over their level of incompetence.

  5. March 28, 2018 1:22 pm

    Wave energy, carbon capture, hydrogen cars, magic batteries – you name it, as long as there’s a whiff of ‘climate’ in there somewhere, the UK can be guaranteed to throw money at it.

    Any results worth talking about? No.

  6. Roger Graves permalink
    March 28, 2018 1:54 pm

    Schemes like this were foreseen three centuries ago. In Gulliver’s Travels, published in 1726, we read in the Voyage to Laputa:

    “In these Colleges, the Professors contrive new Rules and Methods of Agriculture and Building, and new Instruments and Tools for all Trades and Manufacture, whereby, as they undertake, one Man shall do the Work of Ten; a Palace may be built in a Week, of Materials so durable as to last for ever without repairing. All the Fruits of the Earth shall come to Maturity at whatever Season we think fit to chuse, and increase an Hundred Fold more than they do at present; with innumerable other happy Proposals. The only Inconvenience is, that none of these Projects are yet brought to Perfection; and in the mean time, the whole Country lies miserably waste, the Houses in Ruins, and the People without Food or Cloaths.”

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

  7. Joe Public permalink
    March 28, 2018 1:58 pm

    No doubt many visitors here remember Salter’s Duck.

    In the days before it transmogrified into the purveyor of climate propaganda, Aunty’s Tomorrow’s World expected them to have solved today’s energy issues.

  8. Andrew permalink
    March 28, 2018 2:23 pm

    I went to a wave energy seminar quite a few years ago and we heard about lots of projects and research. The only one that appeared to have any chance of being commercially successful (or close enough to be subsidised into being) was Pelamis and that subsequently folded. There are too many problems and I’m certain it’s much less viable than wind which says it all. The other posts sum it up ‘politicians happily spending our money’.

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 28, 2018 7:07 pm

    Tomorrows World was full of wave power machines when I was at school – by now, you’d think someone would have worked out that they just don’t work!

  10. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 28, 2018 10:26 pm

    Seems like a £4 extension socket from ASDA would have been rather better value – not to mention rather more useful.

  11. Richard Phillips permalink
    March 29, 2018 9:28 am

    I have just added the Gulliver travel quote, to my list of quotes to be sent to MPs, Ministers and journalists, etc. as occasion arises. Wonderful!

    Richard Phillips

  12. Rowland H permalink
    March 29, 2018 11:35 am

    Sir John Cowperthwaite who was financial secretary of Hong Kong from 1951 to 1961 would be turning in his grave over the shear waste of government money which is being sprayed around willy nilly at pointless projects such as this. Firstly, he would have nothing to do with statistics and, secondly, he would refuse any request for subsidy for what would be a commercial project.

  13. March 29, 2018 11:52 am

    Who pays the decommissioning costs if it fails to attract any customers or proves uneconomic? (or at the end of its life)

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