The company planning to install the first wave energy device at Wave Hub near Hayle has applied for a marine licence for the deployment.

Cork-based Ocean Energy has asked the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for permission to deploy its €9 million OE Buoy wave energy converter at Wave Hub, around 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall in South West England.

The one megawatt device weighs 650-tonnes. OEL is in discussions with local supply chain companies about support with fabrication and deployment, and hopes to operate from the newly refurbished North Quay in Hayle Harbour.

Claire Gibson, general manager at Wave Hub, which is the world’s largest grid-connected offshore marine energy test site, said: “Ocean Energy’s application for a marine licence marks a significant milestone for us and is a further important step towards a full scale device deployment at Wave Hub.”

John McCarthy, chief executive and co-founder of Ocean Energy said: “Having completed successful trials of a scale device for over three years in Galway Bay we are keen to progress to a full size prototype at a grid connected site. Wave Hub gives us the infrastructure and conditions we need to achieve this and it is an excellent accelerant for our commercialisation.”

The application comes as two independent reports recently confirmed the huge potential for wave energy in the South West. Studies by The Crown Estate and Carbon Trust found significant offshore resource that could potentially power tens of thousands of homes if harnessed economically.

The reports are expected to inform future licensing rounds for the commercial development of marine renewables.

Ocean Energy already has MMO consent to carry out anchor trials at the Wave Hub site. These will get underway if the full consent is granted and test whether the proposed anchoring system is suitable for the location. A decision on the consent is expected by the end of the year.

Ocean Energy is participating in this project with its technology partner Dresser-Rand, the largest service provider in the oil and gas industry. The OE Buoy weighs 650 tonnes, is 37.5 metres long, 18 metres wide and has a draft of 8.75 metres.