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Surfers based in Cornwall, by habit staunch environmentalists, have found themselves lining up against Wave Hub, one of the UK's first wave power projects.

The installation is an experimental set up, being installed off the coast by local authorities and power companies.

It will be used to test and develop new technologies to harness the power of the oceans, helping the UK increase the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources and decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Ultimately, authorities say it will lead to a large terminal embedded in the sea bed connected to four wave-power generators and feeding into the national power grid.

But according to Reuters, local surfers are worried that the installation will drain their beloved waves of their power. One study cited by Reuters suggests that the worst affected area could see wave height reduced by as much as 11 per cent.

But opinion within the surfing community is divided. John Baxendale, an engineer and long-time surfer, likens the project to putting windmills up on golf courses.

"Imagine the uproar if golf courses were required to close two holes each in order to accommodate wind farms," he said.

On the other side of the fence is Alex Dick-Read, editor of Surfers Path magazine, who says the whole debate has been bad for the sport's image.

"There'd be no need for a Wave Hub if we harnessed the energy from this enormous storm in a teacup," he told the news service. ®

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