A pioneering project to harness wave power off the coast of north Cornwall is being monitored by scientists around the world.
The Wave Hub would act as an offshore 'socket'
A state-of-the-art energy buoy is being launched 12 miles off St Ives by the Renewable Energy Agency for the South West (Regen SW) on Friday.
The £70,000 buoy will record wave activity and measure wave power.
Regen SW has been awarded £195,000 from the npower Juice fund, which supports renewable energy technologies.
The project is designed to speed up the installation of one the world's first wave farms, which could be in place within three years off the north Cornwall coast.
The area is being investigated by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) as a possible site for the creation of a Wave Hub.
This would act as an offshore electrical "socket" connected to the national grid by an underwater cable.
The government wants the UK to be producing 10% of its energy needs from renewable resources by 2010, and the region has been told it must find room for 280 wind turbines to meet energy targets.
Energy Minister Mike O'Brien says the Juice fund award is a welcome boost for the marine renewables industry.
"With our engineering skills and experience we have the potential to be a world leader in this field and capitalise on new industry and jobs," he said.
The Wave Hub would be the UK's first large-scale wave energy project, allowing manufacturers to carry out tests before going ahead with the development of commercial projects.
Matthew Spencer, chief executive of Regen SW said: "We're very aware of the great wave resource we've got off the South West coast, but with the help of this buoy we'll be able to provide companies with accurate measurements from the sea."