Three companies have been chosen to work on the innovative wave farm energy project off the coast of Cornwall.
The £15m Wave Hub project, backed by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), could see electricity generated within the next few years.
It will act as an offshore electrical "socket" connected to the national grid by an underwater cable.
Ocean Prospect Ltd, Fred. Olsen Ltd and Ocean Power Technologies will work with the SWRDA from next year.
The companies will connect wave energy devices to the hub, allowing them to carry out large-scale testing before going into commercial production.
Nick Harrington, the SWRDA's Wave Hub project manager, said: "All three have developed very different technologies and will form a core group with which we can move forward."
Sited about 10 miles (16km) out to sea off St Ives Bay, Wave Hub will have the potential to generate electricity for 14,000 homes and could create about 700 jobs by 2020.
The project has the backing of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), although official government consent still needs to be secured. Funding is also being sought to meet the £15m project costs.
Up to 10 Pelamis devices could be tested
Ocean Prospect's Pelamis device is a semi-submerged structure made up of hinged cylindrical sections.
A type of free-floating buoy will be the device used by Ocean Power Technologies. Similar devices are already sited off the coast of New Jersey and Hawaii.
Fred. Olson Ltd said its main objective was to produce a device which would generate electricity at a lower cost than offshore wind farms.
It will use a multiple point-absorber system to extract energy from the waves.
In August, researchers studying the height of waves and current strengths said the area off the north Cornish coast had huge potential, with waves reaching almost 20ft (6m).