When first completed the hub will provide 20 megawatts of power
Engineers working on the wave hub energy project in west Cornwall have begun drilling into sand dunes at Hayle.
The £42m scheme was given the go-ahead in July after funding was announced.
Devices floating on the sea will transfer energy to a huge socket on the seabed 10 miles (16km) off Hayle.
The two-week drilling operation will create a 200m duct for a cable that will come ashore and be linked to the national grid.
The wave hub will be the world's largest test site for wave energy technology.
Guy Lavender, the project's recently appointed general manager who takes up his post in January, said: "This is a crucial part of our shoreside works and means we'll be ready to receive the cable connecting the wave hub to the shore when it is laid next summer.
"We want south-west England to be a world leader in the development of marine renewables, an industry which could be worth £2bn a year to the UK by 2050.
"With world leaders meeting in Copenhagen next week to discuss climate change the wave hub is a tangible example of a project that could have a global impact on reducing carbon emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels."
An animated sequence shows how wave will be turned into electricity
Funding for the the sea-powered electricity generator includes £20m from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme, £12.5m from the Regional Development Agency (RDA) and £9.5m from the UK government.
It is expected to be operational in 2011 and could create more than 1,800 jobs, the RDA said.
When completed it will have an initial maximum capacity of 20 megawatts, enough electricity to power about 7,000 homes but has been designed with the potential to scale up to 50 megawatts.
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