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Displaying items by tag: 2011

#LIGHTHOUSES - Loop Head Lighthouse in Co Clare, is set to re-open to the public later this year following a successful trial scheme last summer.

As The Irish Times reports, Clare County Council opened the lighthouse for an 11-week trial period last July with the support of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Shannon Development and Loop Head Tourism.

Some 17,000 people took up the invitation to visit the 23-metre beacon, which is still in use as a navigational aid, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The consortium is now looking for consultants to help expand tourism the facility with an exhibition and interpretation plan.

Published in Lighthouses

#ANGLING - The Irish Specimen Fish Committee's annual report for 2011 features catch details for 587 specimen fish as well as four new records, according to The Irish Times.

The report comes ahead of the committee's annual awards event at the Red Cow Moran Hotel in Dublin on Saturday 3 March, recogising those anglers who work hard to catch and record the biggest fish of each of Ireland's species.

Those in line for awards include Terry Jackson, who caught a 2.1kh roach/rudd hybrid in the River Lagan; Dutchman Jan Vrieswijk who landed a 1.33kh blackmouth dogfish in Red Bay, Co Antrim; and Noel Lane for his 2.83kg thin-lipped mullet from Cork Harbour.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#MCIB - The decision to set out in poor weather, coupled with limited safety instruction, led to the tragic death of a Romanian angler on Lough Mask last summer, according to a report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Mircea Ungur drowned after the angling boat he was in capsized in choppy waters brought on by squalling Force 8 winds on the afternoon of 8 May 2011.

Ungur had a tracheostomy tube in his throat resulting from a previous battle against throat cancer, and drowned after taking in water through this tube, the MCIB concluded. It was also found that most of his companions and the guide knew nothing about the tube.

At the time of the incident, Ungur had been on an angling holiday in Co Mayo with five colleagues accompanied by a fishing guide. On the morning of 8 May the group set out from Cappaduff in Tourmakeady on two boats, following a brief discussion about fishing and safe departure from the pier.

Winds were already reaching Force 4-6 when the group departed and sought a sheltered area of the lough to fish. After lunch winds had picked up to Force 8 and the guide signalled for a return to Tourmakeady.

At around 1.5km from the pier at Cappaduff, a wave swamped the leading boat that contained Ungur, a companion and the guide. All three on board, who were wearing buoyancy aids, went into the water.

Ungur was the first taken on board the other boat after some 10 minutes in the water. He was not moving or communicating with the others, and CPR was not administered until the boat reached the shore 20 minutes later. Ungur was pronouced dead just before 3pm.

The report concluded that the group had departed despite reservations among them about the poor weather, which had been correctly forecast that day. There was also little discussion with the anglers about their level of boating experience, the weather, or any disabilities that would affect their safety on the water.

The MCIB recommended that a full safety briefing should be given to all those hiring angling boats. It also urged the enforcement of safety regulations and certification for recreational water craft.

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says 2011 was a record year for whale and dolphin strandings, according to The Irish Times.

IWDG co-ordinator Dr Simon Berrow confirmed a total of 160 strandings reported by year's end.

"This is by far the highest total for the number of stranding records and the third highest total for sighting records since the IWDG recording schemes were established in 1991," he said.

The 2011 record compares to a figure of 92 stranded cetaceans in 2010 - a number much lower than previous years.

Dr Berrow explained to BBC News: "The figures for 2010 were very low, and, we think, this was due to the easterly winds that year. But now we are back up to the kind of level we expect."

Stranding records in 2011 were characterised by a very high peak of common dolphin strandings during February and a high number of porpoise strandings during the winter.

Meanwhile, Dr Berrow considered the latest sightings record "very impressive" given the exceptionally poor sea conditions during autumn and winter.

More than 1,500 whale and dolphin sightings were made in 2011 around the entire coastline of Ireland despite the bad weather.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#WEATHER - Those hardy Yuletide bathers at the Forty Foot in Dublin didn't need to be so brave this year, as Ireland experienced one of the warmest Christmas Days on record.

Just one year ago Ireland was in the grip of a deep freeze. But as the Irish Independent reports, temperatures on Sunday last rose to as much as 14.4 degrees in Co Cork.

It's been almost a decade since late December temperatures reached such levels, when Christmas in 2002 saw highs of 14.6 degrees according to Met Éireann records.

Sunny spells on the east coast brought out the polar bear plungers to Sandymount and the Grand Canal as well as the famous Forty Foot bathing spot in Sandycove.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Forty Foot Swimming

#POWER FROM THE SEA - Irish oil and gas firm Providence Resources has been awarded a licence to explore near Dalkey Island, the Irish Independent reports.

The standard licence issued by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources lasts for up to six years, split into two three-year phases.

Providence hopes to drill at least one well during the initial phase in the Kish Bank Basin, where previous exploration drilling confirmed the presence of oil suitable for petroleum production.

The group is also applying for a foreshore licence for the purpose of well site surveys and drilling operations.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Providence Resources is one of the 12 companies that were awarded 13 Licensing Options between them in the 2011 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea
#KITESURFING - Irish kitesurfing's Mulranny Crew have had their best clips for 2011 compiled on YouTube.
The freestyle crew, based in the West of Ireland, describe themselves as "group of enthusiastic local riders, who try to push themselves harder every time they hit the water."
The group includes Neil McKenna, Kevin Cowley, Rory Stoney, Padraic Doherty, Nick Isherwood, Gavin Hughes, Fionn Wandel Brannigan and Barry Grogan.
See the Mulranny Crew in action on YouTube HERE.

#KITESURFING - Irish kitesurfing's Mulranny Crew have had their best clips for 2011 compiled on YouTube.

The freestyle crew, based in the West of Ireland, describe themselves as "group of enthusiastic local riders, who try to push themselves harder every time they hit the water."

The group includes Neil McKenna, Kevin Cowley, Rory Stoney, Padraic Doherty, Nick Isherwood, Gavin Hughes, Fionn Wandel Brannigan and Barry Grogan.

See the Mulranny Crew in action on YouTube below:

Published in Kitesurfing
#SURFING - Irish surfing ace Easkey Britton sat down with Cooler magazine to chat about her "whirlwind" last few months.
Britton, who comes from the highly regarded Donegal surfing dynasty, has spent much of this year jugging her studies towards a PhD in marine science with her training for the European Surfing Championships in her home county this past September.
"I don’t know how anyone survives their PhD without being able to jump in the sea and catch some waves," she says. "It clears my mind, renews my energy – the best ‘study breaks’ you can get. And I appreciate the sessions I have a lot more."
Now heading into winter, with the surf getting bigger every day, she's in training with tow partner Neil Britton for the second Tow-In Surf Session at Mullaghmore Head.
She says of last year's inaugural competition: "The conditions were unreal. Huge, clean, light winds, sunshine. A very rare combo. It was our first ever experience of something like that. The crowds covering the headland were massive, it felt like an amphitheater, or being a gladiator in the arena!"
Britton also talks about how her family has been a big inspiration to her both in her life and her accomplishments on the surfboard.
Cooler has more on the story HERE.

#SURFING - Irish surfing ace Easkey Britton sat down with Cooler magazine to chat about her "whirlwind" last few months.

Britton, who comes from the highly regarded Donegal surfing dynasty, has spent much of this year jugging her studies towards a PhD in marine science with her training for the European Surfing Championships in her home county this past September.

"I don’t know how anyone survives their PhD without being able to jump in the sea and catch some waves," she says. "It clears my mind, renews my energy – the best ‘study breaks’ you can get. And I appreciate the sessions I have a lot more."

Now heading into winter, with the surf getting bigger every day, she's in training with tow partner Neil Britton for the second Tow-In Surf Session at Mullaghmore Head.

She says of last year's inaugural competition: "The conditions were unreal. Huge, clean, light winds, sunshine. A very rare combo. It was our first ever experience of something like that. The crowds covering the headland were massive, it felt like an amphitheater, or being a gladiator in the arena!"

Britton also talks about how her family has been a big inspiration to her both in her life and her accomplishments on the surfboard.

Cooler has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Ireland's leading maritime histortian will be remembered during Conamara Sea Week, which starts next Friday.
The 10-day programme celebrating the west of Ireland's rich maritime heritage kicks off just two days after the centenary of the late Dr John de Courcy Ireland, who tirelessly documented Ireland's relationship with the sea in parallel with a distinguished career as a political activist.
According to The Irish Times, he will be remembered during a conference on 'The Sea as Inspiration' on Saturday 29 October in Letterfrack, Co Galway.
Education and arts are major themes of the maritime festival, which will also feature an exhibition of works from emerging artists.
For more details visit the website of the Conamara Environmental Educational and Cultural Centre at ceecc.org.

Ireland's leading maritime histortian will be remembered during Conamara Sea Week, which starts next Friday.

The 10-day programme celebrating the west of Ireland's rich maritime heritage kicks off just two days after the centenary of the late Dr John de Courcy Ireland, who tirelessly documented Ireland's relationship with the sea in parallel with a distinguished career as a political activist.

According to The Irish Times, he will be remembered during a conference on 'The Sea as Inspiration' on Saturday 29 October in Letterfrack, Co Galway.

Education and arts are major themes of the maritime festival, which will also feature an exhibition of works from emerging artists. 

For more details visit the website of the Conamara Environmental Educational and Cultural Centre at ceecc.org.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Team Portugal were crowned European Surfing Champions at the final day of Eurosurf 2011 in Bundoran yesterday.
It's the first time the Portuguese have held the title since 1997, which is also when the event was last hosted in the Co Donegal seaside town.
Portugal won three of the seven different categories, with two second-place finishes, one third place and one fourth.
Their surfers fought tooth and nail in a week of competition that was dominated by France, who made a bold statement of intent on the opening day by scoring eight out of the best 15 waves - and led the pack until the closing sessions.
Meanwhile Team Ireland did not finish too badly, placing a respectable sixth in the final tally.
Ashleigh Smith made the biggest mark, narrowly beaten into second place in the women's bodyboarding division by Portugal's Catarina Sousa.
“We’ve been delighted with how the week has gone for Eurosurf," said Eurosurf press officer Shane Smyth. "If we were to draw up a blueprint for a surf competition considering waves, weather and organisation we would have nailed it."
More details of results are available on the Eurosurf website HERE.

Team Portugal were crowned European Surfing Champions at the final day of Eurosurf 2011 in Bundoran yesterday.

It's the first time the Portuguese have held the title since 1997, which is also when the event was last hosted in the Co Donegal seaside town.

Portugal won three of the seven different categories, with two second-place finishes, one third place and one fourth.

Their surfers fought tooth and nail in a week of competition that was dominated by France, who made a bold statement of intent on the opening day by scoring eight out of the best 15 waves - and led the pack until the closing sessions.

Meanwhile Team Ireland did not finish too badly, placing a respectable sixth in the final tally.

Ashleigh Smith made the biggest mark for the Irish, being narrowly beaten into second place in the women's bodyboarding division by Portugal's Catarina Sousa.

“We’ve been delighted with how the week has gone for Eurosurf," said Eurosurf press officer Shane Smyth. "If we were to draw up a blueprint for a surf competition considering waves, weather and organisation we would have nailed it."

More details of results are available on the Eurosurf website HERE.

The BBC News website also has an image gallery of the week's action HERE.

Published in Surfing
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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