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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Lough

The RS 400 Winter Series continued last Sunday at Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. The series is now twelve races in and has thrown up some surprises, twenty boats currently entered.

Race 10 started in a fresh breeze from the North, with 18 boats on the start line. Trevor D’Arcy and Alan McLearnon (on 1366) got a good start along with Liam Donnelly and Rick McCaig (on 1405) with the rest of the fleet in hot pursuit. Liam got to the windward mark first, however, by the end of the first lap D’Arcy had taken the lead followed by former Olympian Peter Kennedy and Steve Kane (on 1339) and Andrew Vaughan (on 1348) 3rd. At the race end D’Arcy held on and took the win, with Andrew Vaughan 2nd and coming up the outside Neil Calvin (on 1245) to take third. Incidentally, this was Barry McCartin’s old boat and after 9 races Neil had seemingly found its gears!!

Race 11 the wind had clocked slightly to the left, course-corrected, Race Officer Gerry Reid got the race away again sharply. This time the fleet was pushing the line, with 2 boats over Tom Purdon (on 1004) to be fair has been nailing the starts on the series, however on this race, he nailed it a bit to hard, found himself in the pack and struggled to get back to the line, but back to the line he went now following the whole fleet. Unfortunately for D’Arcy they pushed on believing they were having a terrific race. Liam Donnelly was once again first to the windward mark and first on lap one, followed by D’Arcy (OCS) and Ross & Jane Kearney now lying 2nd, and Peter Kennedy 3rd. By now Donnelly was going well with a comfortable lead right up to the last leeward mark were a spinnaker issue stopped them dead in the water allowing a few boats to pass on the short run-up to the line. Peter Kennedy took the win followed by Ross Kearney and Neil Calvin in third. Donnelly was robbed into 4th!

The breeze was still nice and steady-going into the third race of the day (race 12) possibly it was the extremely cold conditions that the entire fleet was keen to start, quickly followed by a General recall. Conditions didn't allow for a normal restart and the race got underway with a black flag start. They were all less keen this time around to push the line so aggressively as before. By now the wind started to drop yet once again Liam Donnelly was going well in a heavy pack making for the windward mark. By lap one Peter Kennedy had taken the lead, followed by Donnelly with Andrew Vaughan in third. In lap 2 the wind continued to lighten. But still over 7kns. By the finish, Neil Calvin had accelerated into the fist spot with PK in second and Tom Purdon third. It was deemed to cold for a fourth race as many of the crews were blue not to mention the Rescue and Committee boat teams!! Some credit has to be given to Neil Calvin who had a great day and has shown a huge improvement in his performance over the series so far.

The RS 400 Series continues for another three Sundays, finishing up on the 19th of December for the Big Christmas Race.

Download results below as a pdf file

Published in RS Sailing
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It’s been seven years since herring were landed in Bangor on Belfast Lough, but the Fairwind whose home port is Kilkeel on the Mourne coast in south Down, landed its catch in the harbour last week. The crew transferred the fish from the net to the boat by brailing.

Hand brailing is when fish are concentrated alongside the fishing vessel, and a brailing net is used to lift them aboard. The iron hoop of the brail net is first dipped into the net, drawn through the fish, and pulled up again.

It's been many years since herring have been landed in Bangor. The last time was in 2014 when a large fishing vessel with a refrigerated seawater system transferred herring ashore via a pump into road tankers.

"It’s good to see smaller vessels availing of herring quota and the traditional method of brailing being used to land"

“However,” says Harbour Master Kevin Baird “ It’s good to see smaller vessels availing of herring quota and the traditional method of brailing being used to land. There are herring shoals at this time of the year (winter herring) and sometimes they do come into Belfast Lough but are more usually caught in the seas off the Mournes”.

Herring was fished from harbours all along the Down coast with the Mourne ports of Kilkeel and Annalong emerging as key centres in the mid-19th century with Ardglass which had first developed as a fish harbour in the Middle Ages, becoming a herring poet then as well.

Published in Belfast Lough
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Davaar is the conspicuous island at the entrance to Campbeltown Loch on Scotland's Mull of Kintyre, so it was entirely logical that when the local shipping company began to augment their fleet with steamships, the best-known became the Royal Mail vessel Davaar. She was the pride of the fleet and of Campbeltown, but around midday on June 6th 1895, as the morning's thick fog began to lift, the small but well-established maritime community of Groomsport on the south shore of Belfast Lough looked out beyond the low and rocky little Cockle Island which shelters their boats, and found that they seemed to have acquired Davaar.

Had it been the eponymous island, the improvement to the overall shelter of the drying harbour at Groomsport would have been such that it might have been long-since been developed to outperform nearby Bangor. But it was the ship they'd temporarily acquired, and as sailors themselves, the people of Groomsport were entirely in sympathy with the crew of RMS Davaar, as her passenger list seemed to include just about everyone from Cambeltown, all of them - until the impact - happily involved in a much-heralded one-day community holiday outing across the North Channel to Belfast.

Fortunately, they built ships tough in those days. Though the photo by Robert Welch (later to become renowned as the visual recorder of the building of the Titanic) clearly shows that the overall hull structure of the Davaar was undergoing quite severe stress as the tide ebbed, she survived relatively undamaged, while no-one was injured in any way And subsequently – looking as good as new – she continued in the configuration shown here for many years of service under her popular commander, Captain Thomas Muir, who'd been in charge at Groomsport but was later exonerated by an official enquiry.

In fact, Davaar had been so well built that she finished her long life with a newly-fashionable straight stem and just one funnel. But never again did she come a-visiting at Groomsport.

Published in Historic Boats

Artemis Technologies, founded in 2017, is the lead partner in the Belfast Maritime Consortium, a 13-member syndicate working on designing and building zero-emission high-speed ferries in the city through the creation of its unique electric hydrofoiling propulsion system, which is set to revolutionise the maritime industry.

Artemis Technologies, which is based in Belfast Harbour, is set to showcase its innovative sustainable technologies and products at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. It will unveil a scale model of the company's advanced high-speed zero-emission workboat, to be launched next year. The company aims to lead the decarbonisation of the maritime sector through the development of innovative and sustainable technologies and products.

Replica scale models of the Artemis eFoilerTM propelled vessel will be exhibited in the public Green Zone at the Glasgow Science Museum and the International Maritime Hub at the City of Glasgow College's Riverside Campus.

CEO and founder of Artemis Technologies, Dr Iain Percy OBE, said: "Our mission is to lead the decarbonisation of maritime, and we are proud to be playing a part in helping the UK reach its sustainability targets. As we continue to make strides towards a net-zero future for the marine industry across the globe, we are excited to showcase examples of our ground-breaking designs and technologies at the COP26 summit. We welcome the opportunity to provide greater insight into the important work we do at Artemis Technologies and look forward to contributing to the wider conversation on climate action and the green recovery."

Dr Iain Percy OBE will also contribute to an expert panel session as part of 'Get Set for Workboat 2050' in association with the Workboat Association.

World leaders will arrive in Scotland for the summit itself, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives and businesses for 12 days of talks.

Published in Belfast Lough

Ballymacormick Beach on the eastern side of Ballyholme Bay on Belfast Lough will see next Saturday (23rd), the first-ever windsurfing event hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club when the Ulster Championships competitors will take to the water.

There will be eleven races for three fleets – Gold, Silver and Bronze/Novice, in six subdivisions from Junior to Super Veteran.

The Club will have exclusive use of the Banks Car Park off Groomsport Road, and the welcome and briefing is scheduled for 1000 at that location.

The NOR is downloadable here 

Entries should be made in advance through the BYC website, and online pre-entry closes at 1200 on Thursday 21st October 2021.

BYC Commodore Aidan Pounder is enthusiastic about the event; "We have had great support from the Irish Windsurfing Association, and it is hoped that in 2022 we can host an IWA ranked event. The Club looks forward to welcoming windsurfers from all over Ireland to the Bay next Saturday".

Published in Belfast Lough

After a hiatus of two years, Northern Ireland's RS400 Winter series is back. The Belfast Lough sailing event will kick off on Sunday 31st October for eight consecutive weeks up to 19th December.

This event was the last run in 2019 before the Covid pandemic paused things; at that point, it was a well-supported winter event with a regular 18 boats on the start line and an extensive fleet turnout for the last day, known as the Christmas Race.

The series draws boats and very talented sailors from all over the country, with some boats travelling from Dublin.

Race Officer Gerry Reid told Afloat, "A typical Sunday race will consist of three quick-fire races of about 20 minutes each. We remember that it gets cold for the competitors and the event team, so we don't hang about. This all came about back in 2007 when a few 400' guys approached the Club and asked about a few races around Halloween; this developed into its present guise of three races per day over eight weekends the numbers just built. We are delighted to get this event going again."

Racing can be watched from the shore at Cultra, starting at 1.30 Sunday 31st October.

Published in Belfast Lough
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What started off as a challenge in Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club on Belfast Lough by Gordon Patterson's Sigma 362, Fanciulla, a heavy 36-footer, to Gavin Vaughan's new Jeanneau 349, a 34-foot light displacement boat, in a race to Glenarm which lies on the east County Antrim coast about 25 miles north of Belfast Lough, became an event in itself. As it turned out, the winner was David Eccles' Sigma 33 Mungo Jerrie.

As the idea took hold, it was opened up to other cruisers in the club. On a misty low visibility Saturday morning last weekend (18th September), the atmosphere was only broken by the occasional foghorn, seven yachts usually berthed in marinas, and had gathered on the club moorings at Cultra the night before, readied for a start.

Some of the fleet on their way to Glenarm after the Belfast Lough startSome of the fleet on their way to Glenarm after the Belfast Lough start

The fleet ranged in length from 25 to 46 feet, and luckily, minutes before the start, a gentle breeze cleared the mist, and spectators ashore were able to watch the first offshore keelboat start at the Club since 1981.

May 1928 had seen the inauguration of the North Channel Race between RNIYC and the Clyde Cruising Club. This event had graced the fixture list for the next 53 years (apart from the war years) until eventually becoming part of the highly competitive NIOPS (Northern Ireland Offshore Points Series). After that, many of the Royal North cruising fraternity took part in Cruise in Company events on an ad hoc basis to such places as Glenarm, Rathlin Island, Campbelltown or Portpatrick. This year's event was planned to encompass the racing and cruising aspirations of the club's growing class of large keelboats.

The Glenarm Sailing Challenge's Denis Todd (left)) presents the trophy to David EcclesThe Glenarm Sailing Challenge's Denis Todd (left)) presents the trophy to David Eccles

David Eccles Sigma 33 Mungo Jerrie was first across the start line, followed by Alikadoo (Nigel Kearney) and Pegasus (Jonathan Park). The minimal breeze meant that progress was painfully slow to the mouth of the Lough before a more reliable southerly breeze filled in, filling the spinnakers. Several boats lost the competitive spirit and instead enjoyed the spectacular views of the Gobbins coastal path and Island Magee under engine before hoisting their sails again in the gradually strengthening winds. By late afternoon all had arrived in Glenarm.

Among the first to arrive were Charles Kearney's Maticoco, followed by Pegasus and Alikadoo. A Capella of Belfast (Julian & Patricia Morgan) was next to across, closely followed by Mungo Jerrie, the first to have sailed the entire course.
Fanciuilla (Gordon Patterson), the only other boat to have sailed the entire course, was next to finish, and then Gavin Vaughen's Toucan 6 completed the list of those who had started in the morning mists of Belfast Lough.

The Glenarm Chalenge fleet in Glenarm MarinaSome of the Glenarm Challenge fleet at Glenarm Marina

Afterwards, the party adjourned to The Bridge Inn in Glenarm to finish the evening. A steady westerly breeze allowed all boats to return to Belfast Lough the following day, determined to do it all again next year.

Gordon Patterson had said before the event, "the perpetual Cup will be named in honour of whoever wins between us on scratch handicap. Gavin would be the favourite as he would normally give the Sigma a little under two mins an hour, but if conditions are favourable, we are confident". As it turned out, the Sigma took the honours.

Published in Belfast Lough

A study, led by high-performance maritime design and applied technologies company Artemis Technologies based on Belfast Lough has been awarded £533,000 to investigate transformative solutions to decarbonise crew transfer vessel (CTV) operations in the offshore wind sector.

The grant, announced at London International Shipping Week, has been awarded as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

Artemis Technologies is partnering with Tidal Transit, an experienced CTV owner and operator; ORE Catapult, a research technology organisation specialising in the offshore renewables sector; and Lloyd’s Register, a globally respected maritime classification society.

It will seek to demonstrate the transformative power of the revolutionary Artemis eFoilerTM electric propulsion system to drive down carbon emissions in global CTV operations.

Dr Iain Percy OBE, CEO at Artemis Technologies said: “Operating for an average of 250 days a year, crew transfer vessels burn around 1,500 litres of diesel a day. Equating to almost 475,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions across the UK and EU annually, they are a major pollutant.

“With global offshore wind capacity set to soar over the coming decades, including the UK government targeting a four-fold increase by 2030, it is imperative that a solution to decarbonise CTV operations is brought to market quickly.

“We are pleased to be leading this project alongside a number of expert partners. Working together, industry can create the disruptive solutions required to enable the decarbonisation of CTV operations in line with global goals to reduce CO2 emissions.”

The study will use digital twin technology and include a full mission simulation of an eFoilerTM propelled CTV undertaking crew transfer operations, as well as provide a regulatory roadmap towards certification of the technology.

Leo Hambro, Commercial Director, Tidal Transit added: “We are very excited to be working with Artemis Technologies on this game-changing CTV design change. As a green industry, we need to find a way to utilise the vast quantity of cheap zero-carbon electricity produced by our clients and shift away from our reliance on diesel. The eFoiler aims to deliver an electric solution that would work even at the most far from shore projects over time and will revolutionise the industry.”

Additionally, the companies are partnering on a £2.8m project led by MJM Power which will test an on-turbine electrical vessel charging system.

Artemis Technologies is also part of the Northern Ireland Green Seas consortium, led by Power NI, which is receiving £398,000 in funding to investigate shore power and hydrogen bunkering solutions.

Announced in March 2020, and part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to position the UK at the forefront of green shipbuilding and maritime technology, the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is a £20m investment from government alongside a further £10m from industry to reduce emissions from the maritime sector.

The programme is supporting 55 projects across the UK, including projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and from the south-west to the north-east of England.

Published in Belfast Lough

The Fairy class from the Royal North of Ireland fleet at Cultra on Belfast Lough and the River class-based at Strangford Lough YC have raced since 1960 for a special trophy called the Friver Cup.

The Rivers, designed by Alfred Mylne, celebrated their Centenary last year and the Fairy Class was designed by Linton Hope in 1902 for the then-new Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra on Belfast Lough.

The River Class hosted this year's event, and the boats used were Quoile, Faughan, Roe, Glynn, Strule and Lackagh. Representing the Rivers were Class Captain John McVea, James Nixon and Jack Irwin, and the Fairy class helms were Class Captain David Carlisle along with Jamie Hume and Leah McLeave.

Last Sunday (22nd), the River Class claimed back the Cup from the Fairy Class, sailing two races on windward-leeward courses. The first race saw the Fairy Class ahead on 10 points, to 11 points for the Rivers, and in the second race, the Rivers performed better with eight points to 13 for the Fairy Class. The River Class achieved a 1st, 2nd and a 5th.

Friver Cup (from left) John McVea (River class captain and David Carlisle Fairy class captainFriver Cup (from left) John McVea (River class captain and David Carlisle Fairy class captain

SLYC Commodore Henry Anstey was Race Officer.

Published in Belfast Lough

That's the thing about an unstable weather system – testing conditions in Belfast Lough, which threatened the race programme for the Irish Topper Championships this weekend.

Hosted by Carrickfergus Sailing Club on the north shore of Belfast Lough over three days - Friday 20th till Sunday 22nd, the event was sponsored by commercial property consultants Osborne King and supported by Mid and East Antrim Council. Over those three days, the 56 competitors in two fleets of 4.2 and 5.3 had moderate winds but an awkward chop on the Friday, persistent rain and a gusty 18-knot breeze yesterday and hardly any wind for a time on the final day. The principal Race Officer was Sheela Lewis from County Antrim, BC.

But patience paid off in the end and the breeze filled in enough from the north to run two races yesterday (22nd) to complete a nine-race event.

In the 10 boats 4.2 fleet it was Tom Driscoll of Royal North at Cultra and Ballyholme, on the south side of Belfast Lough and Callum Pollard of County Antrim YC, a few miles east of Carrickfergus, who topped the table in that order, with scores never below a 5th, which were the discards in both cases. Finishing with a flourish and a first place was local girl Chloe Craig assuring her of third overall.

Toppers prepare to launch at Carrickfergus's new slipwayToppers prepare to launch at Carrickfergus's new slipway

There were 56 competitors in two Topper fleets of 4.2 and 5.3There were 56 competitors in two Topper fleets of 4.2 and 5.3

Top of the 46 strong 5.3 fleet was Daniel Palmer of Ballyholme, and he finished 5 points ahead of runner up Bobby Driscoll of Royal North and Ballyholme. Up until the final race yesterday, Palmer never dropped below third, but a big fall to 16th in that race meant he needs to discard a 16. The long journey north for the Royal Cork pair, Liam Duggan and Rian Collins paid off as they took third and fourth. And it also did for Julie O'Neill from Royal Cork, who won the overall female prize having finished sixth in the 5.3 fleet.

Tom Driscoll, Irish Topper Championships 4.2 winnerTom Driscoll, Irish Topper Championships 4.2 winner

Joining the local Northern Ireland Toppers were visitors from as far away as Waterford Harbour, Malahide, Howth, Cork and Wexford. Also on the water were safety boats supplied by saferwaters.org. This is a not-for-profit service in Northern Ireland, established in 2020 to provide a Safety Boat service for water-based community events such as sailing, swimming, paddle boarding and windsurfing, which may not have safety cover of their own or may need additional resources.

Assistant Race Officer Gavin Pollard was very pleased with how the event turned out; "Despite the challenging range of wind conditions over the three days, the championship ran very well with all races upheld with minimal recall!"

Published in Topper
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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.

©Afloat 2020

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