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Rowing clubs along the Shannon have been badly affected by high water levels. Carrick on Shannon and Athlone have both been hit, while Castleconnell is flooded. This came despite pumping. The gym equipment had been moved out and the boats are stored higher up the bank.

This ESB at Ardnacrusha stated: “Due to heavy rainfall in the catchment we will be increasing discharge from Parteen Weir. You are being notified that water is about to be discharged above 325 m3/sec. This will result in flooding of roads, land and may affect property. You are advised to be aware of increased flows in the river as a result of this water discharge. Further increases in discharge may be required. Approx. 400 m3/sec will be discharged.”

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Denis Crowley of Commercial brought his tally of wins to a remarkable six after three days at the World Masters Regatta in Budapest. In just one day, the 57-year-old won in the coxless four and twice in the single sculls – in the C class (43 years or more) and the E class for 55 or more. The decision to form composite crews again paid off for the Irish, with wins in the C eight and the D coxed four, along with Crowley’s haul.

World Masters Regatta, Budapest, (Selected Results, Irish interest, winners)

Friday

Men

Eight

(C – 43 or more): Heat Four: Commercial, Cork, Neptune, Clonmel, Shannon, Galway, Castleconnell (B Crean, B Smyth, R Carroll, O McGrath, G O’Neill, P Fowler, B O’Shaughnessy, K McDonald; cox: M McGlynn) 3:09.75.

Four

(E – 55 or more) Heat Five: Commercial, Neptune, Belfast BC, Galway (D Crowley, G Murphy, C Hunter, A McCallion)

Four, coxed

(D – 50 or more) Heat 3: Galway, Neptune, Castleconnell, Clonmel (G O’Neill, O McGrath, B O’Shaughnessy, T Dunn; cox: M McGlynn) 3:35.89.

Sculling, Single

(C - 43 or more) Heat 19: Commercial (D Crowley) 3:49.92.

(E – 55 or more) Heat 8: Commercial (Crowley)

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Commercial won the men's eight in a close and exciting final race of Metropolitan Regatta at Blessington today. UCD and the Irish champions were neck and neck in the final stages, but UCD had the advantage until the sprint to the line, which Commercial won.

The concluding session of finals featured an even closer race.

In the women's four, two junior crews hit the line with just .297 of a second between them. Bann, on the far side of the course from the viewing area, saw their lead snatched away by Castleconnell.

Kenmare's Georgia O'Brien (20) won her singles sculls final with much more to spare, though the second placing gave Aoife Moloney of Commercial victory in the junior 18 rankings.

There were also big margins of victory for Lagan in the men's quadruple and Anna Liffey in the women's pair.

Shane Haugh and James O'Donovan won the men's double. Last weekend O'Donovan was part of the Ireland coxed four which took silver at the European Junior Championships.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Carlow’s Sadhbh Scully and Keara Egan won the junior 18 women’s double at Ghent regatta on Sunday – first of 18 competing crews. Castleconnell won the women’s junior 18 quadruple, another competitive event, with 10 crews completing the course. Both clubs did well over the two days, as did Three Castles, Methodist College, Belfast, Cork and Commercial, whose senior men’s eight took second on the Sunday.

Ghent Spring Regatta, Belgium (Selected Results; Irish interest):

Saturday

Men

Sculling, Quadruple: 3 Lagan Scullers. Junior: 5 Three Castles.

Double – Jun: 3 Three Castles (L Flynn, A Keogh)

Single – Jun: 5 Cork (P Beechinor) 7:41.32.

Women

Eight – Junior: 1 Commercial 7:25.17.

Four – Jun: 1 Castleconnell 7:32.0, 2 Commercial 7:37.27.

Pair - Senior: 2 Anna Liffey (C Dempsey, D Maguire). Under-23: Cork (J Duggan, C O’Sullivan) 8:11.24. Junior: 1 Cork (J Duggan, C O’Sullivan) 7:59.94, 2 Castleconnell (L O’Brien, N Kiely) 8:04.33.

Sculling

Double – Junior: 5 Carlow.

Lightweight Single: 2 Skibbereen (O Hayes). Under-23: 1 Carlow (K Egan) 8:49.25. Junior: 6 Carlow (S Scully).  

Sunday

Men

Eight – Senior: 2 Commercial. Four, coxed- Jun 18: 2 Methodist College, Belfast. Junior 16: 2 Castleconnell.  

Sculling, Quadruple: 2 Three Castles.

Double – Jun 18: 4 Cork (Beechinor, M Cronin) 7:08.14.

Single – Under-23 Lightweight: 2 Castleconnell (B Frohburg). Jun 18: 3 Three Castles (Flynn), 5 Three Castles (Tiarnan McKnight), 6 Three Castles (Keogh).   

Women

Four – Jun: 1 Commercial 7:41.73, 2 Castleconnell.

Pair – Sen: 3 Anna Liffey (Dempsey, Maguire). Under-23: Cork (Duggan, O’Sullivan) 8:47.59. Jun: Cork (Duggan, O’Sullivan) 8:12.36, 3 Commercial.

Sculling, Quadruple – Jun 18: 1 Castleconnell 7:21.72. Jun 16: 3 Castleconnell, 4 Carlow.  

Double – Jun 18: 1 Carlow (Scully, Egan) 7:58.26.

Single – Lightweight: 2 Skibbereen (Hayes). Lwt U-23: 1 Carlow (Egan) 8:56.71. Jun 18: 3 Carlow (Scully); 5 Cork (H Gahan).

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Rory O’Neill and James O’Donovan of Castleconnell shared top billing in the men’s junior 18 rankings after the concluding stage of the Dirty Dozen Challenge. Eabha Benson of St Michael’s won the women’s junior 18 series. There were four rounds, beginning in October (three kilometres) and running through November (5k) and December and January (6k).  

CategoryShellRower(-s)Bow #PlaceCourse time
W J161XC. Leahy112100:14:50
W J161XJ. O'Brien (CCBC)110200:14:51
W J161XR. Hickey (Shannon Rowing Club)114300:15:00
W J161XC. Kiely (Castleconnell)1094th00:15:02
W J161XG. Fitzgerald (CCBC)1135th00:15:29
W J161XC. Ni Dhonabhain (SRC)111DNF
W J181X�. Benson (SMRC)76100:28:45
W J181XN. Kiely (Castleconnell BC)74200:29:04
W J181XC. KIRWAN (SMRC)75300:29:58
W J181XS. Gilmore (CCBC)774th00:30:00
W J181XS. Fitzgerald (TRC)785th00:31:05
W J181XC. Storan (SMRC)826th00:31:42
W J181XC. Kelly (Castleconnell BC)797th00:33:37
W J181XA. King (SMRC)818th00:33:48
W J181XH. Bradshaw (CCBC)809th00:34:12
W J181XO. Murphy (St Michaels)8410th00:34:47
W J181X�. Phillips (SMRC)8311th00:37:41
W J181XL. O'Brien (Castleconnell Boat Club)73DNF
W OPEN1XE. Redlichova (SMRC)85DNF
W U211XC. O'Brien (Castleconnell boat club)86100:28:37
W U231XS. Murphy (SMRC)87100:32:03
W U23 Lt Wt1XN. Hartney (SMRC)88100:29:34
W J162-F. Gleeson (Shannon rowing club)
A. Curtin (shannon rowing club)116100:13:38
W J162-E. McMahon (CCBC)
T. Mulready (Ccbc)117200:14:04
W J162-C. Gleeson (Shannon rowing club)
A. Caffrey (Shannon)115DNF
W J182-S. Byrnes (CCBC)
N. Silke (Castleconnell boat club)92100:27:44
W J182-E. Mcinerney (Smrc)
E. Murphy (SMRC)89200:28:15
W J182-A. Mckeon (Smrc)
M. O'Byrne (SMRC)93300:29:10
W J182-N. Jones (SMRC)
K. McGann (SMRC)944th00:30:51
W J182-S. Broggy (Athlunkard Boat Club)
M. Malone (Athlunkard Boat Club)905th00:31:08
M J161XP. Mcinerney (Smrc)105100:13:11
M J161XD. Foley (SMRC)103200:13:12
M J161XG. O'Donoghue (Shannon Rowing Club)97300:13:21
M J161XJ. Cunningham (Castleconnell)964th00:13:41
M J161XT. Byrne995th00:13:44
M J161XI. Byrne Delimata (Castleconnell)986th00:13:49
M J161XD. De Brun (SMRC)1047th00:13:59
M J161XN. Larkin Damm (Tralee Rowing CLUB)1028th00:14:47
M J161XS. Cunningham (CCBC)100DNF
M J161XC. Oconnell (Waterville lake rowing cl...)101DNF
M J181XR. O'Neill (Castleconnell)59100:25:39
M J181XJ. O Donovan (CCBC)57100:25:39
M J181XM. English (St Michaels Rowing Club)58300:26:59
M J181XJ. Scanlon France (ABC)604th00:32:50
M J18 Lt Wt1XB. France (St. Michaels)61100:28:22
M J18 Lt Wt1XC. Bowen (Castleconnell boat club)62200:29:03
M Master B1XR. Egan (Ccbc)63100:27:01
M Master C1Xc. Byrne (CCBC)64100:28:32
M OPEN1XD. O'Connor (St. Michael's Rowing...)50100:24:45
M U211XR. Spelman (Smrc)51100:25:23
M U211XC. Mulready (Castleconnel)52200:26:53
M U211XJ. Desmond (Caslteconnell)53300:28:16
M U211XA. King (Athlunkard Boat Club)54DNF
M U231XA. Lennon (St Michaels Rowing Club)55DNF
M J152-R. Lyons (Castleconnell)
A. SWEENEY (Ccbc)106100:13:22
M J162-E. Gilmartin (CCBC)
J. McGrath (CCBC)107100:12:48
M J162-P. Mcinerney (Smrc)
D. Hartney (SMRC)108200:13:28
M J182-R. O Gorman (St.Michaels Rowing Club)
D. Hartney (SMRC)69100:25:36
M J18 Lt Wt2-S. Fitzgerald (CCBC)
C. Nolan (Castleconnell)70100:26:50
M J18 Lt Wt2-C. Foster (SMRC)
C. Kemp (SMRC)72200:27:46
M J18 Lt Wt2-A. McFerran (CCBC)
E. Healy (Castleconnell Boat Club)71300:28:09
M Master B2-P. Williams (CCBC)
E. Meskell (CCBC)65100:26:05
M Master C2-k. mc donald
M. O'Callaghan (Shannon rowing club)66DNF
M U212-J. O Brien (Castleconnel Boat Club)
C. Feely (Castleconnel rowing club)67DNF
M U232-T. McKeon (St. Michael's rowing...)
J. Cuddy (SMRC)68100:24:31
Published in Rowing

#Rowing: UCC brought their title tally to three as they added the club coxed four to their club eights and intermediate single sculls pots at the Irish Rowing Championships today. The four was tested by four other crews coming to the line but broke free and won. The morning session on the Sunday was held in intermittent light rain.

Margaret Cremen won the women’s lightweight single sculls. The Lee woman looked dominant through much of the race, but as she approached the line she was hunted down by Orla Hayes of Skibbereen, who closed to just a few seconds on the line. Hayes’s clubmate, Aodhan Burns, left no doubts as to his intentions in the men’s lightweight single. He left the rest behind and won well.

The men’s intermediate pair gave Shandon a chance to demonstrate the depth of their talent pool. Stephen O’Sullivan and Colm Hennessy teamed up to win. The Castleconnell junior double of James Desmond and Rory O’Neill came under pressure from Lee in their win.

One of the closest races in the Championships so far came in the women’s intermediate four. Leaders Trinity were pipped on the line by Cork, whose winning margin was under a third of a second (.312).

Killorglin’s Anna Tyther and Rhiannon O’Donoghue gave Fermoy a test in the women’s junior pair. Gill McGirr and Eliza O’Reilly are an excellent crew, however, and held off their Kerry rivals.

Irish Rowing Championships, Day Three (Selected Results)

Men

Four – Club, coxed: UCC A 6:38.03.

Pair – Inter: Shandon A 6:56.07.

Sculling, Double – Junior: Castleconnell (R O’Neill, J Desmond) 6:49.97.

Lightweight Single: Skibbereen (A Burns) 7:20.56.

Women

Four – Inter, coxed: Cork 7:22.36.

Pair – Junior: Fermoy (E O’Reilly, G McGirr) 7:48.69.

Sculling, Lightweight Single: 1 Lee (M Cremen) 8:06.97.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Commercial finished second to Leander in the men’s Championship Eights at London Metropolitan Regattta at Dorney Lake today. It was one of a string of good results for Irish clubs. NUIG and Tribesmen shone and teamed up to win the women’s Championship coxed four. UCC – who took second in the Championship single sculls through Ronan Byrne – also excelled. Trinity, the University of Limerick, Shandon and Castleconnell also had wins. 

London Metropolitan Regatta, Dorney Lake (Irish interest; selected results, winners unless stated)

Men

Eight – Championship: 1 Leander 5:49.90, 2 Commercial 5:52.74.

Four – Championship: 3 Commercial 6:12.20. Tier Two: Shandon.

Four, coxed – Tier Three: Tribesmen 6:32.26. Academic, Tier Two: NUIG.

Pair – Tier Two: UCC 7:14.93.

Double Sculls – Championship: 2 UCC (R Byrne, H Sutton) 6:32.50. Tier Two: Castleconnell 6:42.50.

Single Sculls – Championship: 2 UCC (R Byrne) 7:03.99. Tier Two: Univ of Limerick (K Mannix) 7:18.36. Tier Three: St Michael’s (D O’Connor).

Women

Eight – Club, Tier Two: NUIG/Tribesmen 6:50.64. Academic, Tier Two: Trinity 6:57.77.

Four – Academic, Tier Two: Trinity 7:08.62.

Four, coxed – Championship: NUIG/Tribesmen 7:20.88. Tier Four: Univ of Limerick.

Pair – Championship: 2 Commercial (H O’Neill, R Morris) 7:46.57. Tier Two: NUIG 7:39.84.

Double Sculls – Championship: 3 London/Skibbereen (M Jackson, N Long) 7:28.48.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Castleconnell won the award as best junior club at Ghent International Regatta today. Their boys and girls reeled off a set of impressive results over the two days: on Sunday, the women’s junior pair won, while there were second places for the junior men’s four, pair and double and the junior women’s quadruple, which took on international-class Belgian opposition. The women’s under-23 double also won.  

 Saturday had been good for a number of Ireland clubs. Forty-one crews competed in the men’s junior single sculls – and Irish crews filled the first two places. Jack Butler of King’s Hospital won, with Rory O’Neill of Castleconnell just two seconds slower. The Castleconnell junior men’s four won and their women’s junior double of Niamh Kiely and Lauren O’Brien took second amongst 51 crews which competed.  

 Over the two days, other Irish crews to record wins included Skibbereen – which won both the women’s senior pair and the men’s junior 16 quadruple – and Commercial, which on Saturday won the junior women’s pair through Aoife Molony and Grace Healy and the junior women’s eight.

 At Lee Regatta on Saturday, Shandon won the junior men’s 18 eight and Cork the women’s junior 18 eights.

Ghent International May Regatta (Irish interest, selected results)

Saturday

­Men

Four – Junior: 1 Castleconnell.

Pair – Jun: 2 Castleconnell (J O’Donovan, C Mulready); 3 Castleconnell (B Frohburg, D Ryan)

Sculling, Quadruple – Jun 18: 3 Skibbereen (D Kavanagh, E O’Connor, F O’Reilly, F O’Regan). Jun 16: 1 Skibbereen (Kavanagh, O’Connor, O’Reilly, Regan).

Single – Jun: 1 King’s Hospital (J Butler), 2 Castleconnell (R O’Neill).

Women

Eight – Jun: 1 Commercial, 2 Carlow. Pair – Jun: 1 Commercial (A Molony, G Healy).

Sculling, Quadruple – Jun: 2 Castleconnell (N Kiely, L O’Brien, N Silke, S Byrnes).

Single – Under-23: 3 Castleconnell (P Silke).

Double – Jun: 3 Castleconnell (N Kiely, L O’Brien).

Single – Under-23: 2 Castleconnell (C O’Brien). Lightweight Single – Sen: 3 Skibbereen (O Hayes).  

Sunday

Men

Four – Jun: 2 Castleconnell (B Frohburg, J O’Donovan, C Mulready, D Ryan)

Pair – Jun 18: 2 Castleconnell (O’Donovan, Mulready), 3 Castleconnell (Frohburg, Mulready), 3

Sculling

Double – Jun: 2 Castleconnell (J Desmond, R O’Neill). Jun 16: 3 Skibbereen (E O’Connor, F O’Reilly)

Women

Eight: 2 Commercial, 3 Carlow.

Pair – Sen: 1 Skibbereen (A McCarthy, N Casey), 2 Commercial (H O’Neill, R Morris). Jun: 1 Castleconnell (N Silke, S Byrnes); 3 Commercial (A Moloney, G Healy).

Sculling, Quadruple: 2 Castleconnell.

Double – U-23: 2 Castleconnell (C O’Brien, S Gilmore). Jun 16: 2 Carlow (S Scully, K Egan).

Single – Lightweight: 3 Skibbereen (O Hayes).

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Kealan Mannix won both the senior and intermediate single sculls at Limerick Regatta today. The Skibbereen man was competing for University of Limerick, who also won in the senior fours. Muckross were the top men’s club eight, while Galway won the women’s intermediate and junior eights. Castleconnell were the top men’s junior 18 eight.

Limerick Regatta, Saturday (Selected Results):

Men

Eight – Club: Muckross. Junior 18: Castleconnell. Jun 16: Col Iognaid.

Four – Sen: University of Limerick. Inter, coxed: Clonmel. Jun 18A, coxed: Castleconnell.

Pair – Sen: Portadown.

Sculling, Quadruple – Novice, coxed: Univ of Limerick. Jun 18A: CRCC.

Double – Inter: St Michael’s B.

Single – Sen: Univ of Limerick (K Mannix). Inter: University of Limerick (K Mannix). Jun 18A: St Michael’s (R Spelman).  

Women

Eight – Inter: Galway. Jun 18: Galway. Jun 16: Commercial. Masters: University of Limerick.

Four – Inter, coxed: Fermoy. Jun 18: Shandon.  

Pair – Jun 18: CRCC.

Sculling, Quadruple – Jun 18: Castleconnell. Jun 16, coxed: Commercial A.

Double – Inter: St Michael’s.

Single – Inter: Castleconnell (C O’Brien). Jun 18A: Castleconnell (O’Brien).

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Rowing Ireland have announced that an anonymous financial donation from the USA, facilitated through The Ireland Funds, has been granted to Castleconnell Boat Club and the Rowing Ireland High Performance Programme. The injection of funds will allow the facilities at Castleconnell BC to be upgraded accordingly, as well as facilitating the purchase of boats and equipment for the Rowing Ireland HP Programme – specifically development of heavyweight men, who will be training at Castleconnell under HP coach James Mangan.

Outgoing Rowing Ireland CEO, Hamish Adams, said “We’re delighted to receive another generous donation through The Ireland Funds who we have been working with for several years. These monies are critical to the development of our athletes and our sport as a whole. James has been instrumental in developing links with American donors and he will be a key driver of the heavyweight development programme in Castleconnell.”

President of Castleconnell BC, Owen Silke also commented saying, “We are very excited about this development. It is a fantastic opportunity for any athlete who wants to try and progress to the Irish team. Our goal is to develop rowers as part of a high performance pathway to meet the standards set out by HP Director Antonio Maurogiovanni.”

Published in Rowing
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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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