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Displaying items by tag: Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - Heavy rains last week caused the latest in a series of landslides that has cut off a coastal village in Co Kerry, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Only pedestrian access is currently permitted on the Cliff Road to Rossbeigh after a partial collapse of the roadside into the sea on Thursday (17 September).

But the cliff fall is no surprise to locals who have complained for the last two years over increasing erosion caused by various heavy rains and severe storms.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - Two tourist attractions on the south coast will receive funding under the Government's new 'Ireland's Ancient East' initiative.

Cobh's Titanic Connections attraction and guided tours of Hook Lighthouse in Co Wexford are among 12 projects that will share in €1.2 million of funding made available by Minister for Tourism Pascal Donohoe, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Other attractions benefiting from the windfall include Boyne Valley: Waterway Through Time in Trim, Co Meath.

And a further €600,000 will go towards branded signage for the initiative which aims to be an east coast rival to the successful Wild Atlantic Way.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - Emergency services rushed to the aid of an elderly man who fainted on the new cliff walk at The Gobbins in Co Antrim on Thursday (3 September).

As BelfastLive reports, the 79-year-old collapsed half-way along the "white-knuckle" coastal path that recently welcomed its 1,000th visitor since reopening last month for the first time since the 1950s.

The path was closed during the incident as the man recovered enough to walk away with the aid of council staff and local fire fighters. He was subsequently pronounced fit and healthy by paramedics at a waiting ambulance.

Mid and East Antrim Council has warned that the dizzying Gobbins path requires a reasonable level of fitness to traverse its series of rugged steps, tunnels, caves and tubular bridges that are not for the faint-hearted.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Portrush - RNLI lifeguards on Northern Ireland's north coast who spotted a suspicious object in the sea on Thursday afternoon (2 July) recovered an old sofa that had been dumped in the water.

Senior lifeguard Bosco McAuley and lifeguards Bruce and Shane Traill were patrolling Whiterocks Beach in Portrush around 2pm on Thursday when they spotted something in the water 150m from the shore.



The lifeguards, who couldn’t tell what was in the water using their binoculars, immediately launched their rescue water craft and made their way to the scene to investigate.

Weather conditions at the time were very good as around 200 people were enjoying the sunshine on the beach.



The lifeguards soon discovered that the object was an old sofa which had been dumped into the sea. On recovering the item out of the water and away from public harm, the lifeguards proceeded to put the sofa on one of their trucks and safely disposed of it.

"While on one hand it might appear quite funny that we launched and recovered an old sofa from the sea, it is important to point out that our lifeguards, who are highly skilled and trained, acted in good faith responding swiftly when they noticed something unusual in the water," said RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran.



"We would always encourage visitors to the beach to alert us or phone the coastguard should they notice anything suspicious. We would always rather investigate the incident to find it is a sofa and all is well than not know and then discover too late that someone is in difficulty."



Doran added: "Our lifeguards will deal with a variety of incidents over the summer period and while I hope this will be one of the fewer types of instances, it does highlight the vigilance they show to keep our beaches safe."

Published in Coastal Notes

#Benone - The RNLI beach lifeguard unit on Benone Strand on the North coast has been vandalised for a second time in a week.

During what is traditionally one of the RNLI lifeguard’s busiest weeks of the year, the charity’s lifeguards discovered on Wednesday morning (1 July) that vandals had damaged the exterior of the beach lifeguard unit for a second time within a week.



The railings around the exterior of the hut had been badly bent, a ventilation fan on the roof of the unit had been broken off, and fencing leading up to the unit that protects the surrounding dune system had also been broken.



The RNLI are working closely with the PSNI in an attempt to prevent further damage being done to the beach unit throughout the summer.



"It is estimated that repairs to the beach lifeguard unit will run into hundreds of pounds for the charity, as the railings, fencing and ventilation fan will have to replaced and fitted," said RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran.



"While our lifeguards are on duty many people come up to the units for assistance and advice and they are easily identifiable. We hope that these acts of vandalism will cease and that our lifeguards can continue to operate from them safely when carrying out their lifesaving work."

Published in Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - Doolin expects to double the number of visitors on its ferry route to the Aran Islands after the opening of its new €6m pier last week.

As the Irish Examiner reports, it's envisaged up to 200,000 people will use the Co Clare village as a gateway to the Galway Bay island chain via the new pier which does away with the former practice of 'trans-shipping', or ferrying passengers by currach from the older, smaller pier to the ferry offshore at low tide.

Among the locals hailing the new pier's potential for the locality is ferry operator Eugene Garrihy, who says it represents "the best money spent here in decades" and believes the investment "will double within the next three to five years" as the previously announced master plan is carried out.

Garrihy adds that the ferry route was "completely hamstrung in the past by tidal issues, which prevented us [ferry operators] from scheduling sailings for a peak period of the day, but now the pier is redeveloped the shackles are definitely off for us.”

He also said that despite opposition from surfers over the pier's feared impact on the Crab Island wave, they have benefitted from the project in the form of a shower block and new launch area.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#CoastalNotes - 'Poor' water quality off Youghal have seen the Cork town's beach subject to bathing advisories for the remainder of the summer season, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Stricter EU regulations on bathing water quality have prompted Cork County Council to erect notices advising against swimming at the popular Front Strand till at least 15 September.

Regular testing will be carried out in the meantime at the beach, which suffers more than others in the area due to runoff from farms along the River Blackwater which enters the sea nearby.

Youghal has long been identified as a pollution blackspot on the Irish coast, being one of a number of urban areas still discharging untreated wastewater into the sea.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MaritimeART – The Port of Cork Maritime Collection is to be hosted by the Bantry Bay Port Company writes the West Cork Times.

The exhibition of maritime themed paintings and models is now open at Bantry House, West Cork.

Visitors to the exhibition (which runs until 28th June), will showcase a selection of the Port's historic maritime art pieces dating back from the 1800s.

Highlights of the collection include a number of paintings by marine artist George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson and Robert Lowe Stopford who is known for his series of panoramic views of Queenstown.

This exhibition offers the public a chance to view this one of a kind collection of paintings which is usually housed in the Port's headquarters in Custom House.

For more on this story, click here.

Published in Coastal Notes

#CoastalNotes - The video above is not a coastal distress flare, but a 'fireball' from space burning up as it enters the atmosphere far above Ireland.

A flurry of reports from concerned members of the public received by the Irish Coast Guard have been traced to the meteorite that streaked across the sky on Sunday night (April 26).

The Irish Mirror has more on the spectacular phenomenon that lit up the whole country for a few seconds shortly after 10pm on Sunday.

And as David Moore of Astronomy Ireland says, it was so bright that it's likely part of the space rock survived re-entry and might be found intact somewhere on land or shore.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#GalwayBay - Galway City Council will soon open a public consultation on a proposed new walkway between Salthill and Silverstrand, as the Galway Advertiser reports.

The new Galway Bay coastal walking route will comprise a series of "scenic pathways and footbridges spanning the shoreline" between the Salthill Promenade and the beach at Silverstand in Barna two miles to the west.

And the €7 million project also involved works to protect from coastal erosion, which will speed up the foreshore licence application process once the views of the pubic have been sought.

The Galway Advertiser has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
Tagged under
Page 7 of 24

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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