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Displaying items by tag: Cork

An alternative proposal for the staging of the next America’s Cup in Cork could save the State some €80 million.

The Irish Examiner reports on the pitch to Cork’s civil servants which proposes a publicly owned site at Tivoli Docks as a base for the event rather than the private dockyard near Cobh suggested in the original bid.

In addition, the race village is envisaged at Kennedy Quay in the city centre, most of which is also under public ownership.

A drawback to this proposal is the longer tow-out for race teams to the open water outside Cork Harbour, as outlined in the briefing document.

But the estimated €80 million savings in staging costs might present a strong case to coalition leaders who in September requested more time to consider the cost-benefit analysis of hosting the Auld Mug in Cork in 2024.

Ireland remains in the running to host the event, with the announcement of the match venue pushed back until the end of March next year.

Published in America's Cup
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Valencia is the subject of “advanced negotiations” between the America’s Cup defender Emirates Team New Zealand and the Madrid government to host the next contest for the Auld Mug, it’s being reported.

Scuttlebutt Sailing News has more on the story which suggests that a combination of existing infrastructure—in place since the Spanish port’s previous hosting of the event in 2007—and funding from government and private sources could secure ‘preferred bidder’ status.

Cork had been expected to snap up the rights last month before political wrangles dealt a blow to the campaign’s hopes.

However, with the New Zealand team’s final announcement still some weeks away, Ireland’s negotiating position remains stronger than it may realise, as international sail racing project manager Marcus Hutchinson told Afloat.ie’s Wavelengths podcast.

Published in America's Cup
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Beachgoers around Munster have been warned to watch where they step after numerous sightings of a venomous fish that lurks in the sand, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Lesser weevers are small fish, only 15cm in length, but their stinging spines pack a painful wallop — and in rare cases can be potentially fatal.

Kevin Flannery of Dingle OceanWorld says weevers generally avoid spots where people congregate on beaches, but may be encountered off the beaten track — so wearing footwear, even flip-flops, is a must.

And if you’re unlucky enough to step on one, get the affected area under hot water — up to 40 degrees if possible — to help break down the venom. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Munster is also the place to be to see swarms of jellyfish that have turned up along the Cork coastline in recent days, according to the Irish Mirror.

Thousands of what are believed to be moon jellyfish have been spotted from Garretstown to Cobh in Cork Harbour, likely attracted by warmer waters to feed on their usual diet of plankton, molluscs — and other jellyfish.

Published in Coastal Notes
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A sea swimmer got “close enough to be a bit nervous” with a pod of dolphins off Myrtleville earlier this week.

Harry Casey tells the Irish Examiner about his once-in-a-lifetime experience of swimming out to greet the marine wildlife off the Co Cork beach on Tuesday (8 December).

“I didn’t think I’d get that close to be honest,” he says. “I think maybe they were a bit curious and came over to suss me out.”

Harry’s friend Derek McGreevy, who was on hand to photograph the meeting, also snapped the remarkable image of a ‘feeding frenzy’ in outer Cork Harbour this week.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, as many as 60 dolphins have been drawn to the area following shoals of warm-water anchovies and sprat, which have also been temping enormous fin whales inshore.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Plans for a new light rail bridge across the River Lee in Cork city centre have sparked concerns that the project would prevent any passage of vessels and “sterilise the city forever for future generations”.

The Echo reported last week on the multi-billion-euro transport plan for Cork that includes a light rail system similar to the Luas in Dublin, with a 25-stop route that could cross the city via a new bridge at Kent Station to the South Docklands.

This is the proposal that has raised the ire of Michael McCarthy, chairman of cruising industry network Cruise Europe, who fears the bridge would cut off the city from its maritime heritage.

McCarthy cites the pontoon by the coffee pods on Lapps Quay — “nothing but a few small rowing boats” — as an example of what could happen to the city without free access for vessels of all sizes.

And he argues that some councillors and officials who will be responsible for considering these plans have “no feel or empathy for the maritime or the marine”.

“The river made Cork City what it is today and now they are intent on sterilising it for ever when there is a very viable alternative,” he adds — suggesting that the light rail system could instead follow the old Cork-Blackrock-Passage-Crosshaven line using the existing bridges from Kent Station to City Hall.

Cork City councillors were briefed last week by the National Transport Authority on the plans, which form part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).

Next month a specialist team will be commissioned to analyse all route options for the scheme, which is expected to cost €1 billion in total. The Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour
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A local surfing school instructor raced to the rescue of a teenage boy caught in a rip current off a Co Cork beach at the weekend, as CorkBeo reports.

Luke Chambers of the Swell Surf School was with a surf class off Inch Beach near Whitegate on Sunday (26 July) when he spotted three teen sea swimmers in distress nearby.

Acting fast, Chambers got his surf students back on the beach safely before paddling out to the three boys as they were dragged out to sea by the sudden tide.

One of the stricken trio had managed to get onto a rocky reef, and the surfer assisted a second to climb onto the same reef.

Meanwhile, another man whom Chambers describes as an “angel” was keeping the third boy’s head above water, and they used the surfboard to bring him back to the beach where he was attended to by paramedics.

The boy, since named as Joey Kinahan, was taken to hospital as a precaution but has made a full recovery depite coming close to drowning.

CorkBeo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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The Irish Times reports that a 35-year-old man was airlifted to hospital with serious spinal injuries after a diving incident in Co Cork yesterday afternoon (Monday 1 June).

It’s understood that the man was diving from rocks near Nohoval Cove, between Kinsale and Crosshaven, when his foot caught and he landed on rocks.

Kinsale RNLI and gardaí attended the scene along with the Irish Coast Guard, which airlifted the casualty on board the Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter to Cork University Hospital.

Elsewhere, the search resumed this morning for a five-year-old boy believed to have fallen from a dinghy on Lough Mask.

RTÉ News reports that gardaí and the coastguard are searching the west side of the lough near Toormakeady in Co Mayo.

Published in Rescue

In light of the rapidly evolving situation and public health measures due to the coronavirus, a decision has been taken to postpone European Maritime Day in Cork Harbour until later this year.

The European Maritime Day Team released the following statement regarding European Maritime Day 2020:

Dear speaker, dear workshop organiser, dear stakeholder,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support for European Maritime Day (EMD) 2020 in Cork, Ireland on 14-15 May.

Given the implications of coronavirus for all countries including restrictions on travel, it is with regret that, together with Cork City Council and the Irish Marine Coordination Group, we have decided to defer EMD.

We are currently looking into possible alternative dates later in the year and will keep you posted.

We thank you for your understanding and hope that you will be able to join us in Cork later in 2020.

Published in Cork Harbour

Sunday 15 March is the deadline to apply for a stand at the European Maritime Day Expo in Cork this May.

Ahead of the official launch of registration later this month for the conference taking place at Cork City Hall on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 May, applications are now open for stands at the Expo taking place over the two days.

European Maritime Day (EMD) is the annual EU meeting point on maritime affairs and a sustainable blue economy, and targets maritime professionals, entrepreneurs and ocean leaders.

This year’s conference will also be held back-to-back with SeaFest, Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime festival.

As such, EMD is an ideal place for maritime stakeholders to showcase innovative ideas, products and services related to the conference themes, as well as to meet, exchange experiences and discuss the latest developments on blue economy.

Get more information from the EMD website, and apply for a stand at the EMD Expo HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour

#Rowing: Hugh Sutton of UCC Rowing Club was the overall winner of the 48th Cork Sculling Ladder time trial, which was run on calm water and on an outgoing tide at the Marina on the River Lee on Sunday. Sutton covered the 1800 metres in seven minutes and 3.4 seconds. Jessica Legresley of Shandon Boat Club won the women’s trial in 7:57.5.

 Two previous winners of the the ladder, Jack Dorney and Andy Harrington, set a time of 6:42.1 as they won the first coxless pairs time trial. Amy Mason and Grace Collins won the the women’s pairs time trial in 7:36.1.

 The event, which was sponsored by Argos Fire, had a big entry. The oldest competitor on the day was 83-year-old Seamus Quane of Shandon Boat Club.

 The sculling and coxless pairs ladders continue with two-boat racing until March 2020.     

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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