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Displaying items by tag: Donegal Bay

The Irish Coast Guard is leading a “large-scale maritime exercise” off the Donegal coast today (Wednesday).

The exercise, called “Blue Hills”, will test major incident plans, it says.

It will also focus on the operational capability and co-ordination of the relevant authorities for a major maritime search and rescue incident, the Irish Coast Guard says.

Agencies involved will include Donegal County Council, the Health Service Executive, Garda Síochána, Dublin Fire Brigade, Naval Service, Air Corps, RNLI and others.

The exercise will be conducted in the proximity of Donegal Bay and include both live and virtual participation, it says.

“There will be no disruption to services during this exercise,” it says.

A planned exercise to test drift and tidal modelling software in Galway Bay on Tuesday was deferred due to a resources issue.

The exercise, which aims to simulate an overdue paddleboarder and swimmer, has been rescheduled to a later date.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 14 of 2018 advises that as part of the Donegal Group B Sewerage Scheme, remedial works are being carried out this week by Norfolk Marine at the Bundoran outfall in Donegal Bay.

These works were scheduled to begin on Tuesday 3 April to last for around one week at 54° 28.778’ N and 08° 19.304’ W, conducted from the vessel Chateau Thierry (Callsign EI-HK-6). An additional small boat or RIB will also be involved in the operation as required.

The work vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will monitor VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MarineNotice - TechWorks Marine are deploying three trawl-resistant bottom mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) frames at three locations in Donegal Bay from this week.

The frames, which will be on the sea floor between now and June, are being deployed as part of the oceanographic monitoring programme for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Scheduled for deployment earlier this week on Monday 27 March, the frames will be left in the water for a minimum of one month before being retrieved.

The vessel Dulra na Mara (Callsign EIFS6) will be used for both deployment and collection of the frames. The vessel will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

The frames are 2m by 1m and will remain on the seafloor for a period of up to 90 days, after which each frame will be retrieved by the acoustic release of a pop-up buoy allowing for its recovery.

There will be no surface marker during the extent of deployment so vessel traffic will not need to avoid the area but should be aware of its presence.

A map and co-ordinates of the frame placement points are included in Marine Notice No 14 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineNotice - INFOMAR will undertake a hydrographic and geophysical survey in Donegal Bay next weekend 24-25 May.

The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) is expected to carry out the survey operations, which follow up on a previous survey completed last month.

Though the vessel will not be towing any instruments during this survey, she will have limited limited manoeuvrability due to survey line constraints.

The vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

Details of the survey area are included in Marine Notice No 31 of 2014, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Marine Warning

#MarineNotice - Marine Notice No 24 of 2014 advises that a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation will be carried out in Donegal Bay between 28 March and 3 April 2014 as part of the INFOMAR programme.

The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) is expected to carry out survey operations in an area bounded by the following co-ordinates:

NE Corner - Lat: 54° 37.545’N; Long: 08° 11.510’W
SW Corner - Lat: 54° 19.718’N; Long: 09° 29.418’W
NW Corner - Lat: 54° 41.909’N; Long: 09° 28.698’W
SE Corner - Lat: 54° 17.165’N; Long: 08° 50.486’W

The vessel will display appropriate lights and markers. The vessel will not be towing any instruments during this survey but will have limited manoeuvrability due to survey line constraints. The vessel will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

All mariners are reminded of their responsibilities under the International Collision Regulations and are reminded of Marine Notice No 17 of 2007, which gives general advice in relation to the activities of vessels engaged in survey work for hydrographic, seismic, fishing research and underwater operations.

The International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) are implemented in Irish law by the Merchant Shipping (Collision Regulations) (Ships and Water Craft on the Water) Order 2012 [SI No 507 of 2012], and the Signals of Distress (Ships) Rules 2012 [SI No 170 of 2012]. These Statutory Instruments may be purchased by mail order from Government Publications, Office of Public Works, 52 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 at 01 647 6834/1890 213 434 and are also available online at www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under

#SURFING - The Irish Times reports that surfers from around the world are flocking to Sligo in expectation of what might be Ireland's biggest waves of the year.

Breakers of up to 30 feet off Donegal Bay could be the result if growing swells in the Atlantic combine with southerly winds expected from this weekend.

“We have had 50ft waves in the past but 30ft waves would certainly be great and you would have a lot of surfers coming into Ireland to follow them," said top Irish surf pro Richie Fitzgerald.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins made a recent visit to the Somo Surf Centre in Cantabria, northern Spain while attending Spanish courses ahead of his State visit to South America last month, as Oceanlook reports.

“I had already heard of the charms of Loredo and Somo," the President commented. "There are many Irishmen flying to Cantabria in search of sun and also waves to get the chance to surf.”

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - British surfer Jayce Robinson wasn't about to let the largest wave ever recorded off Ireland's shores go by without giving it a shot.

And as Sky News Online reports, he was captured doing exactly that on Tuesday afternoon.

The Cornish surfing pro told the website: "It was definitely the biggest barrell I've ever surfed.

"I was a little nervous but I didn't have time to think about it - it's almost like a car crash, you don't know what's happening."

Robinson rode the giant wave for 20 seconds before the lip crashed down and knocked him off his board.

His surfing partner Lyndon Wake, who towed him to the swell at Mullaghmore Head, said: "It's always a worst case scenario when your tow partner wipes out. Lucky he managed to come out the other side OK."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, storm force winds off the coast of Donegal produced monster rollers of over 20 metres (over 60 feet) in height detected in Donegal Bay.

Mullaghmore Head will once again welcome the world's top big wave surfers for the second annual Tow-In Surf Session in the New Year.

Published in Surfing
"Phenomenal" ocean conditions will be of grave concern to vessels in Irish waters from tomorrow evening as Hurricane Katia makes its approach to Ireland.
As the Irish Independent reports, Met Éireann has considered issuing a severe weater warning today, predicting winds of up to 160kmph and sea flooding on the west coast from Donegal Bay to the Shannon estuary.
On the east coast, winds are expected to reach 130kmph in Dublin on Monday, raising the threat of falling trees and "excessive damage" to property.
The UK Met Office has already taken the rare step of issuing an extreme weather alert for the whole of Ireland.
The category one hurricane is carrying winds of up to 145kmph as it crosses the Atlantic, and is expected to make landfall on the northern half of Ireland tomorrow night.
The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

"Phenomenal" ocean conditions will be of grave concern to vessels in Irish waters from tomorrow evening as Hurricane Katia makes its approach to Ireland.

As the Irish Independent reports, Met Éireann has considered issuing a severe weater warning today, predicting winds of up to 160kmph and sea flooding on the west coast from Donegal Bay to the Shannon estuary.

On the east coast, winds are expected to reach 130kmph in Dublin on Monday, raising the threat of falling trees and "excessive damage" to property.

The UK Met Office has already taken the rare step of issuing an extreme weather alert for the whole of Ireland.

The category one hurricane is carrying winds of up to 145kmph as it crosses the Atlantic, and is expected to make landfall on the northern half of Ireland tomorrow night.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Weather
The Irish Independent reports that some 100 bottlenose dolphins have made a new home off the Donegal coast in the past week.
The pod of bottlenoses - a rare treat in Irish waters compared to the near ubiquitous common dolphin - has been spoted by boaters and wildlife enthusiasts in the inner Donegal Bay, between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head.
Patrick Lane of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the bottlenose often swims closer to the shore than its more common counterparts, making it much easier for people on shore to catch a glimpse.
The Irish Independent has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

The Irish Independent reports that some 100 bottlenose dolphins have made a new home off the Donegal coast in the past week.

The pod of bottlenoses - a rare treat in Irish waters compared to the near ubiquitous common dolphin - has been spoted by boaters and wildlife enthusiasts in the inner Donegal Bay, between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head.

Patrick Lane of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the bottlenose often swims closer to the shore than its more common counterparts, making it much easier for people on shore to catch a glimpse.

The Irish Independent has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The recent warm weather has attracted scores of basking sharks to feed in Irish waters weeks ahead of schedule, Metro reports.
Video posted on YouTube by mackerel fishermen in Donegal Bay shows one of the sharks - the second largest species in the big fish family - just metres from their boat:
"We saw about 20 basking sharks that day," fisherman Brian Smith told Metro. "I have never seen so many at this time of year. You don't usually see them until later in May time."
Despite their fearsome size, basking sharks are among the friendlies of Ireland's marine wildlife.
They feed only on plankton and tiny fish - sifting them through their enormous gaping jaws - and are known for their calm temperament.

The recent warm weather has attracted scores of basking sharks to feed in Irish waters weeks ahead of schedule, Metro reports.

Video posted on YouTube by mackerel fishermen in Donegal Bay shows one of the sharks - the second largest species in the big fish family - just metres from their boat:

"We saw about 20 basking sharks that day," fisherman Brian Smith told Metro. "I have never seen so many at this time of year. You don't usually see them until later in May time."

Despite their fearsome size, basking sharks are among the friendlies of Ireland's marine wildlife.

They feed only on plankton and tiny fish - sifting them through their enormous gaping jaws - and are known for their calm temperament.

Published in Marine Wildlife

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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