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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire

There’s a small but sure glow of stardust in Dun Laoghaire Marina at the moment. Rugged stardust perhaps, but unmistakably genuine stardust nevertheless. The Norwegian gaff ketch Sandefjord, the quintessential Colin Archer-created rescue vessel of 1913 vintage which added ocean voyaging and global circumnavigation to her extraordinary life-path after she’d been retired from at-sea support and life-saving work for the national fishing fleet in 1935, is in port primarily to visit a legendary Dublin Bay seafarer who was on her crew when she sailed round the world in 1965-66.

Sandefjord is 15 metres (49ft) hull length and all boat, as her beam of 5 metres gives an unusually hefty 1/3 ratio. Her gaff rig is squat but powerful, while the scantlings of her hull construction are massive. Officially numbered R28 when built at Risor, she was the 28th redningsskoyte constructed for the Norwegian Lifeboat Society to Archer’s designs, and in 22 years of service was credited with saving 117 lives and guiding 258 vessels to safety, while also providing medical assistance as she was a miniature hospital ship.

Sandefjord sailing off Durban in February 1966 before departing on her world voyageSandefjord sailing off Durban in February 1966 before departing on her world voyage

Colin Archer (1832-1921), the Norwegian naval architect and shipwright of Scottish descent, was widely renowned for his successful yachts of which our own Asgard (1905) is now the best-known. But his sailing lifeboats had such a special cachet that even before they were replaced by powered craft in the 1930s, many clients had commissioned cruising yachts based directly on the classic rescue boat hull.

Through several ownerships, Sandefjord inspired special thoughts – this was from the time of Tilly Penso of Capetown, who owned Sandefjord for more than twenty years until his death in 1961.Through several ownerships, Sandefjord inspired special thoughts – this was from the time of Tilly Penso of Capetown, who owned Sandefjord for more than twenty years until his death in 1961

Nevertheless there was something special about seafaring in a genuine retired Colin Archer lifeboat, and they gradually spread across the world. But after thousands of miles of ocean sailing, many ended up in distant places in an abandoned and deteriorating condition.

Tobias Revold, owner of Sandefjord. Nowadays in Norway, ownership of a Colin Archer rescue boat is regarded as a sacred mission. Photo: W M NixonTobias Revold, owner of Sandefjord. Nowadays in Norway, ownership of a Colin Archer rescue boat is regarded as a sacred mission. Photo: W M Nixon

Fortunately a movement for their eventually re-patriation to Norway for restoration and active preservation through busily sailing began to develop, but along the way there were many side adventures, and one such - starting in South Africa in Durban in the 1960s - involved Ireland’s Tim Magennis.

We looked at it in some depth on Afloat.ie in 2013 here when Tim was President of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association as they were in the throes of organising one of the main events in the international OGA’s Golden Jubilee.

Tim has since very deservedly become an OGA Honorary Member, but this month the circumnavigation he made with his shipmates 56 years ago has been released as a full-length documentary on Youtube 

You’re strongly advised not to watch it if the approaching prospect of an Irish Autumn and Winter seems somewhat gloomily over-powering. However, for those who can’t resist at least thinking of the South Sea escape, it’s a reminder of a time when we all thought the world was a dangerous Cold War-dominated place, and yet life seemed so much simpler, something to be lived to the fullest and very much in the present, with little thought for tomorrow.

Tim Magennis on Sandefjord in the South Pacific in 1966, “being Jack Nicholson before Jack Nicholson was fully formed”.Tim Magennis on Sandefjord in the South Pacific in 1966, “being Jack Nicholson before Jack Nicholson was fully formed”

Thus we find that in the South Pacific islands in 1966, our own much-loved Tim Magennis mutated into a sort of prototype of Hollywood superstar Jack Nicholson some years before the complete Jack Nicholson Tinseltown persona had been been created. Since then, Tim has gone on through many successful roles, and yesterday in Dun Laoghaire aboard Sandefjord he was right in character as patriarch, father, grandfather, friend to many and admired by all as someone who has lived at least ten lives, and enjoys it all as much as ever.

Tim Magennis in 2013 as President of the Dublin Bay Old gaffers Association at the time of the OGA Golden Jubilee celebrations. Photo: W M NixonTim Magennis in 2013 as President of the Dublin Bay Old gaffers Association at the time of the OGA Golden Jubilee celebrations. Photo: W M Nixon

Tim Magennis back on board Sandefjord in Dun Laoghaire this week. Photo: W M NixonTim Magennis back on board Sandefjord in Dun Laoghaire this week. Photo: W M Nixon

Sandefjord in her restored form has been owned for some years now by Tobias Revold, and it was at the suggestion of Sean Cullen, the captain of Ireland’s national survey vessel and son of one of Tim’s shipmates on Sandefjord’s circumnavigation, that Sandefjord came for her first visit from Norway to Ireland.

Noted ship restorer Paddy Murphy of Renvyle with Sean Cullen. Photo: W M NixonNoted ship restorer Paddy Murphy of Renvyle with Sean Cullen

Sean himself has impeccable crewing credentials with the ship, as post-circumnavigation he sailed as a very youthful crewman when Sandefjord was voyaging from South Africa to her base for several years at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. But even so it took some serendipity to get it all together yesterday afternoon, yet it was clear something special was in the air at the entrance to Dun Laoghaire marina when the great Paddy Murphy of Renvyle in far Connemara, restorer of the legendary Manx nobby Aigh Vie and central to many other projects, arrived like me to pay our respects to a very special vessel and celebrate Tim Magennis’s links with her.

 The extensive flush deck was kept as clear as possible in the assumption that it would regularly be swept by heavily-breaking seas. Photo: W M NixonThe extensive flush deck was kept as clear as possible in the assumption that it would regularly be swept by heavily-breaking seas. Photo: W M Nixon

 With the original tiller steering restored, the only concession to a cockpit is a tiny steering well which is deep enough for the helmsman to crouch down in some shelter if the ship is swept by a really big breaker. Photo: W M NixonWith the original tiller steering restored, the only concession to a cockpit is a tiny steering well which is deep enough for the helmsman to crouch down in some shelter if the ship is swept by a really big breaker. Photo: W M Nixon

Aboard, we found former Cruising Association of Ireland longtime former Commodore John Leahy already being bowled over by the Sandefjord presence, for that’s the effect this very special vessel has on anyone who can grasp just what she means. With all due respect to the many fine yachts based in Dun Laoghaire Marina, she makes them seem slightly frivolous.

Despite Sandefjord’s enormous carrying power, Colin Archer took considerable trouble to keep the weight out of the ends, and the heavy anchor chain was led aft……Photo: W M NixonDespite Sandefjord’s enormous carrying power, Colin Archer took considerable trouble to keep the weight out of the ends, and the heavy anchor chain was led aft……Photo: W M Nixon

…..to a powerful windlass aft of the mainmast, and then lowered into a chain-locker abeam of the mast. Photo: W M Nixon…..to a powerful windlass aft of the mainmast, and then lowered into a chain-locker abeam of the mast. Photo: W M Nixon

Meanwhile, the sense of occasion was a-building towards the arrival of the Main Man. If you’re berthed on the furthest pontoon of Dun Laoghaire Marina, you’ve to walk for exactly one kilometre before you reach dry land. But though Sandefjord was berthed opposite the Irish Lights base and by no means as far away as she might have been, we of the osteo-arthritic brigade knew it was plenty far by the time we got there. However, Sean had thought of this for Tim, far and away the most senior of our brigade, and had organised a RIB to convey him from the marina gates to the scene of the action. Marina del Rey, how are you?

While Sandefjord is as authentic as possible above decks, some concessions to contemporary comfort have been made in her accommodation, but there are still signs of her original existence as a mini-Hospital Ship. Photo: W M NixonWhile Sandefjord is as authentic as possible above decks, some concessions to contemporary comfort have been made in her accommodation, but there are still signs of her original existence as a mini-Hospital Ship. Photo: W M Nixon

It turned out to be such a stylish mode of access that I couldn’t help but think of the arrival of herself in Antony & Cleopatra - “the barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne…purple the sails etc etc…”. But you have to understand that for anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Sandefjord story, with its links to Colin Archer and thereby to Asgard and much else, we were all going through a charisma-filled experience which is going to take quite a bit of processing over the next few days.

Tobias Revold and his crew will be preparing Sandefjord for departure through Thursday (August 18th), so Dun Laoghaire’s time with The Presence is limited. But if you happen to see her in the meantime, she deserves a pause for thought and respect.

Sandefjord has real charisma, she deserves a pause for thought and respect. Photo: John LeahySandefjord has real charisma, she deserves a pause for thought and respect. Photo: John Leahy

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Dun Laoghaire RNLI had a busy afternoon on Sunday (7 August) with three separate callouts all within a matter of hours. They began with a missing child at the Forty Foot bathing place, followed by a yacht taking on water with a crew of two adults and five children, and finally, a speedboat with engine trouble and a family of six onboard at Salt Hill.

The volunteer crew were first alerted minutes before 1 pm by the Irish Coast Guard, that a child was missing and was last seen in the water by the group of swimmers with them. Thankfully, Dun Laoghaire RNLI, Rescue 116, and local Lifeguards were all stood down when it transpired that the boy had left the water unseen by his companions and appeared on shore ten minutes later. Raising the alarm when you suspect someone is in danger on or near the water is always the correct action to take.

The second callout came in at 5.10pm, for a 36ft yacht with a fouled propeller and no power, which was taking on water. Dun Laoghaire RNLI all-weather lifeboat under the command of Coxswain Mark McGibney with six crew members onboard, made its way to the scene, launching within ten minutes and arriving on scene at 5.30pm. On board the yacht were two adults and five children aged between 10 and 12, all wearing lifejackets and remaining calm. Weather conditions presented a gentle breeze with excellent visibility.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibneyDun Laoghaire RNLI all-weather lifeboat Coxswain Mark McGibney

When on scene, the Coxswain decided an immediate extraction of all casualties was the safest way to proceed, bringing the lifeboat alongside for the adults and children to come safely aboard the lifeboat, before the lifeboat crew tended to the yacht. A salvage pump from the lifeboat was brought aboard the yacht to assist the onboard bilge pump which was struggling to stem the flow of seawater. Positioning one adult crew member and a RNLI volunteer onboard the yacht, the lifeboat secured a towline and began the journey to shore where all seven casualties’ safety alighted.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney said: ‘We’re delighted we were able to secure the casualties safety within 25 minutes of the alarm being raised. I would encourage anyone setting out to ensure they are completely aware of the dangers of loose and unsecured ropes on deck, and further ensure that in the event of an emergency at sea, a VHF radio be the prime means of communication to the Coast Guard and lifeboat service due to the fact that we can use our radio direction finder as a means of homing in on a casualty’s position. A mobile phone should be a secondary means of communication.”

The third callout of the day came as the lifeboat were dealing with the 36ft yacht and was to a 17ft speedboat which had lost all power. The craft, with a family of six onboard, was unable to proceed and was drifting in the Salthill area. The speedboat owner raised the alarm by calling the Irish Coast Guard, and Dun Laoghaire RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched with volunteer Helm Alan Keville and two crew onboard. On arrival at scene, the Helm assessed the situation, and the crew quickly secured a towline to the speedboat, bringing the casualties safely ashore.

Speaking following the call out, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Helm Alan Keville said: ‘It’s vital that no delay is made in raising the alarm when on board a vessel in trouble, early notice makes all the difference, as too does wearing appropriate lifejackets, which in this instance all casualties were thankfully doing.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s volunteers rescued a dog after he fell off Dun Laoghaire’s eastern marina pier into the rocky breakwater below.

Thor’s owners were enjoying a sunny morning stroll on Thursday (24 March) when the five-year-old black labrador unexpectedly thundered headlong onto the rocks some metres below the walkway.

A bystander called 999 at 9.52am to raise the alarm and the inshore lifeboat, helmed by Gary Hayes and with three other crew members onboard, launched within five minutes.

Weather conditions at the time were good with plenty of sunshine and a calm sea.

Thor was quickly located by the lifeboat crew. However, as he had fallen into a small opening and was almost hidden beneath the rocks, and had injured his head, it made for a challenging extraction for the crew.

Once he was safely retrieved, the Dun Laoghaire RNLI crew brought Thor onboard the lifeboat before reuniting him with his delighted owners.

Speaking following the call out, Hayes said: “We were delighted to see Thor safely returned to his owners yesterday following his ordeal.

“We would remind anyone walking a dog at the coast to keep them on a lead if close to cliff edges, piers, and paths near the sea.

“If your pet does go into the water or gets stuck in mud, don’t go in after them but rather move to a place where you can safely get to and call them as they may be able to get out themselves.

“If you are worried that your pet may be in danger, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Plans are in train for as many as 95 cruise liner calls to Dublin Bay in 2022, according to the Minister of State for international transport.

Hildegarde Naughton was responding to a Dáil question from Galway independent TD Noel Grealish regarding the continued suitability of Dublin Port for tourism traffic.

According to the minister, Dublin Port Company has taken bookings for 28 cruise ships in Dublin Port next year, with a further 67 anchoring in Dublin Bay and tendering into Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

“However, the actual cruise calls to be facilitated will depend on a decision on the resumption of cruise activity,” she said, underlining that such would be guided by any prevailing COVID-related restrictions.

The minister also noted that since the beginning of this year, Dublin Port has seen a “significant increase” in shipping services bypassing the UK land bridge post-Brexit.

“In Dublin Port, these direct services are using the cargo berths that were in the past used by cruise. It is clear that once cruise traffic recommences, Dublin Port will have reduced capacity for cruise ship visits in the coming seasons.

“However, there is spare capacity in other ports particularly with Cobh having a dedicated cruise berth in Ireland. This ideally places them as alternative options for the cruise industry and creates opportunities for tourism activities on a regional basis,” she added.

Published in Cruise Liners

Both Dun Laoghaire lifeboats were paged by the Irish Coast Guard after an open-water swimmer was reported missing yesterday (Saturday 16 October).

The swimmer was part of an organised swimming group who quickly realised that one of their number was no longer with them.

Within 23 minutes of the pager alert, the Dublin Bay station’s inshore lifeboat — helmed by Gary Hayes — located the missing swimmer and pulled them aboard the lifeboat. Other than their being very cold, all was well.

The lifeboat unit noted that all the swimmers were well equipped with bright hats and floats which made searching for the missing swimmer far easier.

Ed Totterdell, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager, said: “It was great to see that the swimming group were wearing hi-viz swimming hats, swim floats and kept a close eye on each other. Being this prepared enabled them to raise the alarm as soon as they realised one of the group was missing.

“Remember, when swimming, make sure someone knows where you are, wear appropriate clothing for the weather, take a means of calling for help in a dry pouch and always swim within your abilities.”

The RNLI has guidance for open-water swimming on its website.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

This month the Oireachtas Library has been displaying an 1807 pamphlet by Reverend William Liddiard (1773–1841), calling for the establishment of an organised lifeboat service along the Irish coast.

Rev Liddiard was writing in response to the sinking of two ships in Dublin Bay — the Rochdale and the Prince of Wales — which saw the loss of almost 400 lives in one night:

“I have seized the moment when the feelings of the nation are afloat, and before they can possibly be thought to have subsided, of recommending a more general establishment of the Life-boat; a plan, which affords in some degree a balm for the despondency of the moment, promising as it does to prevent a recurrence of misfortunes similar to those, which have lately gloomed our shores.”

As special collections librarian Kate McCarthy writes, it is clear from the pamphlet that Rev Liddiard was impressed with the work to develop a dedicated lifeboat service at Bamburgh Castle on the north-east coast of England.

And he was particularly keen to use the then recently constructed Martello towers as dedicated lifeboat stations in Ireland.

“However,” McCarthy adds, “it was not until 1824 that the National Institution for the Preservation of Lives and Property from Shipwreck was established for Britain and Ireland (now the Royal National Lifeboat Institution). But the sinking of the Rochdale and Prince of Wales added to a growing campaign for the development of a safe pier at the small village of Dunleary (now Dun Laoghaire).”

The Oireachtas website has more on Rev Liddiard’s pamphlet HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo) has signed up to become an RNLI Local Ambassador, committing itself to sharing vital water safety messages with the public throughout the council area this summer.

The RNLI — which has three lifeboat stations in Dublin city and county at Dun Laoghaire, Howth and Skerries — has already had a busy year to date and is anticipating a busy summer on the coast.

Last year alone, volunteer crews at Dublin’s lifeboat stations launched 145 times and brought 163 people to safety.

As a local ambassador, the council says it will proactively help promote key water safety messages on behalf of the charity that saves lives at sea.

This will include sharing locally tailored and activity specific water safety messages on our social media channels every week throughout the summer months.

As the summer approaches, DLRCoCO is encouraging people to come and visit its beaches but is also reminding everybody of the dangers the water can pose.

An Cathaoirleach, Cllr Una Power said: “The council is pleased to become a RNLI Local Ambassador. This is a great way for us to help the RNLI get important water safety information across to the wider public in our council area.

“It is our hope that work such as this will help to reduce water-based incidents and drownings. People visit the coast and our beaches to enjoy a range of activities by the sea and we want to help ensure they do so safely.”

Darina Loakman, Dun Laoghaire RNLI water safety adviser, added: “We would like to thank the council and the many other local businesses in Dublin who have pledged to share advice that will help keep people safe around the coast.

“Last year during some weekends over the summer, there were multiple lifeboat launches for our volunteer crew here at Dun Laoghaire RNLI. The increased popularity of a range of water sports has seen more people in the water and we have also seen a rise in people getting cut off by the tide and becoming stranded.

“Over half the people that get into trouble in the water didn’t expect to get wet so having organisations such as the council working to deliver safety advice in this way is wonderful.”

Meanwhile, the council has increased the number of beach lifeguards on duty this year.

Seapoint, Sandycove and Killiney have a lifeguarding service during the bathing season from 1 June to 15 September. Lifeguards are on duty from 12-6pm Monday to Friday and from 11am to 6pm Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Plans to restore Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s Coastguard Cottages for social housing are among the local authority’s list of goals and achievements throughout what’s been a tumultuous 2020.

Most recently restored in 2014 and occupied by the combined Dun Laoghaire Waterfront Clubs, the four unoccupied cottages adjacent to the Commissioners of Irish Lights headquarters date from the mid-1800s.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has confirmed in its 2021 budget report that its architects and Housing Department are looking at plans to renovate the buildings as social homes (see page 104).

This is among other works on the waterfront, including an engineering survey of the West Pier that’s expected to commence before the end of the year.

Other achievements highlighted for the year include works to realign steps on the East Pier, restoration of ratings and the lighthouse on the West Pier, revitalised seating on the ferry terminal plaza and an ongoing repair project on the timber fenders at Berth 4.

Some places remain for the Royal St George Yacht Club’s annual table quiz fundraiser for Dun Laogahire RNLI — this year taking place remotely via Zoom, and open to both club members and the public.

Join quizmaster Sarah Mullen-Rackow and host Mark Ridgway as they boggle your brains in aid of the RNLI from 8pm next Tuesday night 10 November, with fabulous prizes up for grabs.

Under the current Level 5 restrictions, the club will only accept teams of four representing a single household. The entry fee is €40 per team.

The online entry form can be found HERE, and any questions can be directed to Danielle at [email protected]

Published in RStGYC

A new video from Dun Laoghaire RNLI explains the importance of checking the weather and tides before going out for a walk along the coast.

With Ireland's coastal areas getting a lot quieter as autumn begins and as we head towards winter, this can decrease the chances of someone near by spotting you in danger or in difficulty, such as getting caught out by the rising tide.

So, it’s more crucial than ever to plan ahead — and bring a means of communication to call for help if needed.

If you get caught out while walking on the coast, or see someone else getting into difficulty, always call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

In other news, the RNLI has joined up with the RYA for a new series of videos with advise on how to safely enjoy being on the water.

Yachts and Yachting reports that the water safety videos — which will also cover topics such as electronic navigation, the shipping forecast and best practice when riding a personal watercraft — will be shared on the RYA and RNLI’s social media channels.

Published in Water Safety
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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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