Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Dun Laoghaire

#dlregatta – Anyone who thinks they're comprehending all the action and the full story in the continuing, colour-filled and action-packed sailfest in Dublin Bay clearly hasn't been there. You can only grasp quick visual and mental snapshots of specific classes and the sport in their racing areas, and then not only is what you're observing changing by the minute – or more accurately by the second – but something else intervenes, some other completely different boat class or incident swings into view, and you have to adjust your mind-set in jig time.

The final results of each race may put some meaning on it all. But for devotees of the unique Dublin Bay sailing scene, the results are only the tip of the iceberg. W M Nixon tells us he wouldn't presume to try to makes sense of it all, so this is just a personal take on a mega-event.

The laws of Camelot seem to prevail in Dublin Bay during these precious, priceless few days. You'll remember that in Camelot the rain is only permitted to fall at night. Well, the Camelot Code has been adhered to so far. And while there is undoubtedly rain expected from the west later today, with any luck the racing will have been completed, any heavy precipitation will pass harmlessly through during darkness, and tomorrow's final morning of racing will be sailed in that special crystal clear sunlit air which follows a damp Irish night.

We can only hope so. At the moment, as Evelyn Cusack so helpfully told us on Thursday night on RTE1 Weather, the Jetstream is swirling along vigorously, and it's close to the southward off the south coast of Ireland, creating distinctly unstable conditions.

But while the weather has been grim out west, we've seen the East Coast effect working well. You may think Wexford is Ireland's sunniest county, and so it is. But the Dublin area is the driest. Rain coming across Ireland is losing its strength as it approaches Kildare, and by the time the cloud reaches the lower Liffey Valley, that's all it is – cloud.

However, other factors are in play at this time of year, and with a bit of sunshine southerly breezes can become southeasterly sea breezes of considerable power. But the lawmakers of Camelot were so busy keeping the rain in order that they overlooked wind strengths altogether. So for the first two days, conditions have been a little brisker than some would have wished, and yesterday saw postponement for the smaller boats, but the cruiser classes were expected to slug it out as usual.

It was all a bit too much of everything, and further to complicate thing, I found myself on the opening day racing aboard a boat for which, for once, the word "iconic" is the only one that will do.

We've been following the story of Huff of Arklow and her restoration here on for quite some time now. But as ever, the old Chinese saying that seeing something once is worth hearing about it a hundred times was proven abundantly true when Huff came sailing out of Belfast docks amidst the tall Ships on Sunday. Here indeed was the unique and authentic Uffa Fox design, as built by Jack Tyrrell and his craftsmen in Arklow in 1951.

The real deal. Huff of Arklow with the Norwegian Tall Ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl on Belfast Lough last Sunday. Photo: W M Nixon

Doing what she does best. Huff of Arklow returns to Dublin Bay, as seen from the Baily at lunchtime Wednesday, after a record reaching passage from Ardglass Photo: W M Nixon

Describing her as authentic is the key to it. Since leaving Dublin Bay around 1970, Huff had undergone previous restorations, and had also survived an arson attack which miraculously left her hull intact but led to a further restoration which somehow lost the character of the boat even more.

But then in 2001 she started on the road back to a genuine restoration by being taken on by Uffa Fox enthusiast Andrew Thornhill of Bristol, who in turn saw to it that she was taken under the wing of a new classic yacht organization called Cremyll Keel Boats run by Dominic and Barbara Bridgman, and operating out of the old Mashford's boatyard at Cremyll on Plymouth Harbour.

They've re-created the flavour of Huff, they've re-captured her spirit, and in making their Dublin Bay debut at the Royal St George YC in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015, they've paid their proper respects to the remarkable Douglas Heard.

In addition to being the founding President of the Irish Dinghy Racing Association in 1946, he was Commodore Royal St George YC 1960-1965, where his five innovative years in the top job were also his busy final five years with the Huff of Arklow, which he cruised and raced very extensively, with Iceland, the Azores and Portugal being visited by the distinctive dark blue boat from Ireland.

hu4.jpgHome again – Huff of Arklow at the Royal St George YC, where she was the Commodore's yacht from 1960 to 1965. Photo: W M Nixon

"Distinctive" is scarcely adequate. You'll never see anything like Huff. Basically, she's a double-size Flying Fifteen with a raised foredeck which comes well aft of amidships in order to provide impressive accommodation, and yet the low racing-style freeboard of a Flying Fifteen was retained down aft to give the new boat a very unusual appearance when she emerged from Tyrrell's yard in the spring of 1951.

But then they were used to "Mr Heard's new boat" being unusual down in Arklow, for in line with Uffa Fox's requirements, she was built with the hull upside-down in double diagonal planking. And among those who were there for Huff's welcome reception from Commodore Justin McKennna and the Royal St George members on Wednesday was Billy Murray of Arklow, who'd worked on the boat as a young trainee shipwright all those 64 years ago, and he remembered clearly that the lower freeboard aft was to help the owner get aboard the boat at moorings.

Billy Murray of Arklow, who worked on the building of Huff in the winter of 1950-51. Photo: W M Nixon

For Douglas Heard had been a wounded veteran (and a pensioner) of World War I since the age of 18, and was severely disabled in one leg. But he never let it impair his lifestyle, his zest in new things, his joy in sailing the sea, and his deep interest in boats. This was so total that he extended his seasons afloat with additional active involvement with the inland waterways.

As to how Huff performed, oddly enough she was better at cruising than racing, as she had this roomy accommodation which is very comfortable at sea, and with sheets eased she can go like a train – she arrived into Dun Laoghaire on Wednesday afternoon after a storming reach in a strong nor'wester from Ardglass in less than nine hours.

Aboard again. Ruth Heard, who sailed with her late husband Douglas on Huff of Arklow to the Azores, in the saloon with Dominic Bridgman Photo: W M Nixon

For a boat of her type, Huff of Arklow has remarkably roomy accommodation. Photo: W M Nixon

But for racing in Dublin Bay in her prime, her relatively small area of sail and her quite extensive wetted area meant that she could be sluggish in light airs, she was not at all happy to windward in a sea lumpier than the wind strength merited, and her lack of sharpness on a beat could leave her with a lot of work to do once sheets were eased.

So ideally what we would have needed on Thursday was a nice coastal course with lots of reaching. But of course, what we got was two rounds of a windward-leeward slugging match out on the middle of the bay, and the long old blue lady not at all enjoying tacking duels, and being embarrassed by having many smaller boats snapping around her heels.

A dream comes true. Uffa Fox enthusiast Andrew Thornhill at the helm of Huff of Arklow, restored and returned to Dublin Bay after 45 years. Photo: W M Nixon

hu9.jpgWill we clear them....? With Huff of Arklow charging along on port tack towards a gaggle of smaller more manoeuvrable boats on starboard, Dominic Bridgman has to make the call...... Photo: W M Nixon

hu10.jpg......and he has his wife Barbara to help him get it right. Photo: W M Nixon

Then things settled down a bit and we'd rather a good race with John Raughter's cheekily-named Fulmar 32 Chase Me from Bray SC. But this wasn't in the script at all. Chase Me wasn't even in our class. She was the next class down. However, despite there being 29 different classes in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2015, there wasn't a division for classics, as there doesn't seem to be a significant demand for this in Dublin Bay. And anyway, they'd need their own racing area exclusively for themselves, as many of them have highly individual handling characteristics.

So on a day when Quarter Tonners were dropping masts and our old girl with her veteran sails was at no stage being provided with her favourite point of sailing, we had to take our sport where were could find it. And if it was eventually with Cruiser Class 4 rather than our allocated Cruiser Class 3, so be it. Like the whaling skipper who went right round the world without so much as sighting a whale, let alone catching one, we had a helluva fine sail. And believe me, when Huff of Arklow came to the weather mark for the first time on this her first race in Dublin Bay in 45 years, there was pause for thought. But the old boat just tramped steadily on – she's seen it all before.

hu11.jpgQuite a moment. Huff of Arklow comes to the weather mark in a Dublin Bay race for the first time in 45 years. Photo: W M Nixon

hu12.jpgNot quite according to the script. We ended up having good sport with the Fulmar 32 Chase Me from Bray, even if she was in another class. Photo: W M Nixon

hu13.jpgYou win some, you lose some, you drop some....... On a day when Quarter Tonners were dumping their sticks, it was good to keep a 64-year-old boat in one piece and still racing. Photo: W M Nixon

Thanks to our finish being out in the middle of the bay, your columnist had the opportunity to steer Huff hard on the wind back to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. With her long slim hull and separate skeg-hung rudder, you get the impression she wouldn't turn round out of control to look at you in the manner of modern high-volume boats. But she's remarkably sensitive to fine tuning to take the weight off the helm. In order to make the harbour mouth without tacking, I asked Dominic for an extra little grind on the jib sheet, and Huff immediately responded by showing a slight hint of lee helm. But a tiny bit of haul on the mainsheet, and she was back on virtually neutral helm, with just the essential though barely perceptible weather helm required for a thoroughbred.

With a bit of help from the first of the new ebb, we made it through the harbor mouth without tacking, which provided leisure to savour the scene. You never get tired of sailing into Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and when the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is in full swing at the end of a day's racing, it's like a continuously-changing living boat show with craft of every size and shape going hither and yon, while zooming through them the foiling Moths were having themselves a tremendous time on an in-harbour course.

We came into the Berth of Honour on the pontoons at the Royal St George, and the club's Rear Commodore Sailing, Frank O'Beirne, came down to see if all was well while our ship's company seemed to find themselves talking to just about everyone on the many boats coming in close past our berth, yet somehow they also got on with the sacred task of Milling the Prosecco. It didn't take too long to decide that Huff of Arklow had just won the Flying Thirty Worlds 2015.


Banter time. By the time the Squbs were coming in after their race to glide close past Huff of Arklow in her Berth of Honour at the Royal St George, it had been discovered we'd just won the Flying Thirty Worlds 2015. Photo: W M Nixon

Published in W M Nixon

#dlregatta – George Sisk's Farr 42 'Wow' that was crowned ICRA Division Zero champion last month has won the opening coastal race of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta this afternoon. The Royal Irish entry took the lead in the impressive 25 boat IRC offshore division in choppy seas and 20–knot winds. Second was the canting keel Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners skippered by Adrian Lee. Third was another east coast boat, the J122 Aquelina skippered by James Tyrrell of Arklow. 

Among the fleets participating, Howth Yacht Club's Storm skippered by Pat Kelly took an early lead in the J109 National Championships being sailed as part of the 2015 regatta. 

The Howth entry made the most of a strong sea breeze gusting to 20 knots that delivered championship conditions and got all 29 classes off to a prompt start on Dublin Bay.

3000 sailors are racing in the four day regatta, the biggest sailing event in Ireland this year. Last night no less than 17 protests were heard. There were a number of collisions and a number of rescues inlcuding one for a crew with a reported dislocated shoulder.

Second in the 11–boat J109 fleet was the National Yacht Club's Something Else skippered by John Hall with third place going to recently crowned Irish Cruiser (ICRA) Division One champion, Joker II (John Maybury).

Conditions could not have been more different than the first race this time two years ago when light winds frustrated sailors in the biennial event.IMG_0287.jpg

Pat Kelly's Storm has taken an early lead in the J109 National Championships and (below) neck and neck with Joker II with only yards to a hectic drop-gybe-round leeward mark



Wildwood, a 2014 Round Ireland Race competitor, sailed by Ian Patterson of East Antrim is racing in the 25-boat IRC coastal class

Today was equally as testing but for completely different reasons as sailors dealt with choppy seas and gusty conditions that led to a number of collisions and gear damage.

Racing is being staged until Sunday over five separate courses for a combined fleet of 415 boats, with over 180 visiting yachts from 69 yacht clubs.

An impressive line up of eight class zero boats has made Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta one of the biggest turnout this year for the near 40–footers. What's even more impressive is the fleet has been drawn entirely from outside the Bay. First blood has gone to Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice, just one of four entries from Cork Harbour. Second is returning Scottish entry from the Clyde, Roxstar, the XP38i, skippered by Jonathan Anderson. The 2013 winner of the overall Volvo trophy Nigel Biggs is back and sailing this year in class zero in a new C&C 30 design and placed sixth.


The new C&C30 designed by Mark Mills of Wicklow debuted in Class Zero -'s photo boat clocked her at 18–knots

Visitors also top class one's 18-boat fleet with the Beneteau First 36.7 Wildfire (DJ O'Malley) from Royal Northern Yacht Club leading from Fairlie Yacht club's MAT 1010 Now or Never. Third is local boat Boomerang, the Kirwan family's Beneteau 36.7, from the Royal St. George Yacht Club.


The Irish National Sailing School's Reflex 38 was going well in Division one until the jib halyard broke. Team INSS will be back in action on Friday as will these J109s below...



Yachts are sailing different courses including trapezoid, windward leeward, and triangular course configurations. 

In the one design and dinghy divisions, sailing in the west or the north west of Dublin bay, there were plenty of familiar names at the top of the fleets.

Royal Ulster's Paul Prentice leads an impressive 16-boat Sigma 33 fleet, Ian Mathews the Flying Fifteens, Vincent Delany the Squibs and in an impressive 35–boat turnout for the GP14s, Ballyholme Yacht Club's Ruan O'Tiarnaigh and Niamh McCormick lead.

Unfortunately, a first race collision with a Beneteau 21 on the same course has almost certainly put Flying Fifteen contenders Ben Mulligan and Alan Green out of the regatta.

Sailing in Seapoint Bay, with a 150-160 degree wind, a seven boat Fireball dinghy fleet
sailed two races and Conor Clancy leads with a first and a third.

Racing continues tomorrow (Friday)

Published in Volvo Regatta
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#dlregatta – Defending Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) 'Boat of the Week' Champion skipper Nigel Biggs returns to Dublin Bay next week for Ireland's biggest regatta. The Irish Times reports this morning on Biggs' new boat and an impressive debut at the Round the Island Race in Cowes last weekend.

UK–based Biggs hit a top speed of 18.3 knots downwind off the Isle of Wight, enough to put him 29th fastest monohull out of some 1800 competing on elapsed time in his new Mark Mills-designed American-built C & C 30 One Design. As Afloat reported previously, Biggs' new Checkmate XVI is the newest boat in the 415–boat Dun Laoghaire fleet. Read more in the Irish Times Sailing Column here.


Published in Volvo Regatta

#cruiseberth – Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company on behalf of the Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group will submit its planning application for a new cruise berth facility at Dun Laoghaire Harbour to An Bord Pleanála on Friday, 3rd July.

The planning application is being submitted as a strategic infrastructure project, and members of the public can review the planning application and associated environmental impact report – free of charge - from 9th July in the offices of An Board Pleanála on Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 or at the civic offices of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. In addition, a dedicated website,, will contain all the relevant documentation. Once the documentation becomes available for public review, members of the public will also have an opportunity to submit their observations on the plans to An Bord Pleanála.

Plans for the new cruise berth facility have been developed so that Dun Laoghaire Harbour can accommodate next generation cruise ships. More on this here from W M Nixon.

The Dún Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group is made up of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company; Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council; and the Dún Laoghaire Bid Company. Ahead of finalising its plans, the Stakeholder Group carried out a pre-planning public consultation in April. Since then, the plans have been modified to reflect the consultation with harbour users, and the general public.

Speaking ahead of submitting the planning application, CEO of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Gerry Dunne said: "The cruise industry is an important and growing sector of the tourism market. Cruise ships are getting bigger in size, offering more facilities to passengers, but requiring deeper water and longer berths to accommodate them. Over 50% of new ships currently on order are over 300m in length. At present Cobh is the only port in Ireland that can accommodate these vessels at any time. This means that Ireland, as a whole, is losing out on a growing and lucrative tourism market.

"At present, Dun Laoghaire must provide tendering services to large cruise ships in order to bring passengers to land. This is a cumbersome approach, and is a negative factor for many cruise operators. Indeed, in recent weeks, Dun Laoghaire has lost a number of cruise calls to Dublin Port; these large cruise ships can now reverse up the Liffey during high tide. In changing their berthing plans to Dublin Port, cruise operators have been very clear that their only reason for the change rests with the convenience of bringing passengers right on to a berth, both from a safety and efficiency point of view.

"The plans for a suitable berthing facility will put Dun Laoghaire in a prime position to attract cruise business. As a harbour, Dun Laoghaire has been mandated by the Government to exploit its potential as a marine leisure facility, and winning and developing cruise business is a central part of our work in this regard," added Mr Dunne.

Under the plans submitted to An Bord Pleanála, the following will be among the features that will be considered:

· A 435 metre pier, with an underpass to cater for the passage of club launches.

· Dredging of an access channel from outside the Harbour to St Michael's Pier, including a 500m diameter turning circle outside the Harbour mouth.

· A shared-use public and pedestrian zone adjacent to the existing Marina and connecting to the Marina Eastern Breakwater.

· A new high-quality footpath along Harbour Road.

· Ancillary site and landscape works.

Published in Dublin Bay
Tagged under

#RNLI - Ireland's second busiest coastal lifeboat station is still without a pontoon for the safe boarding and alighting of crew and casualties, as the Sunday Independent reports.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI still uses a motor tender to transfer between the lifeboat station next to the National Yacht Club and its all-weather lifeboat anchored in the harbour.

This has proved to be a safety issue in the past, with one crew member breaking an arm while boarding the lifeboat in rough weather four years ago.

Lifeboat volunteers are also forced to use the NYC's pontoon when bringing casualties ashore, which can be problematic when its berths are full such as in the summer season.

The newspaper highlights the projected €200,000 cost of funding a dedicated launch pontoon for the lifeboat station compared to the multimillion investments around it as part of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Masterplan, including an urban beach and a proposed new cruise liner berth.

The Sunday Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#ClassicBoats - An art conservationist is turning his hand to a restoration of a different kind - in the form of a vintage boat.

Simone Mancini, head of conservation at the National Gallery of Ireland, began work on restoring the hull of an old boat named Kara Third a couple of years ago.

And as the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company website reports, he's now working on topsides for the hull that's now complete and looking as good as if not better than new.

"It has been a long enduring and rewarding process which required specific knowledge (here in big trouble) as much as passion (I was fine with it)," writes Mancini about his project.

"Talking to people who know a lot about this matter, necessarily becomes part of the process. Always told: it is a true labour of love, isn’t it?"

Though the Kara Third is a "work still in progress", it's remarkable to behold what an amateur in the boat restoration world has achieved thus far.

#waterwags – On 3rd June conditions were ideal for a Water Wag race within the full width of Dun Laoghaire Harbour, with a six–knot easterly breeze and warm Summer conditions. Unfortunately between the five minute gun and the start, the wind disappeared completely for the twenty three Wags racing for the 100th. Anniversary Trophy (division 1A) , and the historic pictures (division 1B and 2).

Some competitors realized that a new wind might come from the north-east and found space of the start line to tack onto port tack, and found a 'Get-out-of-jail-card'. They were Cathy MacAleavey's 'Mollie', Tim Pearson's 'Little Tern', William Prentice's 'Tortoise', Frank Guy's 'Gavotte', and Orla Fitzgerald's 'Eva'. This group found a light breeze which quickly took them away from the bulk of the fleet which was still floundering on the start line. The lead group rounded the first windward mark, and flew their spinnakers on the return to the leeward gate. On the downwind leg a new stronger breeze came in from the east which compacted the fleet; in particular Richard Mossop's 'Polly' was a beneficiary. By the time the fleet had reached the leeward gate for the third time the wind pressure went soft again, allowing 'Tortoise' to put pressure on 'Mollie.' However, the leader managed to defend her position. At the finish the positions were:

1st. Mollie, No. 41, Cathy MacAleavey & Con Murphy (winner division IA)
2nd. Tortoise, No. 42, William & Linda Prentice.
3rd. Little Tern, No. 36, Tim & Marcus Pearson.
4th. Gavotte, No.25, Frank Guy & Owen McNally.
5th. Pansy, No. 3, Vincent Delany & Noelle Breen.
6th. Sara, No.30, Paul & Ann Smith (winner division 1B)
7th. Good Hope, No.18, Hal Sisk & Sue Westrup.
8th. Swift, No.38, Guy Kilroy.
9th. Alfa, No. 12, Michael Donohoe.
10th. Vela, No.4, Brian Bond & Philip Mayne.
11th. Polly, No.31, Richard Mossop, (winner division 2.)
12th. Barbara, No. 8, Ian & Judith Malcolm.
13th. Penelope, No.16, Fergus Cullen & Alice Walsh.
14th. Maureen, No.23, Killian Skay & Liz Croxon.
15th. Scallywag, No.44, Dan O'Connor & David Williams.
16th. Freddie, No.43, David Corcoran & Bairbre Stewart.
17th. Ethna, No. 1, Bill Nolan.
18th. Chloe, No. 34, Kate O'Leary
19th. Sprite, No. 10, Adrian Masterson.
20th. Swallow, No.40, David & Anne Clarke.
21st. Marcia, No. 37, Ben McCormick
22nd. Eros, No. 08, Gail Varian & Gavan.
Retired, Nandor, No. 26, Harry Croxon & Stuart McBean.

Published in Racing
Tagged under

#TallShips - Dun Laoghaire Marina has put out a reminder to watch for a special visitor to the harbour this coming Thursday 28 May in the shape of the tall ship Kaskelot.

The Baltic Trader, which dates from 1948, was converted to replicate a traditional barque for film and TV productions such as Return to Treasure Island and Shackleton, and later restored at Gloucester's historic docks.

More recently Kaskelot has been touring the British Isles for the summer season, departing Bristol on 14 March with stops in Plymouth, Poole, Weymouth and Fowey before a cross-channel jaunt to the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany, then back north to Liverpool for the Sound City Music Festival, from where she sets sail to Dublin this week.

It's just a flying visit, though, as Kaskelot is due in Dartmouth on 6 June. The ship's official website has more HERE.

Page 14 of 47

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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