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Displaying items by tag: Irish Ferries

#FerryNews -Consolidated revenue at Irish Continental Group (ICG) operator of Irish Ferries, increased by 3.1pc to €288.9m year-on-year in the ten months to 31 October.

Total revenues writes The Independent for the group’s ferries division was €184.4m, a 1.4pc increase on the prior year. The increase in revenue was driven by an increase in the number of cars and container freight that ICG carried.

For the year to 11 November, Irish Ferries carried 385,100 cars, an increase of 2.2pc on the previous year. Freight carryings for the year to 11 November were 247,700 roll-on roll-off, an increase of 0.5pc compared with 2016.

Despite the weakness in sterling, ICG managed to partly mitigate revenues affected by sterling with improvements in its sterling-based costs. However the company said that fuel costs continued to be impacted by higher global fuel prices compared to this time last year.

Total revenues recorded in the group’s container and terminal division recorded in the period to 31 October amounted to €111.2m, a 5.9pc increase on the prior year. For the year to 11 November container freight volumes shipped were up 5.5pc on the previous year at 281,000 teu, with the rate of growth slowing to 3.8pc in the period since 30 June.

Units handled at the group’s terminals in Dublin and Belfast increased 3.2pc year on year to 258,400 lifts. For more on the maritime transport logistics operator, click here.

Published in Ferry

#DailytoFrance - A new sailings schedule from Irish Ferries will be introduced following the arrival in mid-2018 of its new 55,000 tonnes cruise ferry W. B. Yeats currently being built in Flensburg, Germany.

Highlights of the plan will see a doubling in the number of summer sailings between Ireland and France – offering daily departures alternatively from both Dublin and Rosslare ports. This is coupled with an increase in autumn/winter sailings frequency, and an expansion in passenger, car and freight carrying capacities on the company’s prime Ireland – UK route between Dublin and Holyhead.

Described by its managing director, Andrew Sheen, as a plan “to be welcomed by all interests and one that will give a significant boost to Irish tourism and trade”, the proposed new sailings and scheduling arrangements will, he said, “give passengers and freight customers alike, more choice in terms of routes and departure dates, particularly on services to France.”

When delivered, the new W. B. Yeats will be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea. It will have space on board for 1,885 passengers and crew, 1,200 cars in 4kms of vehicle deck space, and 441 cabins, with a variety of cabin grades including luxury suites. A waiter service a la carte restaurant, choice of lounges, an outside promenade deck and a host of entertainment options are amongst its other features.

Ireland – France

On Ireland – France routes, the introduction of W. B. Yeats will enable Irish Ferries to double the current number of sailings between the two countries with planned daily departures in alternate directions.

On the Dublin – Cherbourg route, new arrangements will see the W. B. Yeats operate up to four return sailings weekly on what is becoming an increasingly popular route for the summer season. In parallel, the company’s scheduled services from Rosslare to the French ports of Cherbourg and Roscoff - operated by the cruise ferry Oscar Wilde - will include an increase in the number of summertime departures to the popular Breton port of Roscoff. In the off-peak winter season, the vessel Epsilon will replace the W.B. Yeats providing a year–round service from Dublin to the Continent for both freight and tourism customers.

Ireland – UK

From mid-September next, W. B. Yeats will transfer to the busy Dublin – Holyhead route. There it will take up service alongside the existing Irish Ferries vessel Ulysses to deliver a ‘significant three-fold benefit’ that Irish Ferries believes will be wholly welcomed by tourist, business and import/export customers.

Adding its passenger and vehicle carrying capacity to that of Ulysses – the world’s largest car ferry when introduced in 2001 – the move will see customers benefit from an increase in sailings frequency and an expansion in the passenger, tourist car, coach and freight carrying capacity that its introduction on this busy route will bring. Given this additional investment in the route, the Dublin Swift fast ferry will operate a summer only schedule next year and will return to Irish Sea service in early April 2019.

July 2018 arrival

Looking ahead to the launch of W. B. Yeats and its arrival into Dublin next July, Andrew Sheen said: “the service we envisage post its introduction is one that will raise ferry travel to new levels of luxury, comfort and reliability never before offered in the Irish marketplace”.

”We know our customers will be pleased with our investment and we look forward to welcoming them onboard our new luxury cruise ferry next summer,” he added.

Published in Ferry

Hello and you’re welcome to the weekly MacSweeney Podcast

The procedures and practices involved in the naming of ships once appeared to be the product of evolution and tradition, then became the choice of politicians – at least as far as the Irish Naval Service is concerned - and of on-line polling where the ferry company, Irish Ferries, is involved.

So, there will be two vessels called after the poet William Butler Yeats……

The Naval Service’s L.E. William Butler Years - P63 - is the third of the recent additions to its fleet. Classed for offshore patrol, she cost €71m  and was commissioned a year ago in Galway and named by a granddaughter of the poet.

Irish Ferries has decided to name its new €144m ferry, costing double the price of the Naval vessel and now being built in Germany, also after the poet who was born in Sandymount in Dublin and died in France…. The company says the name will be “important in overseas markets drawing a high degree of recognition” and that it chose ‘WB Yeats’ after an online competition which attracted 100,000 entries.

Managing Director Andrew Sheen said the name “continues the tradition adopted by the company of selecting names from the world of Irish literature.” The name, he said, will “sit comfortably alongside those other great literary figures whose names adorn other vessels in the Irish Ferries fleet” but some of which are registered outside of Ireland – in Cyprus and the Bahamas.

The Government decision, which was opposed by Naval officers past and present and by sections of public opinion, ended the tradition of naming Irish Navy patrol vessels after mythical female figures. It was controversial when the Cabinet ignored Naval opinion. The Department of Defence said the naming of ships after “world renowned literary figures” would “facilitate greater recognition for the Naval Service in the international maritime domain”.

On that score Irish Ferries’management seems to agree….

It is not uncommon in the shipping world for vessels to have similar names, but is generally avoided to prevent confusion. Two ships operating in Irish waters - named after the same Irish poet does invite questions – why – and will the duplication of names cause confusion?

So far, there’s been no comment from the Navy or the Department of Defence on the duplication…

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Irish Ferries has chosen W. B. Yeats as the name for its new €144 million cruise ferry now being built in Germany for service on routes between Ireland, UK and France. The name was chosen after it had drawn ‘strong support’ from the public in an online competition that attracted nearly 100,000 entries.

According to a spokesman: ‘it was clear from the poll that there is widespread public affection for W. B. Yeats, due in the main to the magnificence of his writings and his contribution to Irish society, theatre and the arts generally’.

Acclaimed as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and one of Ireland’s foremost literary figures, W. B. Yeats was born in Dublin and educated in Ireland and London.

Recipient of a Nobel Prize for Literature, he helped to found Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Amongst the poems for which he is most fondly remembered is ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, a composition inspired by his many holiday visits to Sligo, where, in a churchyard beneath Ben Bulben, his remains now rest.

The decision by Irish Ferries to name their new vessel W. B. Yeats is one that continues the tradition adopted by the company of selecting names drawn from the world of Irish literature.

Commenting, its managing director, Andrew Sheen said: “In choosing W. B. Yeats from the many whose works are revered by Irish people and students of literature the world over, we have selected one that will give the new vessel its own distinct identity and stir memories of a poet who is held in high esteem by so many, here and abroad”.

In addition to the weight of public support that W. B. Yeats received, operational factors that influenced its choice included the importance of picking a name that would have a high degree of public recognition and appeal in those overseas markets into which the vessel will operate and from which Ireland draws a significant volume of its tourism and trade.

Ships’ registration, regulation and other operational and legal aspects also ranked amongst the factors that needed to be considered, as was the desire to choose a name that would sit comfortably alongside those other great literary figures whose names adorn other vessels in the Irish Ferries fleet.

Noting that W. B. Yeats is one that will need no introduction to people across the world, Andrew Sheen said: “It is a name that will convey a sense of the magnificence and grandeur that passengers can expect when travelling on our new vessel, sailings of which are expected to commence on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes from mid-Summer next year”.

When built, the W. B. Yeats will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 1,200 cars and 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges and exclusive areas for freight drivers. Pet owners will also be comforted in knowing that dedicated facilities for pets are also being provided on board.

Noteworthy in the context is that Sandymount, where Yeats was born, is located on the city’s southern coastline from where residents can look out upon the shipping channel into Dublin port along which the vessel that will bear his name will sail.

Leitrim woman wins free travel for life after suggesting Yeats’ name

The choice of W. B. Yeats as the name for the new vessel has proven to be a lucky link for Co. Leitrim woman, Lee Maxwell from Manorhamilton. Living close to Yeats’ beloved Co. Sligo, Lee’s good fortune in being chosen from the huge number of participants who suggested the poet’s name is said by Irish Ferries to be proof of what a ‘magical’ choice the name W. B. Yeats is. Picked from the thousands who shared her choice, Lee’s prize of free travel for life will be presented to her shortly.

Published in Ferry
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When it arrives here next July, Irish Ferries says it will be the largest and most luxurious cruise ferry operating on the Irish Sea. Little wonder then that it would be built in a very large shipyard indeed.

Yesterday, Afloat.ie reported on the keel laying ceremony that took place in the shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft where it is being built with a photograph of the Irish Ferries delegation, led by managing director Andrew Sheen, that was present to witness the proud occasion.

In this view of the giant yard taken at the event, a number of those present can be seen dwarfed by the huge keel section as they examine it close up, and by the overall scale of the shipyard building itself in which the new ferry is being built. All going well, the vessel is expected to arrive into Ireland in mid-2018, July being the date mentioned.

Afloat.ie readers have been making suggestions for the new ship's name here

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A delegation of senior Irish Ferries officials today attended the keel laying ceremony for a new €144million, 55,000 tonnes cruise ferry being built on behalf of the company in Flensberg, Germany.

Due to be delivered next July, the new vessel will be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea. It will enter year-round service on the Dublin – Holyhead and Ireland – France routes.

On board, it will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 440 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies, and almost 3km of car deck space. Other facilities will include a Club Class lounge with direct passenger access from the car decks, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shopping mall, choice of bars and lounges, exclusive areas for freight drivers, and dedicated facilities for pets.

In accordance with tradition on such occasions, Andrew Sheen presented the shipyard with a ceremonial coin, specially commissioned by Irish Ferries to mark the occasion, which was placed within the keel section to remain there throughout its construction in order to bring good luck and calm seas for the vessel.

Afloat.ie readers have being suggesting names for the new ferry here, 'Seamus Heaney' is a popular choice and 'Brian Ferry' gave us a chuckle

Published in Ferry
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#StormEwan - Hot on the heels of last week’s Storm Doris, there is further ferry disruption today (Sunday 26 February) as Storm Ewan brings strong gusts to the East Coast.

Irish Ferries has cancelled its 8.45am and 2.30pm sailings from Dublin to Holyhead, as well as its 11.50am and 5.15pm return trips, all on the Swift, due to the adverse weather conditions forecast for the Irish Sea.

Met Éireann has issued a Status Orange national weather warning and gale warning as south to southwest winds are expected to reach Force 8-9 with storm force gusts on coasts from Malin Head to Carnsore Point to Valentia and on the Irish Sea.

Small craft are also warned as west to southwest winds will reach Force 6 or higher from Valentia to Slyne Head to Malin Head.

The most damaging gusts of up to 120kmh are expected along southern coasts, with a wind warning issued for Wexford, Cork, Kerry and Waterford until early this afternoon.

A Status Yellow warning is in place over mean wind speeds upwards of 50kmh and gusts of up to 110km in all other coastal and some Midlands counties in Leinster.

Published in Ferry

#Old&New – Fresh from annual dry-docking is Isle of Inishmore of Irish Ferries, that recently resumed Rosslare-Pembroke duties, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 34,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry had undergone routine maintenance work at A&P Falmouth, Cornwall. This year marks 20 years since Isle of Inishmore made a debut in 1997 for owners, Irish Continental Group. The custom built ship firstly began operations for ICG's ferry division on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

Built by Van der Giessen-de-Noord, Krimpen aan den Ijssel, Rotterdam, Isle of Inishmore carries 2,200 passengers. This makes the cruiseferry still one of the largest in terms of capacity in northern-western Europe. In fact she carries more than that of flagship Ulysses of 1,875, though the larger 50,000 gross tonnage giant carries more cars and trucks.

Last month Isle of Inishmore had relieved Ulysses on the Dublin-Holyhead route, which saw the flagship drydock instead at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. Currently at the Merserside facility is fastferry Jonathan Swift following completion of similar work. The craft having vacated the dry-dock shifted to the nearby wet basin.

Aside shiprepairs, Cammell Laird also build vessels including the £6.2m newbuild, Strangford II which was completed last year for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in Northern Ireland. In recent days reports the Belfast Telegraph, the 28 vehicle ferry finally began service on Strangford Lough following teething problems with vehicle loading ramps as previously reported.

As for Isle of Inishmore’s return to the ferry scene at Rosslare Europort (see report: Irish Rail 30th) this led to relief cruiseferry Oscar Wilde head also for Cornwall. An overhaul of the eldest fleetmember at the south-west UK shipyard will be carried out prior to taking up seasonal service to Cherbourg, France that begins on 1 March.

The fifth member of Irish Ferries fleet, the chartered-in ropax, Epsilon has in recent weeks carried out freight-only runs between Dublin and Rosslare. They have taken place in between routine rosters on weekly Dublin-Holyhead sailings. In addition the Italian flagged ropax sailings on the year-round operated Irish capital-continent connection to Cherbourg.

This morning Epsilon docked at the Normandy port. At the same time French service rival, Stena Line (albeit serving out of Rosslare) saw relief ropax Stena Nordica also make an in-bound call.

Published in Ferry

#Overhauls- Ulysses flagship of Irish Ferries departed today fresh from annual overhaul having dry-docked at Cammel Laird, Birkenhead on Merseyside, writes Jehan Ashmore.

From Birkenhead the 50,000 gross tonnage Ulysses the 1,875 passenger/ 1,342 car capacity giant proceeded in the early hours along the north Wales coast to Holyhead. The repositioning passage is understood to have almost taken seven hours with an arrival at Anglesey just after 08.00hrs.

Currently occupying a dry-dock of the Merseyside facility is that of Dublin-Holyhead fleetmate, high-speed craft HSC Jonathan Swift. The 800 passenger/200 cars fastferry is also undergoing routine maintenance work. Launched in 1999 as an Austal built Auto Express 86m fastcraft ferry in Fremantle Australia, the 5,000 tonnes catamaran is the only such type of vessel operating between Ireland and the UK.

For almost two decades the ‘Dublin Swift’ as she is marketed has been the workhorse of the Irish Sea operating on the 1 hour 49 minute crossing. Each crossing is at 40knots /80kph on the 60 nautical miles / 111 Kms route which totals annually to an impressive 162,000 Kms.

There is another fastcraft, Manannan but this ferry only operates between the Isle of Man and Liverpool and seasonal calls elsewhere to include Dublin Port.

Providing sailing coverage whilst Ulysses was off service and now that of Jonathan Swift fast is that of Isle of Inishmore which in recent weeks was transferred from Rosslare-Pembroke. The cruiseferry having taken the roster of Ulysses. This is set to change as Ulysses resumes on an afternoon crossing bound to Dublin, permitting Isle of Inishmore to also receive attention of annual overhaul.

Taking her place on the Rosslare-Pembroke service since late last year so to cover demands of seasonal capacity on the busy Dublin route, is Oscar Wilde which does not sail at this time of year to France. The cruiseferry however is to resume service with a crossings from the Wexford port to Cherbourg beginning in March.

Returning to the Dublin-Holyhead route which is also operated by ropax Epsilon. As previously reported on Afloat, the chartered Italian flagged ferry made her first sailing of 2017 on the weekend round trip Dublin-Cherbourg connection.

 

Published in Ferry

#FrenchFerry - The first sailing in 2017 of Epsilon on the Ireland-France route of Dublin-Cherbourg operated by Irish Ferries took place yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Under overcast skies yet flat calm seas, Epsilon departed Dublin Bay in mid-afternoon where the only vessel at anchorage was asphalt/bitumen tanker Iver Ability. The 106m ship is at the centre of cargo ‘issues’ following an investigation of a fire due to a reaction on board during tranport of bitumen into Dublin Port last summer and has since remained at anchor.

The New Year marks as the fifth year of the chartered Italia flagged Epsilon under Irish Ferries operations but based on ‘economy’ class service on the French route. Three months into service the prefix of the ropax name, Cartour Epsilon was dropped. This was to remove the connection with previous operator, Caronte & Tourist SPA, Italy from where she served routes to Sicily.

At the time of posting Epsilon is docked in Cherbourg having completed the 17 hour 30 minute crossing from Dublin Port with an arrival this morning. As of this afternoon in the Normandy port is where rival Stena Line’s ropax, Stena Horizon departed and is bound for Rosslare tomorrow morning. Also in port is Brittany Ferries Barfleur one of several in the fleet serving on the English Channel in this context Cherbourg-Poole.

In addition the ropax 500 passenger/500 car capacity Epsilon serves during the week Dublin-Holyhead crossings and is due to dock in Dublin tomorrow morning before resuming such duties. Epsilon supports Walsh route regulars the fastcraft Jonathan Swift and flagship Ulysses currently off service, see report on Cammell Laird.

Taking the roster of Ulysses is routine Rosslare-Pembroke ferry Isle of Inishmore which in turn has been replaced on the southern corridor by Oscar Wilde. The cruiseferry during the winter does not operate out of Rosslare routes to France but is scheduled to resume service at the start of March, albeit only serving Cherbourg. The seasonal-only shorter route to Roscoff resuming in May.

Epsilon (E) is the name given to the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet which is apt given the ropax is also the firth vessel to join the current Irish Ferries fleet serving the UK and France. The flagship Ulysses resembles the appearance of a €144m cruiseferry on order to Flensburger Schiffbau (FSG) scheduled for delivery in May 2018. Emissions 'scrubber' technology is not included in the contract price.

The 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew. The newbuild will have 435 cabins, 2,800 lane metres of freight vehicle space with room for 165 freight vehicles and an additional dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars.

According to Irish Continental Group (ICG), parent company of Irish Ferries, the cruiseferry will be designed to best meet the operational seasonality of their business. ICG commented that it is likely that the new cruiseferry will be introduced on routes served by Epsilon. 

The same German shipyard have recently received a letter of intent from Brittany Ferries to construct a 42,000 tonnes newbuild notably powered by liquefied natural gas LNG, a first for the Breton based operator. The 42,000 tonnes cruiseferry scheduled for delivery in May 2019 is to serve on the English Channel. The route is also from Normandy on the Caen (Oustreham)-Portsmouth link.
 
In April this year Brittany Ferries will reopen the seasonal Cork-Roscoff sailings served by flagship, Pont-Aven. Last season the cruiseferry was fitted with sulphur emission ‘scrubbers’ to meet an EU Sulphur Directive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Published in Ferry
Page 6 of 18

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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