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Displaying items by tag: Largs

Pagers sounded for Largs RNLI’s volunteers yesterday afternoon (Thursday 27 May) after reports over VHF radio of a vessel on fire off Inverkip, on the Firth of Clyde in western Scotland.

The inshore lifeboat made best speed to the scene shortly after the 2.15pm alert, and on arrival learned that another boat had taken the crew from the casually vessel had them in tow to nearby Inverkip Marina.

It was established the crew of the casualty vessel had extinguished the fire and as the danger was now over, with no injuries reported, the lifeboat returned to station.

Much earlier yesterday, off Scoland’s east coast, Stonehaven RNLI launched the aid of a sailing vessel with engine problems.

The vessel was heading north under sail and had reached Dunnottar Castle, just south of Stonehaven, when the wind dropped at around 1am. Attempts were made to start the engine, but these were not successful.

The crew of the inshore lifeboat Jamie Hunter escort a sailing vessel with engine trouble into Stonehaven Harbour | Credit: RNLIThe crew of the inshore lifeboat Jamie Hunter escort a sailing vessel with engine trouble into Stonehaven Harbour | Credit: RNLI

As concerns grew that the tide might pull the boat towards the rocky coast, the UK Coastguard called out the station’s inshore lifeboat Jamie Hunter, which was launched at 4am.

After reaching the vessel and confirming its two crew members were safe and well, Largs RNLI put mechanic Paul Sim on board to assess the situation and he was able to get limited power from the engine — which allowed the vessel to be escorted into Stonehaven Harbour just after 7am.

Speaking just after the callout, lifeboat helm Andy Martin said: “It was certainly an early morning pager call for our volunteer crew, and they quickly got to the scene.

“It had the potential to become quite dangerous for the sailing vessel, but Paul’s mechanical experience and expertise came in very handy.

“We are pleased to have been able to help and the situation worked out with everyone recovered safe and well.”

In other lifeboat news from Scotland, Tobermory RNLI launched on Wednesday (26 May) following a report of a semi-submerged kayak with a dry bag in Sanna Bay, Ardnamurchan.

File image of Tobermory RNLI’s Severn Class lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Sam JonesFile image of Tobermory RNLI’s Severn Class lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Sam Jones

Stornoway Coastguard confirmed that the kayak had been reported to have been washed out to sea from Loch Scavaig on the Isle of Skye and that there were no missing persons.

The lifeboat crew recovered the kayak and dry bag and transported them to Kilchoan where they were left in the care of the local Coastguard Rescue Team.

The shout came six days after a callout to a yacht which had lost its drive in the Sound of Mull last Thursday evening, 20 May. The lifeboat met the yacht at the entrance to Tobermory Bay and, using an alongside tow, assisted it to berth at the harbour pontoons.

Tobermory RNLI station coxswain David McHaffie said: “In both of these incidents, the people involved made the correct call and contacted the coastguard so that we were able to respond in good time. We would much rather be called out too early than too late.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Largs Yacht Haven in Ayrshire has been awarded the marina industry’s top accreditation, the Five Gold Anchor award, for the fourth time in a row.

The Gold Anchor award scheme rates the quality, level of service and overall standard of a marina’s offering. Marinas are assessed every three years meaning that Largs Yacht Haven has now carried the industry’s highest accreditation for over 12 years.

In 2017, as previously reported by Afloat, Largs Yacht Haven won the UK's Coastal Marina of the Year Award.

Since their previous inspection, Largs Yacht Haven has had major capital investment to ensure the marina remained at a high level. Recent investments included a new surfaced car park with a number plate recognition service for berth holders, new finger pontoons and an upgrade of all Wi-Fi hardware and infrastructure. These investments have helped ensure the marina remains an option for national and international events with various sailing fleets visiting Largs over the past few years.

New for this year’s assessment, marinas are highly scrutinised over their environmental impact. Particular attention is paid to the range of events and general awareness of environmental impacts. The assessor paid credit to Largs’ efforts in this area saying;

“Largs Yacht Haven is a true water sports centre; a nautical village in its own right. Largs Yacht Haven and Largs Sailing Club have helped put Largs on the map as a water sports destination with international allure. Largs Yacht Haven breathes respect for nature… it is green in both the literal and figurative sense. Environmental awareness is obvious throughout the marina, while the marina manager and marina team lead by example.”

– TYHA Assessor, 2019

Marina Manager Carolyn Elder has managed Largs Yacht Haven for over 30 years. Carolyn believes this year’s accreditation is extra special due to the current economic climate; “Just like many other businesses, we’re being forced to find new ways to attract customers, while working more efficiently and ensuring our business is as environmentally-aware as possible. Marinas need constant care, maintenance and improvement so we’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised across the board.”

Next year promises to be another exciting year at Largs Yacht Haven. The Visit Scotland Year of Coast And Water 2020 will coincide with the return of Fife Regatta in June, as well as D Zero Nationals, Optimist Nationals, Largs Regatta Festival and the RYA Zone Championships.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Largs Yacht Haven in Scotland has won the UK Coastal Marina of the Year award at the London Boat Show. 

The Yacht Harbour Association (THYA), a group association within membership organisation of British Marine, announced the winners of its prestigious Marina of the Year Awards. Now in its fourth year, the Awards, sponsored by GJW, recognise the best of over 160 Gold Anchor accredited marinas from round the world.

The winning marinas are voted for by their berth holders in the UK Coastal, UK Inland, International and Superyacht categories.

The Marina of the Year 2017 winners and runners up were:

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (over 250 berths)
· Winner – Largs Yacht Haven

· Runner up – MDL Torquay Marina

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (under 250 berths)
· Winner – Poole Quay Boat Haven

· Runner up – Portavadie Marina

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2017
· Winner – Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina

· Runner up – MDL Windsor Marina

International Marina of the Year 2017
· Winner – Karpaz Gate Marina

· Runner up – Royal Cork Yacht Club

Superyacht Marina of the year 2017
· Winner – IGY Isle de Sol

· Runner up – Talise Pavilion Marina

Carolyn Elder, Marina Manager at Largs Yacht Haven, commented upon receiving the award: “What a way to start 2017, we’re absolutely thrilled! I must praise our entire Haven Team for their hard work. It is our staff who really set our marina apart by setting extremely high standards and delivering an incredible service to our berth holders.”

“What makes this Award extra special is that it was voted for by boat owners in the UK. We have been overwhelmed by the comments and votes we received. We’re extremely grateful to our berth holders and visiting boat owners who voted for us.”

Craig Cochran, Marina and Facilities Operations Manager at Portavadie Marina, also commented: “We’ve been blessed with such a beautiful location and the foresight of the owners to build this wonderful development on Argyll’s Secret Coast, but it’s the staff and customers that really make the place come alive. We’d like to wish everyone a great boating season and look forward to welcoming old friends and new visitors in 2017!”

This year saw the launch of the accolade Marina of Distinction. This honour distinguishes a marina with over three consecutive years of continual customer service excellence, as voted for by its customers in the Marina of the Year competition. To qualify, marinas must rank a category finalist over three consecutive competitions. On the third year, they would automatically receive the title of Marina of Distinction.

The first marinas to receive this honour in 2017 are:

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (over 250 berths)
· Mayflower Marina

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2017 (under 250 berths)
· Southampton Town Quay

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2017
· Overwater Marina

International Marina of the Year 2017
· Marina de Vilamoura

Superyacht Marina of the year 2017
· Porto Montenegro

Remarking on the accolade, Charles Bush, Managing Director at Mayflower Marina, said: “This is unexpected and fantastic news for Mayflower Marina. It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award; I am delighted for my staff and hugely grateful to our berth holders and visitors for their unstinting support over the years.”

Janet & Angus Maughan, Owners of Overwater Marina, also stated: "We, and the whole team at Overwater Marina are absolutely delighted to receive this Award. It's made all the more special by virtue of the fact it is voted for by our customers."

To commemorate their achievement, winners and runners up of the Awards, as well as receivers of Marina of Distinction, were presented with laser etched glass trophies and framed certificates by David Perfect, Managing Director of GJW, and Sarah Hanna, Chairman of The Yacht Harbour Association.

Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, commented: “A huge congratulations to all the winners, runners up and all marinas who were voted for in the 2017 Marina of the Year competition. The array of marinas who stood out in this year’s competition showed how strong the today’s marina industry is at achieving, and in some cases exceeding, the modern consumer’s standard of quality service and excellent facilities.

“The new Marina of Distinction accolade goes one further, honouring outstanding long-term customer service. We are delighted this year to be awarding five marinas from across the world for the first time with the title of Marina of Distinction.”

Published in Irish Marinas
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#dragon – The opening day of the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup in Largs certainly lived up to the Clyde's reputation for being able to deliver almost every weather condition within a matter of moments. The weather gods threw everything from less than three to almost thirty knots at the twenty strong International Dragon fleet in rapid succession and Race Officer Chris Hadden and the Scottish Sailing Institute's Race Committee did an excellent job of keeping up with the conditions to provide two terrific opening races.

By the end of the day it was no surprise to see that experience counts for a lot and in the overall standings Julia Bailey, sailing GBR720 Aimee, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR761 Jerboa, lead the regatta on equal points with Aimee just edging ahead on count back thanks to her win in the opening race.

The winner of the second race by a handsome margin was Bocci Aoyama's JAP50 Yeavis, which puts him into third overall, three points behind the ladies and two points ahead of Martin Payne in GBR789 Bear. In fifth place overall and just a single point behind Bear is Patrick Gifford sailing GBR515 Basilisk, who is also the leading Corinthian (all amateur) boat.

The day had begun with a thirty minute postponement in sub three knots. Finally the breeze filled in a little, but as the Race Committee were in the throws of starting the first race a "White water wall", as Gavia described it, rolled down the Clyde and before long the fleet were in big seas and almost 30 knots of breeze.

The first beat was close to survival conditions and the first run saw some some spectacular surfing, challenging heavy airs gybing and more than a few thrills and spills. The second lap was almost as full on and it wasn't until the third and final beat that conditions abate a little. At the line Aimee led GBR795 Excite, helmed by Tom Vernon, and Jerboa across the line with Bear fourth and Martin Makey sailing GBR704 Ganador fifth.

Race two could not have been more different with the wind down to ten knots at the start and continuing to drop and destabilise as the afternoon wore on. With the left side of the course apparently favoured, there was a lot of traffic at the pin end of the line and several people were over eager.

Sadly Excite failed to return and was disqualified, but amongst those who turned back were Jerboa and Bear who were then forced off to the right. Mike Budd's GBR793 Harry found themselves buried at the pin so also elected to tack and come off the line on port across the fleets transoms.

Yeavis meanwhile had had a clear start but tacked onto port to clear her air. They were about to tack back when crew Kasper Harsberg spotted that first Jerboa, Harry and Bear and then Mike Holmes in GBR760 Handsoff were making significant gains on the right. They made the brave decision to put all their eggs in one basket and bang the right corner. The decision was a race winner and by the first mark they had an enormous lead.

Second to round mark one was Harry with Richard Leask in GBR489 Kestra third, Jerboa fourth and Handsoff fifth. On the run Jerboa pulled up into third hard on the heels of Harry, while further back down the pack both Bear and Aimee were making rapid gains through the fleet. With the wind going right Yeavis defended their lead all the way to the finish.

Jerboa did everything she could to get through Harry and her efforts were finally rewarded in the closing moments when Harry crossed Jerboa on port but then tacked and lost momentum in the by now very light airs, allowing Jerboa to slip through to leeward for a second place. Harry finished third with Aimee snatching fourth from Patrick Gifford's GBR515 Basilisk on the final approach to the line.

With three more days and four further races still to come the regatta is wide open. The forecast promises further very varied conditions and its clear that whoever wins the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup and become British Dragon Champion will have had to work very hard to do so. Weather permitting races three and four are scheduled for tomorrow starting at 11.00 and if both races are completed the single discard will come into play.

Published in Dragon
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#laser – While the big boats competing in the Seven Star Round Britain & Ireland race were postponed and the Merlin sailors in Looe were playing beach rounders because of Big Bertha the 150 Laser helms in Largs were kept ashore for lack of wind. Eventually in the early afternoon a Northerly breeze about 10-12 kts arrived to allow all three fleets to complete two races in a fine Scottish drizzle. All starts used a common trapezoidal course laid near Great Cumbrae.

There is a very healthy percentage of youth sailors in the Standard fleet this year and it was Ireland's youth sailor Dougie Power who took the first gun ahead of Alistair Goodwin & Anthony Parke. Jack Aitken, having finished 4th in Race 1, then showed the others the way home in the 2nd race to lead overnight.

With nearly 90 Radials entered the decision was made to split the fleet into two starts and race the first half of the week in a Round Robin format. If today's results are anything to go by this could be one of the most exciting week's racing for a long time. Each start had a different winner and at the end of the day three helms, Jon Emmett, Scotland's Jamie Calder & Ireland's Liam Glynn; were all tied on three points.

The Championship is being sponsored by Neil Pryde ably assisted by Harken UK as the equipment sponsors. Racing continues until Friday and with brighter conditions but stronger winds expected the fun has just begun. – Eddie Mays. More here.

Published in Laser
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#flyingfifteen –  After a day of big winds yesterday, winds peaked briefly at six knots then disappeared, so no racing was possible today, Monday 23rd, on the final day of the Allen Flying Fifteen Nationals at Largs.

The Championship rested on the first two days of racing, in particular on the two races on Day 2, when Simon Kneller and Dave Lucas from Grafham Water SC took a win and a third place in two tricky light weather races. Very few competitors managed two good results on a difficult day.

Kneller and Lucas, improving with every race at this event, thus rose to the top of the leaderboard, to take the Allen Flying Fifteen National Championships. Kneller and Lucas were sailing in their tenth successive National Championship, and it was tenth time lucky as they landed the title for the first time.

Just two points behind, three teams were tied on six points, but the tiebreak gave Steve Goacher and Phil Evans second place, with husband and wife pairing David and Sally McKee third. Fourth in a brand new boat, launched on the first day of the Championship, were Irish visitors John Lavery and David O'Brien.

They were one of three Irish visiting boats from Dun Laoghaire, who joined Scottish, English and Welsh boats at this Championship at Largs.

Fifth were Charles Apthorp and Jonathan Clark, from Hayling Island. All five leading teams have years of experience in the class, and collectively boast many Championship titles. Racing was thus very competitive in this quality of fleet.

However those with a more relaxed attitude were also catered for, with several Silver fleet (older boats) and Classics (vintage) boats enjoying the Championship. Alex Tatlow, who sailed in the Silver fleet said, "A Silver FF is the most economic way to have a competitive boat. Silvers give excellent value for money, and need much less maintenance than many other boats. My brother and I really enjoy sailing our Fifteen at events like Cowes Week, and at Championships like this."

The Championship was well supported by sponsors, with title sponsor Allen supplying a generous range of prizes, while day sponsors Ovington, Goacher Sails, P & B and www.fotoboat.com added to the prizes. Loch Fyne supported a seafood reception and contributed prizes, while Loch Lomond Distillery provided very welcome liquid Scottish products.

This Nationals was a Qualifier event for the 2013 World Championships, and the final Worlds Qualifier event in the class will be the Scottish Championship at Loch Lomond on October 6/7, where a strong entry of over 30 boats is expected.

Results overall, Allen Flying Fifteen Nationals

Simon Kneller/ Dave Lucas, Grafham Water SC, 4pts

Steve Goacher/ Phil Evans, Royal Windermere YC, 6pts

David and Sally McKee, Dovestone SC, 6pts

John Lavery/ David O'Brien, National YC, IRL, 6pts

Charles Apthorp/ Jonathan Clark, Hayling Island SC, 8pts.

Top Scots: Hamish Mackay and Andy Lawson, Royal Highland YC in 15th overall.

Top Classic overall; Bobby Salmond/ Ingrid Magnus, Holy Loch SC in 19th overall.

Top Silver overall; Chris and Marion Bowen, Northampton SC in 24th overall.

Best boat over 7 years old; Peter and Sue Bannister, Hayling Island SC in 10th overall.

Full results on www.scottishsailinginstitute.com

Published in Flying Fifteen
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#flyingfifteen – On Day 2 of the Allen sponsored Flying Fifteen Nationals at Largs, Simon Kneller and Dave Lucas banged in two top results to move into the Championship lead but Sunday's heavy weather showdown did not materialise when racing was scrubbed as gusts hit 30-knots. Dun Laoghaire's John Lavery and David O'Brien lie fourth in the 33-boat fleet.

In light breezes, peaking around 10 knots, the first of today's two races looked like a battle of the sailmakers, as Alan Bax led all the way in style, while Steve Goacher fought off Peter and Sue Bannister to take second on the water. But Bax had been caught OCS at the start, so his apparent victory was for nought. Instead the race win went to Steve Goacher and Phil Evans, with the Bannisters second and Simon Kneller/ Dave Lucas in third.

Kneller's rise to the front continued in the second race with a race win to give him the best scoreline of the day, lifting him above Goacher overall after three races.

It was a hard fought victory, as he finished just two boat lengths ahead of second placed David and Sally McKee, who also rose up the leaderboard today. The day's results set up a very tight leaderboard, with four teams separated by just two points, at the halfway mark of the Championship. The stage is set for an exciting climax to the Championship over the next two days at Largs.

Last night the competitors enjoyed a seafood buffet and whisky, courtesy of hospitality sponsors Loch Fyne and Loch Lomond Distillery whisky.

At the reception, the class is celebrating passing a major milestone, of sail number 4,000. The two very latest boats sail number 4001 and 4002 were launched at this Championship. But the Championship and class also includes many older boats, the vintage Classics and the rather younger Silver fleet.

The class encourages both these fleets, ensuring long competitive life for older boats.

Results, Race 2, Calypso Cup

1. Steve Goacher/ Phil Evans, Royal Windermere YC

2. Peter and Sue Bannister, Hayling Island SC

3. Simon Kneller/ Dave Lucas, Grafham Water SC

Results, Race 3, John Clark Trophy

1. Kneller/ Lucas

2. David and Sally McKee, Dovestone SC

3. Adrian Tattersall/ Tim Smart, Parkstone YC

Overall after Day 2

1. Kneller/ Lucas, 4pts

2. Goacher/ Evans, 6pts

3. McKee/ McKee, 6pts

4. John Lavery/ David O'Brien, National YC, IRL, 6pts

Top Classic overall; Bobby Salmond/ Ingrid Magnus, Holy Loch SC in 19th overall.

Top Silver overall; Chris and Marion Bowen, Northampton SC in 24th overall.

Full results here

Published in Flying Fifteen
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Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series are jointly promoting reduced entry fees in a tue up between the two big Irish Sea regattas.  50% discounts off entry fees is available for boats entering both events.

"The way this works is that the Clyde Cruising Club are offering a 25% rebate for boats from the 4 Dun Laoghaire Clubs (DMYC, NYC, RIYC, RStGYC) that enter the Brewin Dolphin Scottish series before the expiration of the early bird discount period which expires on April 22nd explained Dun Laoghaire event secretary, Ciara Dowling.

As a reciprocal arrangement the committee of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta are offering a discount of 50% from the full entry fee to all boats that enter both regattas. To avail of this, boats must register for the early bird entry fee in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta prior to 2 May 2011. Note the 50% discount will be applied to the full entry fee rate and not the early bird rate.

To avail of this arrangement for the Scottish Series contact the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series office for details, [email protected] 0044141 221 2774.

To avail of this arrangement for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta visit the event website at www.dlregatta.org or email [email protected]

The Scottish Series takes place from 27–30 May and the Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 7th–10th 2011.

In a further boost for Dun Laoghaire sailors heading north the feeder race from Bangor to Tarbert has been re-instated.

Troon and Largs Marinas are offering competitors berthing rate discounts around Scottish Series.

Competitors from Scotland coming to Dun Laoghaire are reminded that the entry fee to the regatta includes free berthing for the duration of the event.

The official Notice of Race and Online Entry are now available at www.dlregatta.org

Published in Volvo Regatta

Ireland's youth laser sailors are once again in action in Europe, with the Radial Youth Worlds taking place in Largs, Scotland, and the Standard Rig Youth Worls ongoing in Poland.

Chris Penney posted good results to sit 34th out of 124 after two races. 

Thirteen Irish sailors will compete at Largs in the boys fleet, with just two Irish girls, Saskia Tidey and Ruth Harrington, competing.

The Radials are currently sat on shore at Largs waiting for wind, and the committee aren't in the most positive mood.

"Unfortunately, the forecast is not looking ideal, with less than 5kts of wind predicted," they say on the official website

"High pressure will dominate to leave even more uncertain conditions for the rest of the week.

"Anything from the east is not ideal because this generally creates big, gusty winds, which whistle over the hills in the surrounding the area. Also because the water is so deep here on the Clyde – 120-140 metres in some places – setting the course in relation to the wind is also a challenge."

Right, so.

 

Published in Youth Sailing

Ireland's top Laser Radial sailors will head to Scotland starting from today to prepare for the World Championships at Largs. Largs is the home of the RYA's Scottish Sailing Institute, one of the top sailing locations in the British Isles.

The Irish Radial trio of Debbie Hanna, Annalise Murphy and Tiffany Brien will be representing the country at the event, with 119 sailors in the ladies fleet.

An extended youth squad will take part in the Youth World Championships, a 320-boat fleet split into under-19 boys and girls.

The squad consists of: William Byrne, Peter Cameron, Philip Doran, Robbie Gilmore, Ruth Harrington, Luke Hevers, Eoin Keller, Rory Lynch, Henry Mclaughlin, Michael Molloy, Sean Murphy, Matthew O'Dowd, Alan Ruigrok, Saskia Tidey and Ross Vaughan

Ronan Cull, Simon Doran, Aidan McLaverty and Ciaran Hurney will represent Ireland in the men's fleet, with 108 entries. 

McLaverty will also race in the Junior World Championships in the full rig fleet in Hayling Island in August, along with Chris Penney.

 

Details available HERE.

 

 

 

 

Published in Olympics 2012
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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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