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Displaying items by tag: Laser

After three races sailed (under Irish Race Officer Con Murphy) at the Laser Radial (ILCA6) World Championships in Mussanah, Oman, Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins is in 28th place overall.

Hopkins is the only Irish sailor competing in the women's discipline despite the earlier official entry of Sienna Wright who does not appear on today's scoresheet downloadable below. 

The Howth sailor started well in all three races in the 63-boat fleet and went on to place 40th then 23rd and 20th in challenging light winds.

Hopkins also showed good speed downwind so will be looking to improve her first mark rounding in the coming races to utilise this strength more.

With only one fleet and none of the leading sailors escaping a double-digit result it already looks set to be a high scoring regatta. Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom, the Tokyo 2020 Gold medallist, had been first overall but dropped to eighth after a 16th placing in race three.

Wright's brother Rocco who was also entered in the nine boat men's Radial division does not appear on the men's scorecard.

Following the Olympics, the ILCA 6 fleet first reconvened at the 2021 European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria where Agata Barwinska from Poland took the title, with Maxime Jonker (NED) and Vasiliea Karachaliou (GRE) standing beside her on the podium. These three are all competing in Oman, and they’ll be looking to repeat their performances at the World Championship level. The European Championship triumph for Barwinska came off the back of victory at the Kiel Week regatta, and it appears that she is firmly establishing herself as one of the top contenders in the ILCA 6 fleet.

Being part of the hugely successful Dutch ILCA 6 squad, Maxime Jonker has previously finished second at the 2020 ILCA 6 World Championships, so the top step of the podium has to be on her mind. Jonker makes up half of the smaller than usual Dutch squad, which has a noticeable absence from three-time Olympic medalist Marit Bouwmeester, who recently announced her pregnancy with a baby girl, but still plans to campaign toward Paris 2024. After her bronze-medal finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Bouwmeester is looking to add a fourth Olympic medal to her trophy cabinet, but she won’t be without competition from her previous podium rivals.

Danish Olympic Champion Anne-Marie Rindom is already featuring in Oman and it seems that her gold-medal glory in Tokyo has done nothing to distract her from further ILCA 6 success. Known as one of the hardest workers in the ILCA 6 fleet, the World Sailor of Year nominee is clearly determined to round out her outstanding year with an additional ILCA 6 World Championship title.

The championship organisers have again scheduled three back to back races for Friday which if completed will bring the event back on schedule with the final race planned for Monday.

Published in Laser
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The opening race of the women's Laser Radial (ILCA6) World Championships in Mussanah, Oman has been postponed due to lack of wind at the venue.

A fresh attempt to start the series will be made on Thursday to begin the qualification rounds for Gold and Silver fleets.

Ireland is represented by Aoife Hopkins and Sienna Wright of Howth Yacht Club. As Afloat reported earlier, Wright's older brother Rocco is competing in the men's division.

Hopkins will be aiming for a strong result to follow on Finn Lynch’s (National YC) silver medal at the Laser Men’s (ILCA7) World Championship and Sean Craig's World Masters fourth, both secured in Barcelona last month.

Up to 12 races can be scheduled with the provision to sail extra races daily when weather impacts the programme.

The final result is expected by lunchtime (Irish time) on Monday 6th December.

Published in Laser

As 2021 draws to a close, the Irish sailing community has learned yet again that there’s nothing like a major international success by one of our own to brighten the dark days of November. And when that success comes to a popular sailor who has been enduring the seemingly endless frustration of a performance drought, it’s like the sun has come out with mid-summer vigour.

Olympian Finn Lynch of the National YC brightened all our days by getting on the podium with a solid second overall at the big-fleet ILCA Worlds in Barcelona in the depths of November. His resilience in doing so was fulsomely praised by a panel of experienced sailors, who know only too well the depths of solitary despair which can be experienced by formerly successful solo campaigners who seem to have become lost in a wasteland of setbacks. With a mighty leap, our hero had freed himself. And November was transformed.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Racing concluded on Sunday in the Royal Cork Yacht Club Laser and Topper Frostbite leagues with races 13,14 and 15 in bright but cold light winds under race officer Maurice Collins. Previous races in the series were overseen by Barry Rose and Rob Foster.

The league started this year with a six-race sprint event on Sunday the 7th which served as both a stand-alone event and the first 6 races in the Frostbite League.

Traditionally the prize-giving would be held at the junior laying up supper however as that has been postponed this year, Rear Admiral Dinghies Annamarie Fagan conducted the prize giving on the club lawn following racing.

Rear Admiral Dinghies Annamarie Fagan, ILCA 4 Winner Mauro G Regueral Noguerol, Laser class Captain Tim Mc CarthyRear Admiral Dinghies Annamarie Fagan, ILCA 4 Winner Mauro G Regueral Noguerol, Laser class Captain Tim Mc Carthy

Sailing in both ILCA 4 and Toppers went right down to the wire with final places changing in both on the last day.

Runner up Isabel Mc CarthyILCA 4 Runner up Isabel Mc Carthy

The overall winner in ILCA 4 was Mauro G Regueral Noguerol with Isabel Mc Carthy in second and Max Tolan third.

3rd Ilca 4 Max Tolan3rd ILCA 4 Max Tolan

Overall Topper gold fleet winner and recipient of the Bill Jones trophy presented by Brian Jones was Rowan MacSweeney with Liam Duggan second and Julie O Neill third. Andrew O'Neill won the silver fleet with Ellen Mc Donagh second and Sean Holmes third.

Royal Cork Topper Frostbite racingRoyal Cork Topper Frostbite racing

Class captains Maurice Collins (Toppers) and Tim Mc Carthy (Lasers) would like to thank all those that volunteered over the month and during the year in helping both fleets to go racing and most of all to the sailors for such a spirited series.

Published in Royal Cork YC

As Afloat reported earlier, Ireland has two entries at the 2021 ILCA 6/Laser Radial World Championship while the British Sailing Team is fielding three – Hannah Snellgrove, Daisy Collingridge and Matilda Nicholls - supported by British Sailing Team lead pathway coach James Gray (pictured above). The trio will be joined by young Brits Molly Sacker and Anya Haji-Michael. Notably absent from the line-up is three-time Olympian Ali Young, who has decided to retire from Olympic campaigning.

It’s been almost two years since the last ILCA 6 World Championship was held in Melbourne, Australia. Ok, there’s been the small matter of the Olympics, but for the majority of ILCA 6 athletes this will be the first global event for a while. In fact, Young was the only Brit in the field at the 2020 event. In 2019 Snellgrove placed seventh, and you’ve got to go back to 2018 to find Collingridge’s last world championship result, an 83rd at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. That was a long time ago, and all three Brits have proven themselves forces to be reckoned with since then. Collingridge, in particular, posted a seventh at the 2021 ILCA 6 European Championship with Snellgrove and Nicholls not far behind in 17th and 20th respectively.

Daisy Collingridge, 22, Waldringfield, Suffolk: “We’ve done a good training block the last two months leading up to this event, really focusing on the main progress points which came out of Europeans. It’s definitely a lot warmer out here than Weymouth (thankfully!) but I feel super prepared for racing next week. Again it’s another great opportunity to line up against the best in the world and I can’t wait to get onto the start line.”

Hannah Snellgrove, 31, Lymington, Hants: “2021 has been a long season for us and I’m looking forward to rounding it out with my first World Championships since 2019. There’s something quite special about sailing up to the start line of the Worlds and I’m looking forward to trying to capitalise on some of my good performances this year and also progress some areas of my racing that need improvements. Oman seems like a really interesting venue with quite light and patchy winds so I’m sure there will be lots of learning!”

Published in Laser
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Ireland took two top five overall results at the Laser (ILCA) World Championship results yesterday in the 'Master' categories at Barcelona, Spain.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig moved up to fourth overall in the 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston moved up to fifth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. 

While the Irish sailors narrowly missed the podium both were presented with coveted top five Laser 'Cube' awards at the Barcelona Sailing Centre.

George Kingston moved up to fifth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. George Kingston moved up to fifth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. 

The strong Irish international performance in the class follows Finn Lynch's runner up place at the Laser Worlds at the same venue earlier this month, when the Rio Olympian secured Ireland's best ever result in the Olympic dinghy.

Two races were completed for all the ILCA 7 divisions and the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters, while the one remaining race was completed for the other ILCA 6 divisions.

Sailors went out again for a 9:00 first warning signal in about 6–10 knots, enough wind to complete the championship.

ILCA 7

In the Apprentice division, Belgium’s Wannes Van Laer secured gold, with only 14 points, over Polish Maciej Graboswki and Italian Lorenzo Cerretelli.

In the Masters division, American Ernesto Rodriguez was named champion, 27 points ahead of fellow countryman Peter Hurley, and France’s Bertrand Blanchet rounded out the podium with bronze.

In the Grand Masters division, American Robert Hallawell finished first overall, with a comfortable lead over Argentina’s Alejandro Cloosand and Spain’s Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg Garcia.

In the Great Grand Masters division, Spain’s Jose Luis Doreste claimed gold, German Wolfgang Gerz won silver, and Great Britain’s Tim Law finished with bronze. 

ILCA 6

In the Apprentice division, Jon Emmett was named champion after finishing with only 12 points overall. Spain’s Arturo Reina and David Gonzalez secured silver and bronze, respectively. 

In the Masters division, Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson finished first overall ahead of France’s Jean-Christophe Leydet and Spanish Monica Azon. 

In the Grand Masters division, Gilles Coadou championed the fleet by 39 points, Spain’s Miquel Noguer won silver, and Belgian Pieter Van Laer finished with bronze.

In the Great Grand Masters division, American Bill Symes also ran away with gold, finishing the event with only 13 points. Canada’s Paul Clifford sailed into second place overall and Great Britain’s John Reay rounded out the podium in third.

In the Legend’s division, Americans Peter Seidenberg and Jaques Kerrest secured gold and silver, and Henk Wittenberg of the Netherlands won bronze.

The awards ceremony was presided over by Sergi Cadenas, vice president of the Catalan Sailing Federation, and Andrus Poski, ILCA representative. The championship was held at the facilities of the Barcelona International Sailing Center (BISC) and organized by the Catalan Sailing Federation, the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, and the Real Club Marítimo de Barcelona, with the collaboration of World Sailing, ILCA, the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, the Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council, and the Barcelona Provincial Council.

Seethe event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Ireland is on the cusp of further top international Laser (ILCA) World Championship results today, this time in the 'Master' categories at Barcelona with two races left to sail.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig is lying fifth overall - and just one point off fourth place - in the 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston is sixth in the 13-boat ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 10th in the same fleet.

The strong Irish international performance in the class follows Finn Lynch's runner up place at the Laser Worlds at the same venue earlier this month, when the Rio Olympian secured Ireland's best ever result in the Olympic dinghy.

Two races were completed yesterday on the penultimate day of the ILCA Masters World Championships. With another 9:00 first warning signal and a light northwest wind, the races went off without a hitch and the sailors were back on shore by 12:00. After today’s racing, two champions were predetermined in the ILCA 6 fleet: Great Britain’s Jon Emmett in the Apprentice division and American Bill Symes in the Great Grand Master division.

With one day to go, the ILCA 7 fleet has sailed 10 of the 12 championship races, as have the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters. The ILCA 6 Apprentices, Great Grand Masters, and the Legends divisions, however, have completed 11 of the 12.

Belgium’s Wannes Van Laer is still defending first place in the ILCA 7 Apprentice division, just three points ahead of Polish Maciej Grabowski; both Americans Ernesto Rodriguez and Robert Hallawell hold significant leads in the ILCA 7 Masters and Grand Masters divisions, respectively, heading into the final day; and Spain’s Josele Doreste is also sitting far ahead in first in the Great Grand Masters division.

In ILCA 6 fleet, Emmett and Symes have secured their leads in the Apprentice and Great Grand Master divisions. Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson reclaimed his lead over France’s Jean-Christophe Leydet in the Masters division, France’s Gilles Coadou has a 29-point lead in the Grand Master division, and American Peter Seidenberg has maintained his first-place position in the Legend division.

The first warning signal is scheduled for the final day at 09:00, and the race committee will try to complete all 12 races of the championship today.

Published in Laser
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Ireland stays close to the top of the leaderboards in both the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice and ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master 2021 World Championships at Barcelona with four races left to sail by Saturday.

Royal St. George's Sean Craig dropped one place to sixth overall in a 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston stays fourth overall after two third scored in races seven and eight, in the 13-boat  ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 11th in the same fleet.

Two races were completed on Thursday at the ILCA Masters World Championships. Another early start paid off, with the first warning signal at 9:00 and sailors were back on shore and finished for the day by 12:00. For the second day in a row, there’s been sunshine and stable wind, which has been ideal for racing. It was blowing about 8–10 knots this morning with gusts up to 14 knots, but the wind began to die right as the second races were wrapped up.

With two more races in all divisions, the ILCA 7 fleet has a total of eight races locked in. In the ILCA 6 fleet, the Apprentices, Great Grand Masters, and Legends have nine races and the Masters and Grand Masters have eight.

Belgium’s Wannes Van Laer secured his lead ahead of Polish Maciej Grabowski in the ILCA 7 Apprentice division, with two first-place finishes today. Americans Ernesto Rodriguez and Robert Hallawell maintained their lead in the ILCA 7 Masters and Grand Masters divisions, respectively. Spain’s Josele Doreste also held tight to his lead today in the ILCA 7 Great Grand Masters division.

In the ILCA 6 fleet, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett remains unstoppable in the Apprentice division with all nine first-place finishes. French Jean-Christophe Leydet slid ahead to lead the Masters division with first- and second-place finishes today, while fellow countryman Gilles Coadou returned to first place in the Grand Masters division. American Bill Symes also has nine firsts under his belt and leads the Great Grand Masters, while fellow American Peter Seidenberg continues to hold first in the Legends, just one point ahead of their compatriot Jacques Kerrest.

Two races are scheduled for Day 6 with the first warning signal at 9:00. Friday’s weather conditions are forecasted to be similar to those of Thursday, and just two days remaining to determine world champions.

See event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Ireland is close to the top of the leaderboards in both the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice and ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master 2021 World Championships thanks to the efforts of two Irish sailors competing in Barcelona

Royal St. George's Sean Craig is lying fifth overall in a 47-boat ILCA 6 (Radial) Grand Master fleet while George Kingston is fourth overall in the 13-boat  ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) Apprentice division. Roger O'Gorman is lying 11th in the same fleet.

Two races were completed yesterday. After three grey days with unstable and light wind, the fourth day finally brought sun and stable wind.

Once again, the sailors had an early start today with the first warning signal at 9:00. The ILCA 6 fleets enjoyed an average northwesterly wind of 12–16 knots while the ILCA 7 had an average of 10–12 knots, and both were able to complete their races without a hitch, to be back on shore by 11:30.

After adding two races to all the scoreboards, the ILCA 7 divisions have completed a total of six races. In the ILCA 6 fleets, the Apprentices, the Great Grand Masters, and the Legends have completed seven races and the Masters and Grand Masters finished six.

The leaders in ILCA 7 are Poland’s Maciej Grabowski, tied with Belgian Wannes Van Laer, in the Apprentice division; American Ernesto Rodriguez added two more firsts to hold his lead in the Masters division while fellow countryman Robert Hallawell also maintained his lead over the Grand Masters, and Spain’s Josele Doreste is still leading the Great Grand Masters.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett added two more firsts to his picket fence in the Apprentice fleet; Sweden’s Stefan Eriksson is first of the Masters; Spain’s Miguel Noguer rose to the top of the Grand Master division; American Bill Symes also has a straight picket fence in the Great Grand Masters division while fellow countryman Peter Seidenberg sits in first place over the Legends.

Steady conditions are forecasted for Day 5 in the morning, so the first warning signal will be at 9:00 again with two races scheduled.

See event website here for full results.

Published in Laser
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Finn Lynch's silver medal last week in the ILCA 7 World Championships is an inspiration for anyone embarking on a Laser campaign but could there be more silver - or even gold - in Barcelona waters for Irish sailors this month?

As the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) and ILCA 6 (Radial) Apprentice Master 2021 World Championships began at the Barcelona Sailing Centre on Sunday, three Irish sailors are hoping for a repeat performance.

One race was completed in each fleet at the 2021 Laser Masters World Championships, except for the ILCA 6 Masters and Grand Masters due to unstable and lack of wind. The sailors went out on schedule for the first warning signal at 12:00, with sunshine and good wind. But as the wind began to die, the two ILCA 6 divisions could not complete their first race, and the ILCA 7 fleet started their second race only to then abandon it.

In the ILCA 7 fleets, Maciej Grabowski of Poland is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Belgium’s Wannes Van Laser and Italian Lorenzo Cerretelli.

Ireland's George Kingston is ninth and Roger O'Gorman 13th in the 14-boat fleet.

Peter Hurley of the United States finished first in the Masters division, with fellow countryman Ernesto Rodriguez in second, and Australia’s Chris Caldecoat in third.The Grand Masters are lead by another American, Robert Hallawell, with Swiss Ferruccio Arvedi in second and Ron Lenson of the Netherlands in third. Finally, in the Great Grand Masters division, Great Britain’s Michael Hicks took the lead, with Jose Luis Doreste of Spain behind in second, and Germany’s Wolfgang Herz in third.

In the ILCA 6 fleets, Great Britain’s Jon Emmett is leading the Apprentices, ahead of Arturo Reina of Spain and Italian Roberto Giacalone.

In the Great Grand Master division, Americans Bill Symes and Bruce Martinson sit in first and third, respectively, with Canada’s Paul Clifford in second. Last but not least, Henk Wittenberg of the Netherlands is leading the Legends, with French Pierre Roche in second, and American Jacques Kerrest in third.

Royal St George's Sean Craig is yet to start in the ILCA 6 Grand Master division.

Forecasted wind for the week is light, but everyone is planning on and hoping for enough wind to complete some successful races.

See event website here for full results.

Apprentice age division change

In other Laser news, beginning in 2022, the Apprentice age division for ILCA Masters World Championships will include sailors ages 30 to 44. ILCA says it is excited about this change, which for the first time gives sailors under the age of 35 the opportunity to join the ILCA Masters World Championships and to enjoy the unique atmosphere of that fleet. All other Masters age categories will remain unchanged.

Published in Laser
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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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