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The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle took second overall at the 2022 ILCA 7/Laser Masters World Championships in Mexico on Tuesday.

The 24-boat championships took place in Puerto Valletta on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the same venue as the Senior Worlds where Lyttle's clubmate Finn Lynch came sixth at the ILCA7 World's last month.

The Dun Laoghaire sailor, who is based in the UK, took the Grand Master World title in 2018 on home waters, but all-around Masters legend Brett Beyer of Australia had just moved up to the Grand Master Category (55-64 upwards) and proved an unstoppable opponent.

With only one discard out of 12 races, consistency was key but not easy as you had to pick a side to hook into the strengthening breeze. The middle of the line starts and shifts up the middle never seemed to work. Downwind speed was also key, especially in marginal surfing conditions. 

Mark Lyttle surfing to silver in MexicoMark Lyttle surfing to silver in Mexico Photo: John Pounder

"We expected similar conditions with the sea breeze developing from noon each day but a slightly early start time for the masters meant the first race was invariably sailed in less than 10 knots but often building to 12 to 15 knots with beautiful surfing waves and 30 degrees temperature - champagne conditions", Lyttle told Afloat.

"I had put together a good series by the start of the last day with two races to be sailed in the lightest winds of the week with 10 and 14 points ahead of 3rd and 4th", he said.

Mark Lyttle clung on to second overall despite a strong challenge from Canada and Spain in the last of 12 races Photo: John Pounder/ILCAMark Lyttle clung on to second overall despite a strong challenge from Canada and Spain in the last of 12 races Photo: John Pounder/ILCA

Having rounded in third at the first mark and in good shape to secure second overall (leader Bayer was on course to win his 14th World masters title) I promptly dropped to 10th at the end in very tricky conditions. That meant a final race showdown with Andy Roy of Canada and Jose Van Der Ploeg of Spain. Each one of us was ahead at one stage but I managed a nice last beat with some tactical covering and hung on", Lyttle told Afloat.

Top three

  1. Brett Beyer AUS 15
  2. Mark Lyttle GBR/IRL 44
  3. Andrew Roy CAN 48

Full results are here

Published in Laser
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18 Ukrainian ILCA/Laser sailors were outside of Ukraine, training or racing when the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine started at the end of February.

The sailors are mostly from Odesa and Kyiv and have been unable to return to their homes.

These sailors continue to train and compete internationally thanks to generous donations from the sailing community. The Irish Laser class association, ILCA Ireland, were quick to respond to the call for help and raised €1,500 in donations to support Ukrainian ILCA sailors.

Irish Laser sailors collected €700 which ILCA topped up to €1,500.

To assist this group, EurILCA (the European governing body for ILCA/ Laser dinghy) launched a crowdfunding campaign and requested assistance from the 42 district members across Europe; one of them being ILCA Ireland.

Donations are being managed by EurILCA with all collections going solely to support the ILCA Ukrainian team to travel, train and race. More information and link to make further donations HERE

Sofiia Naumenko, the 23-year-old ILCA 6 sailor from Dnipro, has coordinated the efforts.

In an interview on 21st May, she said; "When the war started, I was in Spain. I had no idea where to stay and so I was put in contact with a former windsurfer from my country who has lived in Spain for ten years. Her name is Olga Maslivets. She hosted me in her apartment and then helped me find a place to sleep both at the Europa Cup, held in Port de Pollenca, and at the Princesa Sofia Trophy, in Palma de Mallorca."

Sofiia is now training at lake Garda in Italy and commented; "Here in Italy the Ukrainian team is much bigger and therefore we all live in different places. After this regatta, I will go to France, to the Hyères Olympic Week, where I believe the organizing committee will help me find a cheap accommodation. After all, I expect to have to stay in Europe for a while longer. "

The 18 sailors from the Ukrainian ILCA team are:

1. Sofiia Naumenko (ILCA 6)
2. Devid Izmailovsky (ILCA 6/7)
3. Oskar Madonich (ILCA 7)
4. Andrii Verdysh (ILCA 6/7)
5. Danylo Raichuk (ILCA 6)
6. Ivan Zhukalin (ILCA 7)
7. Valeriy Kudryashov (ILCA 7)
8. Stanislav Mulko (ILCA 7)
9. Semen Khashchyna (ILCA 6)
10. Nazar Artiukh (ILCA 6)
11. Roman Akopov (ILCA 6)
12. Andrii Lipchenko (ILCA 6)
13. Yelyzaveta Vynohradova (ILCA 6)
14. Anna Dehasiuk (ILCA 6)
15. Ivan Pylypchii (ILCA 4)
16. Ivan Antipin (ILCA 4)
17. Varvara Postrelko (ILCA 4)
18. Denys Saidukov (ILCA 7)

Published in Laser
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The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle stays second going into the final two races of the 2022 ILCA 7/Laser Grand Masters World Championships in Mexico.

Canadian Allan Clark won the first race of the day – as a typical ILCA 6 sailor, the lighter wind suited him. The fleet’s leader of the week, Australian Brett Beyer, won the second race and continues to hold first overall. Ireland’s Mark Lyttle still sits in second and Spain’s Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg in third.  

Two final races are scheduled for Tuesday.

For full results, see here

Published in Laser
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The National Yacht Club's Mark Lyttle is going well at the 2022 ILCA 7 Masters World Championships in Mexico this weekend.

After six races sailed and one discard to count, the 1996 Atlanta Olympian is two points off the lead in a 24-boat fleet. 

The venue is the same as where Lyttle's clubmate Finn Lynch sailed to his second top ten at the ILCA Worlds late last month.

If the Dun Laoghaire sailor, who is based in the UK, is to reclaim his Grand Master World title in 2018 on home waters, he will need to dislodge all-around Masters legend Brett Beyer of Australia.

Beyer has just graduated from the 45-55 category and has four race wins in his score tally at the halfway point. He previously won seven Laser Apprentice Masters World Championships between 2001 and 2010.

Saturday was a reserve day at Vallarta Yacht Club, with racing scheduled to resume on Sunday running until Tuesday.

Results are here

Published in Laser
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British sailor Sam Whaley described the 2022 ILCA 7/Laser World Championships as the hardest six days of his life – as he notched up a personal best 11th-place finish.

From 64th in 2020 to 15th in the 2021 event, Whaley was within touching distance of the top ten at this year’s regatta in Vallarta, Mexico.

All four of the British Sailing team athletes came inside the top 20 of the 126-boat fleet for the second year in a row.

Whaley, 25, from Swanage, Dorset, said: “It’s been a really tough week out here in Mexico, but I’m over the moon with the result.

“The heat combined with some illness made the event the hardest six days of my entire life. However, I’m really happy with how I’ve been sailing and it’s great to knock in another solid result in such a high-profile fleet.”

Whaley moved in to the top ten with two second-place finishes of the six-race qualifying series. He remained there through the six-race finals before eventually dropping a spot on the final day.

Whaley added: “It was great to also knock in another solid worlds performance with Dan [Whiteley], together with Micky [Beckett] and Elliot [Hanson] - we’ve got a really good squad going at the moment.”

The top Brit was Tokyo 2020 Olympian Elliot Hanson who was knocking on the door of a podium finish right until the final day of the competition.

Hanson, who had two race wins in qualifying, had put himself in contention for a medal, but a final day 9th and DNC eventually meant a seventh-place finish.

Dan Whiteley put in another strong performance, which included a race win, to back up his top ten finish in 2021. He sat just behind teammate Whaley in 12th.

Micky Beckett rued his mistakes throughout the week to come home in 18th, but finishing on the high of a race win, the Pembrokeshire sailor aims to take the positives forward.

Beckett, 27, said: “I just made far too many mistakes. It’s been a tough week where I kept trying to get it right, but ultimately never did. I'm looking forwards to a break and figuring out how best to learn from this.”

Full results can be found here

Published in Laser
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The well supported 2022 ILCA/Laser Master Championship 2022 at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire Harbour saw a combined fleet of 56 boats - including UK visitors - for the weekend championship in the south of Dublin Bay.

Six races were sailed in light to medium winds in both the ILCA 6 (Radial) and ILCA 7 (Standard rig) rigs over trapezoid courses.

There was a combined fleet of 56 boats for the ILCA Masters Championships made up of 32 ILCA 6 rigs and 24 ILCA 7sThere was a combined fleet of 56 boats for the ILCA Masters Championships made up of 32 ILCA 6 rigs and 24 ILCA 7s Photo: Afloat

Prizes were awarded for age categories in each rig type; 30 years to 44 – Apprentice, 45 to 54 – Master, 55 to 64 – Grand Master and 65 to 74 – Great Grand Master.

Wicklow helmsman Michael Norman is the 2022 Great Grandmaster ILCA 6 championWicklow helmsman Michael Norman is the 2022 Great Grandmaster ILCA 6 champion

Wicklow helmsman Michael Norman is the 2022 Great Grandmaster champion in the 32-boat ILCA 6 class. The Grandmaster titleholder is Sean Craig of the Royal St. George Yacht Club and his Dun Laoghaire clubmate Brendan Hughes is the Master champion.

Brendan Hughes is the Master championBrendan Hughes is the ILCA 6 Master champion Photo: Afloat

The ILCA 6 Apprentice title was won by Malahide's Darren Griffin. 

In the ILCA 6 Female fleet, a closely fought battle for national champion saw Judy O'Beirne of the Royal St George Yacht Club win over her clubmate Shirley Gilmore. Alison Pigot of the National Yacht Club was third female. 

Royal Cork's Nick Walsh is the Grandmaster championRoyal Cork's Nick Walsh is the Grandmaster champion (above) Photo: Afloat

Royal Cork's Nick Walsh wins the pin end in a start at the ILCA Masters on Dublin BayRoyal Cork's Nick Walsh wins the pin end in a start at the ILCA Masters on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

In the ILCA 7, Charlie Taylor from Balyholme Yacht Club takes the Great Grandmaster title while Cork sailors took the rest of the silverware. Royal Cork's Nick Walsh is the Grandmaster champion. Dan O'Connell is the Master Champion and Apprentice champion is Kieran Dorgan of Cove Sailing Club

Results are here

Published in Laser

Ten points off a medal, Finn Lynch leaves the Laser/ILCA 7 World in Mexico disappointed not to be on the podium, but it nevertheless confirms the National Yacht Club ace as one of the World's top ten Laser sailors as the battle for a single place in Paris 2024 intensifies.

After his week-long domination at the front of the 126-boat championship, Jean Baptiste Bernaz of France emerged with Gold. However, his lead narrowed in the penultimate race after a disqualification for early starting.

Lynch went into the final day in fifth (he was as high as fourth overall last Wednesday) but overhauling either Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic or 2017 Laser World Champion Pavlos Kontides proved to be too big an ask. Two solid races on the final day were needed to reach the podium and sit with his silver medal from the last world championships in November 2021.

Lynch had a 21st place in the penultimate race, which he couldn't discard, having previously used his discard through gear failure (a downhaul rope breakage in the last qualified on Wednesday that he may well rue). 

He wasn't the only one to drop back as New Zealander Thomas Saunders who was second had to be satisfied with the leather medal after the final shake-up.

The first race of the day brought a little drama when the event leader Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) got a Black flag, and Pavlos Kontides (CYP) finished fifth, which lifted him to a second overall place, with just 12 points behind Jean-Baptiste. By finishing 14th place, Thomas Saunders (NZL) fell to the third position, only five points ahead of Tonci Stipanovic (CRO).

According to the Notice of Race, the last possible Warning signal at 1500 made it impossible to race committee to give to the Silver fleet a second race, so they finished the championship with 11 races sailed total.

However, the Gold fleet still managed to get their last race started in time and Michael Beckett (GBR) made his best race during the regatta by winning that race. Filip Jurisic (CRO) finished second, which moved him up to the 3rd overall position; Joel Rodriquez Perez (ESP) finished third.

Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) by finishing 7th in the last race secured his position he held almost the whole regatta and became the new ILCA 7 World Champion.

For the first time, the ILCA 7 Men's World Champion title goes to France!

As the top Irish contender, Lynch is attempting to rebuild after his disappointment of failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020. All credit to him that he is on the right tack at the first opportunity.

A catalogue of quality results achieved since last November shows the depth of the ambition of a new and improved Irish number one.

Since the Laser/ILCA 7 dinghy made its Olympic debut 25 years ago, Ireland has sought a top 30 result at the annual World Championships. Now it has two top tens and a silver medal thanks to Lynch's exploits.

Lynch's own best Worlds performance before Barcelona 2021 and Mexico this week was 31, scored in Melbourne in 2020, a position he also got in Aarhus, Denmark, in 2018. 31st is also a result achieved by his predecessor James Espey in Oman in 2013.

It's not popular to air it in some quarters, but despite 25 years of trying, and until 2021, Ireland had never finished in the top 30 of the World Championships never mind the top ten. You have to go right back to the 'eighties to find any higher Irish results.

In 1983 Lyttle finished 19th and Bill O'Hara 13th, a record, albeit achieved in pre-Olympic times, that stood until Lynch changed all that in blistering fashion.

A short break now follows for Lynch before he returns to competition in The Netherlands for the Allianz Regatta and preparation for the 2023 world championships, which will be the first qualification opportunity for Paris 2024.

Final top ten

1. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, FRA, 51 points
2. Pavlos Kontides, CYP, 68
3. Filip Jurisic. CRO, 75
4. Thomas Saunders, NZL, 77
5. Tonci Stipanovic, CRO, 81
6. Finn Lynch, IRL, 85
7. Elliot Hanson, GBR, 88
8. Philipp Buhl, GER, 99
9. Jonatan Vadnai, HUN, 101
10. Stefano Peschiera , PER, 105

Full Results

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Just six points separate Finn Lynch and the successful defence of his 2021 Laser/ILCA World Championships silver medal going into the final two races of the 2022 championships in Vallarta, Mexico today. 

Despite a 24th scored in race three of gold fleet racing, the Irishman only dropped back one place to be fifth overall thanks to an eighth (his sixth top ten result of the series) scored yesterday evening.

When Lynch won silver in Barcelona at the last world championships in November 2021, it was Ireland's best-ever men's Laser result by a country mile, so the prospect of a repeat performance six months later is a tantalizing prospect for Irish sailing fans today.

While overall leader Jean-Baptiste Bernaz has a 20-point cushion, only six points separate second from fifth in what promises to be a sensational World championship climax in the men's single-handed Olympic dinghy class.

Third and fourth places are held by Olympic medalists who are tied on 51 points.

The National Yacht Club sailor, on 56 points, couldn't be in for a bigger fight. Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic in fourth is a former runner-up and double Olympic silver medalist and the 2017 Laser World Champion Pavlos Kontides (also an Olympic silver medalist from London 2012) from Cyrpus lies third.

Lynch must outsail both if he wants to dispossess New Zealand's Thomas Saunders of his 50 point silver medal position in today's final two races.

Full results here

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A stunning performance from Finn Lynch on Banderas Bay has put the National Yacht Club solo ace into fourth overall – and crucially – tied on points for third place after the first day of Gold Fleet racing at the ILCA 7/Laser World Championships in Mexico.

Lynch rebounded from gear failure that dropped him to 11th overall on Wednesday to leapfrog a massive seven places by scoring 7 and 2 in the first two of six gold fleet races in the 63-boat fleet on Thursday.

Now on 48 points, the performance keeps Lynch's World silver medal defence alive. The 26-year-old Rio Olympian is just five points away from Hungary's Jonatan Vadnai, who sits in second overall.

Conditions were lighter for the first time in the championship on Wednesday, with strong current affecting the fleet. Three Black flag starts were needed to get the first race of the day off with nine sailors disqualified for early starting.

"Finn feels quite good, he's been in this position before so he knows how to deal with it," said Lynch's coach Vasilij Zbogar. "There are good sailors in front, good sailors behind - anything can happen - but a good opening to the finals.

"Slightly less wind than previously so that suits Finn for sure. There's still everything to play for but it's nice to be in the game."

The championship is led by France's Jean-Baptiste Bernaz, who has seven top four scores to have a 26-point margin over second place.  Just six points separate second to fifth overall.

After eight races sailed, with seven to count, four more will be sailed to complete a full schedule by Saturday.

The top 5 after eight races sailed: 

1. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) - 17 points
2. Jonatan Vadnai (HUN) - 43
3. Thomas Saunders (NZL) - 48
4. Finn Lynch, (IRL) - 48
5. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) - 49

Full results here

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Finn Lynch's defence of his ILCA 7/Laser World Championships silver medal suffered a gear failure setback yesterday at Vallarta, Mexico when the National Yacht Club ace posted a 'Did not Compete' (DNC) in his final qualification race.

Until yesterday, the consistent performance of the 26-year-old Carlow sailor kept him inside the top ten with an impressive scoresheet of 10, 2, 4, 13 and 10 in the 126-boat fleet.

With such scores, Lynch eased into the Gold fleet finals after three days of competition but will, however, rue the missed final qualification race.

It was a day of drama for Lynch who was lying eighth in the first race of the day but 'made contact' with another boat and ended tenth. In the second race, in ideal 12-18 knots winds, his downhaul rope broke ruling him out of the race.

Coach Vasilij Zbogar said "his downhaul rope broke but fortunately it was the last race and it is discarded so it's acceptable - the points are close and there's a lot in play in the finals."

Downhaul ropes have huge loads in Laser rigs and are fitted as a double block 8:1 purchase requiring replacement every four-to-five events, according to top campaigners.

Now at the halfway stage of the regatta and in 11th place going into the final six races, Lynch will be aiming to make up the 27 point gap between leader Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France on 12 points and his own 39-point tally.

One race discard applies after the qualification round while a second discard will be available in the final round.

Bernaz with (19, 3, 2, 3, 2, 2 places) has maintained his overall lead in the regatta, with former World Champion Kontides moving up several places to fifth with a strong performance on Wednesday.

The championships continue with the final series where a maximum of six races will be sailed over the next three days. The top half of the fleet will sail in the Gold fleet while the balance, including injury-hit Ewan McMahon of Howth, are in the Silver fleet.

Howth's Ewan McMahon completed the qualification races of the Laser World Championships with painful ankle injuries Photo: John Pounder/ILCAHowth's Ewan McMahon completed the qualification races of the Laser World Championships with painful ankle injuries Photo: John Pounder/ILCA

McMahon, who has battled his ankle problems since last week's pre-worlds training, has decided not to continue.  Zbogar said "Ewan isn't able to perform because of his injury, it doesn't make any sense to continue to sail and make things worse," said Zbogar.  "There's too much pain and too many anti-inflammatories and painkillers needed."

The top 5 starting their Final series:

1. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) - 12 points
2. Elliot Hanson (GBR) - 15
3. Jonatan Vadnai (HUN) - 18
4. Daniel Whiteley (GBR) - 19
5. Pavlos Kontides (CYP) - 20

11. Finn Lynch, (IRL) - 39

Full results here Gold fleet finalists here

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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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