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#Rowing: Enniskillen’s girls’ and boys’ eights both shone at the Schools’ Head of the River in London today. Strong, gusting winds made conditions difficult – the numbers allowed to compete were cut because of this – but the Enniskillen RBC girls’ championship eight took fourth, while the boys’ championship eight were sixth. The boys’ crew placed sixth overall, 32.8 seconds behind the winners, Shiplake College.  

Schools’ Head of the River, London (Irish interest)

Boys – Overall: 1 Shiplake College A Boys’ Championship Eight 16 min 36.6 seconds; 6 Enniskillen RBC Championship Eight 17:09.4.

Girls – Championship Eight: 1 Henley RC 18:44.2; 4 Enniskillen RBC 18:57.9.

Published in Rowing

#Speedboat - A man has been sentenced to six years in prison for the manslaughter of a woman who died after his speedboat crashed in London three years agp.

According to The Guardian, Jack Shepherd (31) was absent from sentencing at the Old Bailey after skipping bail, and police currently have a warrant out for his arrest.

The jurors heard that in December 2015, Shepherd took his date Charlotte Brown (24) to his speedboat on the River Thames while both were under the influence of alcohol, and allowed her to drive the vessel at “full throttle”.

The boat crashed into a submerged log before capsizing and throwing both Shepherd and Brown into the river.

Brown showed symptoms of hypothermia and cardiac arrest when she was recovered from the water, and was pronounced dead later.

Neither Brown nor Shepherd was wearing a lifejacket, and Shepherd — who had previously been pulled over a number of times for speeding on the river — admitted in a police interview that he did not inform Brown, who had no boating experience, about the safety devices on board.

Police also said the speedboat itself had a number of defects, including a ‘wobble’ in its steering.

Mail Online has video recorded by Brown on her phone of part of the pair’s speedboat trip, in which she can be heard commenting that Shepherd was “going so fast”.

Judge Richard Marks QC, in his sentencing remarks, said Shepherd had a “totally cavalier attitude to safety”. The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Rowing: Enniskillen RBC had two outstanding results at the Schools’ Head of the River in London. The girls’ eight won their category, the First Eights, and were fifth overall. The boys’ eight finished second in the equivalent category behind Bedford. When the revised results were published this placed them 10th overall, the best placing by an Irish crew at the event since 2010, when Bann Rowing Club finished ninth and 2011 when Portora (now Enniskillen) matched this. Enniskillen finished seventh in an event shortened due to weather in 2017.

Schools’ Head of the River, London (Selected Results; Irish interest; REVISED)

Men, Schools First Eight: 1 Bedford 17 min 15.1 sec; 2 Enniskillen Royal Boat Club (S Balcombe, R Mills, M McBrien, P Murphy, O Donaghy, J McDade, J Kennedy, N Timoney; cox: R Farragher) 17:18.4; 16 Methodist, Belfast A 19:10.2

First Junior 16 Eight: 9 Methody 19:44.4. 

Sculling, Quadruple – Championship: 17 Methody 19:15.6.

Women, Schools First Eight: 1 Enniskillen RBC (T McComb, A Corry, V Wilson, C Leonard, Z McCutcheon, M Donnelly, J Long; C Fee; cox: S Dolan) 19:01.3; 13 Methody 21:49.7.

 

Published in Rowing

There's been a big shout out for the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) stand at this week's London Boat Show from UK boaters who have been 'surprised to learn' of the range of sailing club and marina facilities available around the Irish coastline. But there have also been expressions of thanks from Irish visitors to the International Show at Excel who are delighted to see Ireland showcased as a maritime destination.

According to stand executive Ciara Dowling, the biggest surprise among some UK boaters visiting the stand (F046) has been the map of Ireland showing over 60 marina locations. Many visitors, she says, simply had not known of the existence of many Irish marina, jetty and pontoon locations, a situation the Irish Marina Federation are keen to rectify.

UK boater feed back from the show so far indicates the close proximity of Wales to Dublin and Ireland's attractive berthing rates compared with the current high value of  Sterling against the Euro could be a factor to entice UK boaters to cruise Ireland and even moor boats here in the longer term.

Irish marine federation london

Gerry Salmon of MGM Boats and Paal Janson of Dun Laoghaire on the first ever IMF stand at this week's London Boat Show in Excel.

Published in Irish Marinas

#TowerBridge - BBC News reports of nine people injured after a sightseeing boat crashed into Tower Bridge on the River Thames in central London yesterday morning (Wednesday 4 June).

Five were hospitalised after the included, including a 64-year-old woman believed to have suffered head and pelvic injuries when she fell down steel steps in the collision.

Two more were checked on scene by paramedics and given the all clear, while two others made their own way to get treatment.

The vessel in question, the Millennium Diamond, continued after the crash with only minor damage sustained to St Katharine Docks just east of Tower Bridge, where emergency crews took the injured ashore.

Mail Online has more on the story including images from the scene HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#RowingCourse: Deane Public Works from Fermanagh will be awarded the main construction contract for the new rowing course at Lough Rynn in County Leitrim. The specialist work of design, supply and installation of the lanes will sub-contracted to Polaritas, a company from Budapest in Hungary. According to Leitrim County Council, the company have worked on the rowing courses for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and will work on the installation of the rowing course for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The design/build contract for Lough Rynn involves the design, supply and installation of an eight-lane Albano Rowing Course to meet FISA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron) Standards. The course will also be adjustable to meet canoe sprint competition rules of the International Canoe Federation.

The course may be finished by the end of this year.

Published in Rowing

#sailforgold–Annalise Murphy believes she is on track for a top ten finish in her debut Olympics following a fine week at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta writes our special correspondent Paul Smith.

The Irish Laser Radial sailor picked up a win and a third place from her two races on day four in Weymouth, as the series entered the gold fleet stage.

Murphy, of Dublin, is now ranked fifth overall, with China's Lijia Xu in first and Britain's Alison Young second. Sari Mutala, of Finland, is third.

The National Yacht Club's Murphy is pleased with how her week has gone so far as she steps up her preparations for London 2012, and she is keen to illustrate her credentials.

"I've had a pretty consistent week, I had one bad race on Wednesday which is probably going to affect me overall in the end but I'm pretty happy," said the 22-year-old, who picked up a further first place on day three.

"I have had much more consistent results than usual so it is good.

"I came here and wanted to be in the top ten to get some medal experience, because every medal race here is important as it is like a step towards the Olympics.

"This will be my first Olympics so I am just going to try and get a good experience. I want to finish in the top ten and hopefully that will give me a good stepping stone towards 2016 but I don't know, anything can happen."

Providence Resources is the sponsor of the Irish Olympic Sailors

Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team 


Published in Olympics 2012

#sailforgold – Three Irish boats in the top ten of the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta marks a new high for the Irish Olympic sailing team with team efforts now focused on ensuring early advantages are maintained through consistent sailing as the competition edges closer to Saturday's medal race finals.

Although Peter O'Leary and David Burrows have lost their overall lead they have maintained a strong position in the top of the Star fleet. They had a seventh and a fiftth today which leaves them 3rd overall. Significantly it is the strongest competitors who have passed them out, Percy & Simpson (GBR) and Scheidt & Prada (BRA) who lead in first and second respectively.

The weather had improved slightly from Tuesday's inclement conditions, but it was still another tough day on the water. The moderate wind from the south-west peaked at around 19 knots, providing challenging sailing conditions in which only the best could thrive.

Belfast skiff pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern had their third race win of the championship in the 49er class. The duo move up three places to ninth overall following an additional ninth and third in their other two races of the day.

In the Laser Radial Annalise Murphy of Dun Laoghaire also had a race win, finishing first in her second race of the day. Combined with the 15th from her first race she is inside the top 10, now seventh overall.

Unfortunately Ger Owens & Scott Flanigan were disqualified from their first race of the day. They slip one position to 24th overall following their 9th place in the second race of the day.

Laser sailor James Espey finished 25th and 28th in his two races. He lies 52nd overall in the 95 boat fleet.

And in the Paralympic Sonar class, John Twomey, Ian Costello and Anthony Hegarty lie 12th overall.

Published in Olympics 2012
Tagged under

#CANOEING - The Irish Times reports that Eoin Rheinisch and Ciarán Heurteau have secured their canoe slalom qualification spots for London 2012 after last weekend's selection races in Lucan.

Three places were up for grabs in the men's K1, with the third yet to be confirmed after fourth-placed Patrick Hynes contested a touch on a gate by third-place finisher Sam Curtis.

Canoeing Ireland's recently appointed general manager Karl Dunne said the objection is currently being considered.

Meanwhile, in the women's K1, the qualifying spots went go Hannah Craig, Helen Barnes and Aisling Conlon.

The qualifiers will be part of the European Championships in Augusburg, Germany from 10-13 May, where Olympic spots are available for boats from two countries not already qualified.

Published in Canoeing

#OLYMPICS 2012 - The RNLI will play a "key role" during the Olympic torch relay ahead of the London games this summer, as Yachting and Boating World reports.

On 28 May the Olympic torch is set to visit Anglesey in north Wales, when it is taken along the Menai Strait on board the RNLI's Annette Mary Liddington.

The torch will again be carried by RNLI volunteers on 18 July when it is ferried to shore from a tall ship in Dover harbour aboard the all-weather lifeboat City of London II.

Dover RNLI's operations manager Roy Couzens said: “We are very much looking forward to being involved on the day – and believe me, when that torch is at sea in our lifeboat, it couldn’t be in safer hands!”

The Olympic torch relay begins in Plymouth on 19 May and finishes at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July. Its two-month-long journey will take it throughout Britain and Northern Ireland, and includes a visit to Dublin on Wednesday 6 June.

An interactive map of the complete torch relay route is available on the official London 2012 website 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.

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