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Displaying items by tag: Maritime Festivals

#ConamaraSeaWeek - The 32nd Conamara Sea Week got under way in Letterfrack yesterday (Sunday 23 October) with a full programme of entertaining and educational events, including a mini sailing regatta.

The Connacht Tribune has much more on the maritime festival line-up for the week ahead, centred this year around a schools programme bringing together marine ecologists and storytellers to involve children and young people in Connemara in all aspects of the sea.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MaritimeFestivals - The 2016 Carlingford Oyster Festival kicks off this evening (Thursday 4 August) on the shores of Carlingford Lough with the official opening of the event that runs till Monday 8 August.

This Saturday (6 August) is when the festivities really under way, with local restaurants offering samples of their finest seafood dishes.

Visitors will have an opportunity to try some of the Co Louth town's renowned local oysters at the Festival Oyster Tent.

There will also be guided tours of what's one of Ireland's few remaining Medieval walled towns, to coincide with Irish Walled Towns Day on Sunday 7 August.

For more on the weekend's festivities see HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#TitanicMaritime - Belfast City welcomes some of the Tall Ships back for the Titanic Maritime Festival a three day event (28-30 May) that begins today and includes this Spring Holiday Monday in the UK.

Groups of young people from across the city have been enjoying the challenge of life on the ocean waves, thanks to Belfast City Council’s Sail Training Initiative.

A total of 30 volunteers, aged between 16 and 28 and from all parts of the city, are taking part in series of voyages on board the tall ships Maybe and Morgenster. They were scheduled to call to ports such as Dublin, Liverpool, the Isle of Man, Derry/Londonderry, Galway, Cork, Oban, Carsaig on the Isle of Mull and Lamlash on the Isle of Arran.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson, said: “These voyages will provide the participants with a unique, challenging and inspirational experience that increases their self-awareness and self-confidence, develops their teamwork and leadership skills and creates a strong sense of community responsibility, perhaps helping them to become future civic leaders. 

The Lord Mayor added “As members of trainee crews, along with trainees from Dublin, Galway and Liverpool they will be an important members of the crew and their participation in all activities is essential to the smooth running of the voyage.”

During the voyages, the trainees will help in all aspects of life on board, including trimming sails, steering and navigation.

The Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival and for further details, click here.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#OurOceanWealth - Registration is now open for the 2016 Our Ocean Wealth Conference at NUI Galway on Friday 1 July.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this year's conference will again take place alongside SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival, hosted this year in Galway Harbour from 2-3 July.

The full conference agenda is yet to be announced but items of focus will include:

  • Progress on the implementation of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth - Ireland's Integrated Marine Plan
  • Into the Blue: Economy and Growth
  • Map, Observe, Predict: Innovating Across the Atlantic
  • Our New Relationship With the Sea

For more information or to register for the conference visit www.ouroceanwealth.ie.

Published in News Update

#InlandWaters - The Waterways Ireland Docklands Summer Festival takes place this weekend 21-22 May with a wide array of activities for all.

Water-based experiences include kayaking, paddle boarding and barge rides, as well as the opportunity for the young and old to try their hand at a range of interesting water sports.

If you'd prefer to stay dry, events for land-lubbers include water golf off the jetty or the rubber duck race.

The festival promises a hive of activity across the Docklands, with entertainment and family fun guaranteed. Find out more HERE.

This Saturday 21 May also sees the Waterways Ireland Loughfest take place at the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen.

The annual extravaganza, organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, promises to be a fun-packed day for all the family, with a range of events taking place on Lough Erne and the Broadmeadow from 12 noon till 4pm. Details are HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#OurOceanWealth - NUI Galway will host the third annual Our Ocean Wealth Conference on Friday 1 July.

The previous two conferences – in the inaugural event in Dublin Castle and last summer's in Cork Harbour – have outlined the progress in implementing the Government's 2012 Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland.

And like last year's event in Ringaskiddy and Haulbowline, this year's conference will precede the return of SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival, in Galway Harbour from 2-3 July.

Further details are available at the Our Ocean Wealth website HERE.

Another upcoming date for the diary is the 26th Irish Environmental Research Colloquium.

'Ecosystem Services for a Sustainable Future' is the title of Environ 2016 at the University of Limerick from Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24 March.

For more information contact Sinead Macken at 086 807 1498 or [email protected] or visit www.environ2016.org

Published in News Update

#MaritimeFestivals - This year's Dublin Bay Prawn Festival is moving a month earlier to tie in with the St Patrick's festivities in Ireland's capital.

As ever, your favourite prawn dishes will be the star of the show at the food village in the heart of Howth from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March.

The full programme of events is yet to be announced, but the three days of food and fun are set to kick off once again with the 'mystery dine-around' on Friday 18 March, with a wine reception and courses from some of Howth's finest seafood restaurants. (Tickets priced at €65 per head are going fast.)

In addition, this year's festival will feature an evening of music and dance celebrating Irish, Slovakian and Brazilian culture.

For more details are they are announced, visit the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival website HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MaritimeFestivals - The inaugural Festival Lough Erne is taking place in the island town of Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh this weekend – a celebration of food and the waterways with fun for all ages.

In the tented village there will be opportunities to meet local food producers and sample the very best of the area's produce, see guest chefs at work and pick up some informative cookery tips and recipes, all whilst tickling the taste buds.

Find out more about the festival's happenings today (Saturday 20 June) and tomorrow at the Fermanagh Lakelands website HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#SeaFest - Marking World Oceans Day across the globe today (Monday 8 June), Marine Minister Simon Coveney announced the first national celebration of Ireland's oceans next month.

The inaugural national maritime festival SeaFest will take place in Cork Harbour on 10 and 11 July and will see thousands of visitors enjoying the fruits and pleasures of the sea, from boating trips, yacht sailing, open water swimming, marine simulators, rescue demonstrations, sea life exhibits, educational screenings and talks, festival family fun and a food village with live seafood cookery demonstrations with some of Ireland's best known chefs.

"As an island nation, it is so important to recognise and celebrate the incredible resources of Ireland's abundant and surrounding seas," said Minister Coveney at today's SeaFest launch. "This two-day festival will travel Ireland, taking place in Cork in 2015 and with plans already underway to bring SeaFest to Galway in 2016.

"It is a national festival at which we can share our seafaring heritage and future, enjoy a myriad of water sports and activities, have fun while learning about the sea and the opportunities it presents, and feast on some of the world's best seafood. I am hugely excited about this national festival, SeaFest, and look forward to it becoming one of Ireland's leading festivals in the coming years."

Cookery demonstrations, workshops on how to cook and eat prawns, lobsters, mussels and oysters among other seafood will be hosted by the seafood development agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, with renowned seafood chefs Martin Shanahan and Rory O'Connell.

As well as leading Irish chefs showing people just how easy, quick and healthy it is to enjoy fresh fish from our oceans, there will also be fishmonger demonstrations, seafood sampling, rope making, talks on seafood and a large fish market at the festival.

The Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Conference, which forms a key part of SeaFest, will attract international and national delegates and experts in marine research, ocean energy and the 'blue economy' to Cork.

"Ireland is one of the largest states in the EU if you take into account our seabed area," said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute. "With our exclusive rights to a sea area more than ten times our land size, Ireland's ocean is a national asset providing incredible opportunities for tourism, energy, food and new applications for therapeutics and technology. SeaFest aims to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of the sea for the island."

The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) will be sharing their facilities, normally used to train for a career as a maritime professional, with the public at SeaFest.

Festival goers can experience various ship models in national and international waters in a variety of weather conditions via the simulators; these simulation exercises show the skills required when working at sea.

Also open for visitors will be UCC's new Beaufort Building. This state-of-the-art €15 million facility will house the LIR National Ocean Test Facility and the SFI MaREI centre, which is a cluster of key university and industrial partners dedicated to solving the main scientific, technical, social and economic challenges related to marine renewable energy.

The Irish Naval Service will be on hand to provide tours of the offshore patrol vessel LE James Joyce, the sister ship to LE Samuel Beckett.

Members of the Irish Defence Forces will tell visitors about the activities of the Irish Navy, situations encountered aboard while at sea and showcase the latest in modern seafaring technology on board this new ship.

The Marine Institute research vessel RV Celtic Voyager will be visiting SeaFest before departing on a survey to investigate algal blooms off Ireland's coast.

The RNLI are the nominated charity for the SeaFest event and 2,000 ducks in lifeboats will take part in a duck race in Cork Harbour to raise funds for the charity, which provides rescue services all around the Irish coast and saves hundreds of lives at sea each year.

There will also be a parade of sail including superyachts, racing yachts, private leisure craft and boats that will sail from the mouth of Cork Harbour to the Port of Cork Marina in the city centre.

The parade of sail will follow the open water swimmers of the Lee Swim, which is taking place on 11 July and will see hundreds taking to the sea to enjoy a refreshing and strenuous in the sea.

SeaFest 2015 promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable festival for all. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy the best of Ireland's oceans this July in Cork Harbour.

A full schedule of festival fun has been announced at www.seafest.ie.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#Riverfest - The Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association has timed its annual regatta to take place this weekend during the third Dublin Port Riverfest.

Weather permitting, the DBOGA will race in Dublin Bay for the Leinster Plate Trophy on Saturday 30 May, while on Sunday 31 May they will sail upriver to berth along the north quays and enjoy the festival's atmosphere before parading back to the Poolbeg Boat and Yacht Club.

Then on Bank Holiday Monday 1 June they will join an even bigger parade of sail to salute the departing tall ships – including the square rigger Kaskelot.

More details on the Old Gaffers' weekend plans – and how you can join in the fun – are available HERE.

And don't forget this summer's cruise in company along the 'Fastnet coast' in West Cork.

Published in Dublin Bay Old Gaffers
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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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