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Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy won gold for Ireland at the European Rowing Championships today in Italy, adding to an excellent silver for the women’s four earlier. 

 The Ireland lightweight double saw off a spirited display by Germany, who led early on. Ireland moved decisively through the middle stages and took over the lead at 1300 metres. They then sprinted through the final few hundred metres to win by a length from Germany, with Italy third.

 “It was a decent race, it’s good to be back,” O’Donovan said. “I was off last season so Fintan raced in the single last year. Fintan is just dragging me along in the double. We need bigger biceps. We’re gonna work on some curls which will see us through to the end of the summer.”

 The Ireland women’s four looked impressive as they took silver in Varese.

 The crew of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty raced so well that they pushed up very close to the Netherlands in a push for gold.

 The new Irish combination started slowly, but slotted into the leading trio of the Dutch, British and Irish. In the third quarter the Ireland four pushed through Britain and then tested the Dutch coming to the line. 

 Britain, with Rebecca Shorten of Northern Ireland in the stroke seat, took bronze. 

 Keogh said: “The medal this year means a lot to us because were so close to Olympic qualification. A lot of crews from Ireland are already qualified, and for us to be able to finish that close to the Dutch is a really huge confidence boost.”

 Earlier, the women’s pair of Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska showed well in the early stages of their A Final, but in a hot race they were pushed back to sixth at the finish. Britain’s Helen Glover and Polly Swann justified their favouritism to race to gold – but they were given a battle by Romania, while Spain took the bronze. 

 The racy lightweight double scull of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen gave a good performance in a superb final. Italy were the surprise winners from Britain and the Netherlands, with Ireland taking fifth. 

 Gary O’Donovan had to settle for fourth in his A Final of the lightweight single sculls. The race belonged to Peter Galambos of Hungary: he led through all four quarters. O’Donovan made ground in the closing stages, but was 4.3 seconds off Galambos at the finish. 

 Lydia Heaphy got off to a great start in the lightweight women’s single and led early on. However, Alena Furman of Belarus moved swiftly into the lead and stretched it down much of the course to win gold. Heaphy finished sixth. 

 Enniskillen woman Holly Nixon teamed up in the Britain double with Saskia Budgett to take a bronze medal in a race won by Romania. 

European Rowing Championships, Varese, Italy, Day Three (Irish interest)

Men

Double Sculls – B Final (Places 7 to 12): 1 Ireland (R Byrne, P Doyle) 6:21.47, 2 Italy 6:22.52, 3 Germany 6:23.29. 

Single Sculls – C Final (Places 13 to 18): 1 Russia 7:08.08, 2 Ireland (D Lynch) 7:09.01. 

Lightweight Double – A Final: 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O’Donovan) 6:18.14, 2 Germany 6:19.94, 3 Italy 6:21.05. 

Lightweight Single Sculls – A Final: 1 Hungary (P Galambos) 7:01.52; 4 Ireland (G O’Donovan) 7:05.82.  

Women

Four – A Final: 1 Netherlands 6:27.51, 2 Ireland (A Keogh, E Lambe, F Murtagh, E Hegarty) 6:27.96, 3 Britain (4 R Shorten) 6:31.27. 

Pair – A Final: 1 Britain 7:02.73; 6 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:11.83.

Double Sculls – A Final: 3 Britain (1 H Nixon) 6:55.13. 

Lightweight Double – A Final: 1 Italy 6:58.66, 2 Britain 6:59.56, 3 The Netherlands 7:01.13; 5 Ireland (A Casey, M Cremen) 7:07.42. 

Lightweight Single Sculls – A Final: 1 Belarus (A Furman) 7:41.81; 6 Ireland (L Heaphy) 7:58.70.

Published in Rowing

Two superb performances by lightweight doubles got Ireland off to an excellent start on day two of the European Rowing Championships in Varese today. 

 The men’s crew of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy would go on to have a great win in their semi-final, but Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen deserve the plaudits for taking second in their semi-final.

 This crew is aimed at the Olympic Qualification regatta next month in Lucerne and looked to be an outside bet initially. Their performances at this regatta changed that.

 In today’s semi, they showed great maturity. Italy took over early and were never headed, while Russia and Ireland tracked them in second and third. But the final quarter Ireland pushed through into a firm second place.

 Cremen and Casey take their place in the A Final on Sunday. The other semi-final, won by Britain from the Netherlands, looked stronger, but Ireland even have an outside chance of a medal. 

 McCarthy and O’Donovan were favourites for gold right from the start. Doubts, if there were some, related to the ability of the 2019 World Champions to turn it on again after effectively missing the 2020 season, such as it was.

 They had a real test in Italy, who led early and might have expected another battle in the closing stages. It never happened. Coming up to halfway, McCarthy and O’Donovan zoomed past the men in blue. They opened up the lead to clearwater and won. 

 Germany, who won the other semi-final, will contend on Sunday. However, their winning time was slower than the Irish today.    

 The Ireland double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne were well off the pace in their semi-final and finished sixth. France, Britain and Switzerland got off to good starts and duly took the A Final places. Ireland had a poor start. They tried to move into contention in the middle stages but could not get a hold on the contest.  

 Daire Lynch qualified for the C Final (places 13 to 18) of the men’s single sculls, taking second in his semi-final. 

European Rowing Championships, Varese, Italy – Day Two (Irish interest)

Men

Double Sculls – A/B Semi-Final (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 France 6:10.26, 2 Britain 6:11.17, 3 Switzerland 6:12.79; 6 Ireland (P Doyle, R Byrne) 6:21.38. 

Lightweight Double Sculls – A/B Semi-Final (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O’Donovan) 6:22.74, 2 Italy 6:25.53, 3 Czech Republic 6:27.14. 

Single Sculls – C/D Semi-Final Two (First Three to C Final; rest to D Final): 2 Ireland (D Lynch) 7:02.22. 

Women 

Lightweight Double Sculls – A/B Semi-Final (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Italy 7:11.44, 2 Ireland (A Casey, M Cremen) 7:14.44, 3 Russia 7:15.46. 

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy hit the right mark in their first competitive race as the new Ireland lightweight double. At the World Cup Regatta in Rotterdam, they finished .39 seconds ahead of Australia in their time trial and qualified directly for the semi-finals.

The heats were run on a time trial basis as the regatta was buffeted by a storm and racing had to be delayed and the programme altered.

All six Ireland crews made it straight through in the changed system. The Ireland men's double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne posted the best time in their heat, just ahead of Switzerland, who also qualified.

Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska also made it straight through. The Ireland pair finished second in their time trial to the outstanding New Zealand crew of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast.

Jake McCarthy and Gary O'Donovan both qualified from their heats of the lightweight single sculls. McCarthy took second and O'Donovan third.

The one Irish crew which fell outside automatic qualification was the lightweight women's double of Lydia Heaphy and Denise Walsh. They finished fourth, but made it through as one of the fastest losers.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Skibbereen had a one-two-three in the men's single sculls at their own regatta at the National Rowing Centre today. Gary O'Donovan, who was returning to racing after a hand injury, won his heat, but finished second to Fintan McCarthy in the final, with Aodhan Burns third. Paul O'Donovan was absent because of exam pressures.

UCC's Margaret Cremen won the women's single, while Holly Davis of Lee Valley, a junior 14 competitor, finished an excellent third. Sanita Puspure, whose boat had not made it back from the training camp in Italy, missed the event.

A tricky wind made conditions difficult, although this improved as the day went on.

The pairs titles were claimed by proven internationals: Mark O'Donovan and Shane O'Driscoll and Aifric Keogh and Monika Dukarska.

Brian Colsh of Sligo and Shauna Murtagh of Carrick-on-Shannon came out on top in the junior 18 single sculls at Portadown. The junior 16 eights titles, boys' and girls', went to Enniskillen RGS.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Sanita Puspure and two Ireland men’s crews took medals on the first day of the Memorial Paolo d’Aloja in Italy today. Puspure is world champion in the single sculls and she continued her run with a good win.

 The men’s double of Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle were another success story from the World Championships in 2018 – they finished ninth. They took third place in their A Final, which was won by Romania.

 The bronze medal for Jake and Fintan McCarthy came in a lightweight doubles final won by Italy, with Belgium second – these crews took silver and bronze at last year’s World Championships.

 The Ireland pairs of Aifric Keogh and Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley and Emily Hegarty took fifth and seventh in their final.

 Lough Rinn Grand League Regatta, scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday), has been cancelled. The organisers had hoped to hold the event, and told clubs that some racing would not go ahead. But after receiving a forecast from Met Éireann of a powerful, gusting wind, they changed their decision.    

Memorial Paolo d’Aloja, Piediluco, Italy, Saturday Finals (Irish results; selected)

Men

Double – A Final: 3 P Doyle, R Byrne 6:33.90.

Lightweight Double Sculls – A Final: 3 F McCarthy, J McCarthy 6:38.43.

Women

Pair – A Final: 5 A Keogh, M Dukarska 7:33.3; 7 A Crowley, E Hegarty 7:42.36. B Final: 3 C Feerick, E Lambe 7:45.41.

Lightweight Double – A Final: 6 C Nolan, L Heaphy 7:48.91.

Single – A Final: 1 S Puspure 7:58.89.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Ireland finished third in their heat of the lightweight quadruple sculls this morning at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Italy took the one direct qualification place for the Final. The men in blue harnessed the good conditions and built a lead through the race. They had a clearwater advantage by the final quarter. In a battle for second place, the Czech Republic pipped the Ireland crew of Fintan McCarthy, Ryan Ballantine, Jake McCarthy and Andrew Goff.

World Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Day Two (Irish interest)

Men

Lightweight Quadruple Sculls – Heat Two (First to A Final; rest to Repechage): 1 Italy 5:48.03; 3 Ireland (F McCarthy, R Ballantine, J McCarthy, A Goff) 5:53.43.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: A lightweight quadruple has been added to the Ireland team for the senior World Championships. Andrew Goff, Ryan Ballantine, Jake McCarthy and Fintan McCarthy will compete alongside the four women’s crews and three men’s crews named earlier this week.

Ireland Team for World Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, September 9th to 16th:

Men

Pair: M O’Donovan, S O’Driscoll

Lightweight Quadruple: Andrew Goff, Ryan Ballantine, Fintan McCarthy, Jake McCarthy

Double Sculls: Ronan Byrne, Philip Doyle

Lightweight Double Sculls: Gary O’Donovan, Paul O’Donovan

Women

Pair: Aifric Keogh, Emily Hegarty

Double Sculls: Monika Dukarska, Aileen Crowley

Lightweight Double Sculls: Aoife Casey, Denise Walsh

Single Sculls: Sanita Puspure

 

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Paul O’Donovan and Gary O’Donovan were tested in the men’s double sculls by Jake and Fintan McCarthy at Cork Regatta today. The two Skibbereen crews fought it out down the course with the twins not letting the O’Donovan brothers build a clear-water lead. At the end the McCarthy’s pushed, and there was less than a length in it.

UCD’s four were impressive winners. The crew of Shane O’Connell, Andrew Goff, Shane Mulvaney and David O’Malley left Commercial behind.

The Skibbereen/Lee combination of Denise Walsh and Margaret Cremen were also in charge in the women’s double. Behind them the junior double from Workmen’s won a battle for second.

Cork Regatta, Day Two (Selected Results)

Men

Four – Div One: 1 UCD (S O’Connell, A Goff, S Mulvaney, D O’Malley; sen) 6:33.45, 2 Commercial (sen) 6:38.28, 3 Shandon (sen) 6:46.05. Four, coxed – Div Two: 1 UCC (club two) 7:00.73; 6 St Joseph’s 7:19.29. C Final: 3 St Michael’s (jun 16) 7:40.34.

Sculling, Double – Div One: 1 Skibbereen A (G O’Donovan, P O’Donovan; sen) 6:46.14, 2 Skibbereen B (sen) 6:47.68; 4 Queen’s (inter) 7:15.57. B Final: Castleconnell (jun 18A) 7:19.86. C Final: 5 Belfast RC (club one) 7:57.44.

Single – Div Two: 1 Kenmare (T Kelly; jun 16) 8:01.71, 2 New Ross (jun 18B) 8:03.67, 3 Workmen’s (club two) 8:04.995.  

Women

Sculling, Double – Div One: 1 Skibbereen, Lee (M Cremen, D Walsh; sen) 7:42.97, 2 Workmen’s (jun 18A) 7:56.34, 3 Fermoy (inter) 7:57.45. B Final: 4 Fermoy Castleconnell (club one) 8:17.57.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Jake and Fintan McCarthy won their heat of the lightweight double sculls at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Plovdiv in Bulgaria this morning. Poland led out the crews and held the lead at halfway. But the twins from Skibbereen were already hunting them down, and had passed them by 1500 metres. They went on to win by two lengths, taking the one direct qualification spot for the semi-finals.

World Under-23 Day Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Day Two (Irish interest)

Men

Lightweight Double Sculls – Heat Four (First to A/B Semi-Final; rest to Repechage): 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, J McCarthy) 6:22.85; 2 Poland 6:27.26.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Ireland’s under-23 lightweight quadruple joined the under-23 lightweight pair at the A Final stage of the Under-23 World Championships in Rotterdam. The crew of Fintan McCarthy, Shane O’Connell, Stephen O’Connor and stroke Colm Hennessy finished second to Britain in a fine semi-final. Ireland and Sweden held the qualifying places behind Britain for a good part of the course, but New Zealand mounted an attack in the final third. Ireland upped their rate and held out for second, with Sweden also moving into the A Final.  

 The under-23 heavyweight quadruple finished fifth in their semi-final. The race was won by Australia, with New Zealand and Britain booking their A Final places by taking second and third. Ireland fought with Ukraine to avoid last and held out at the end to win this battle.

World Rowing Championships, Rotterdam (Irish interest; selected results)

Men

Under-23 Lightweight Pair - Semi-Finals (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final) - Semi-Final One: 1 Greece 6:39.18, 2 Switzerland 6:40.01, 3 China 6:44.52. Semi-Final Two: 1 Ireland (S Mulvaney, D O’Malley) 6:46.20, 2 Turkey 6:49.11, 3 United States 6:50.75.

Under-23 Quadruple - Semi-Finals (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final) - Semi-Final One: 1 Poland 5:51.05, 2 Italy 5:52.38, 3 Germany 5:52.53. Semi-Final Two: 1 Australia 5:54.34, 2 New Zealand 5:56.53, 3  Britain 5:56.93; 5 Ireland (D Buckley, J Casey, P Boomer, S McKeown) 6:12.94.

Under-23 Lightweight Quadruple - Semi-Finals (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final) - Semi-Final One: 1 Italy 6:07.44, 2 Canada 6:09.42, 3 Germany 6:10.05. Semi-Final Two: 1 Britain 6:06.01, 2 Ireland (F McCarthy, S O'Connell, S O'Connor, C Hennessy) 6:07.18, 3 Sweden 6:07.28.

Published in Rowing

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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