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#Medals - Personnel from Irish Defence Forces writes RTE, who have taken part in humanitarian operations abroad have been presented with a new medal in Rosslare Harbour.

Minister of State with special responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe presented the new international operational service medals at a ceremony on Saturday (15 October) in the Co Wexford port.

Troops who were deployed to counter the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and naval personnel who helped rescue over 3,000 people in the Mediterranean last year received the award.

Among those receiving medals today were 54 members of the permanent Defence Force who served on board the Irish Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne from May to July in 2015.

Also awarded the medal were five members of the Army personnel who served in Sierra Leone fight against Ebola.

This was the first of a number of similar ceremonies which will be held around the country.

Published in Navy

#MigrantRescue - The Naval Service recently deployed LÉ Samuel Beckett, located and rescued a total of 130*migrants yesterday during a search and rescue (SAR) operation. The rescue took place 22 nautical miles NE of Tripoli, Libya.

The rescue operation arose from a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre when at 11am the migrants were brought on board LÉ Samuel Beckett, where they received food, water and medical treatment where required.

LÉ Samuel Beckett is currently awaiting further tasks. So far the OPV90 class has rescued 780 people since switching humanitarian task to the Mediterranean from sister, LÉ James Joyce which was welcomed home to the Naval Base, Cork Harbour at the end of last month. 

*Figures for the SAR operation are provisional until confirmed by the Italian authorities.

Published in Navy

#RecordRescue - Records were broken by LÉ Samuel Beckett last night with the biggest migrant total transported to safety in one single day, writes The Irish Examiner.

The Naval Service patrol ship was steaming towards an Italian port with 652 rescued men, women, and children.

People-smugglers took advantage of good weather conditions in the Mediterranean Sea yesterday as they herded people on board flimsy dinghies.

They set them afloat in the knowledge that they would either drown on the crossing from Libya to southern Europe, or be rescued by military boats or vessels run by volunteer organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières. For more on the record migrant rescued, click here. 

Published in Navy

#JoyceReturns - The LÉ James Joyce has since this report by The Irish Times returned to Cork Harbour this morning. The OPV90 class ship was welcomed by Minister of State for Defence, Paul Kehoe following a deployment in the Mediterranean in which saw some 2,500 migrants rescued.

The ship was deployed on July 8th following Government approval as part of Ireland’s response to the migrant crisis. Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett will be in attendance at the homecoming at Naval Base at Haulbowline, Cork.

The LÉ James Joyce, under its captain Lieut Cdr Neil Manning, rescued 2,491 people and recovered 21 deceased people. The crew assisted the Italian authorities in the rescue of a further 1,082 people. The vessel and its crew of 59 has been replaced by leadship class sister LÉ Samuel Beckett, which departed last week.

Published in Navy

#FirstVisit - LÉ William Butler Yeats, the third OPV90 class with another sister on order costing €55m, departed Dun Laoghaire Harbour having made a maiden call this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The latest OPV90 class otherwise known as the ‘Samuel Beckett’ series named after the leadship, has been in Irish waters since July following a delivery voyage to Cork Harbour from UK shipbuilder, Babcock Marine. At the time of launch, the Naval Service announced “preparatory work for the contract extension to build a fourth OPV was well underway with production due to start in August.”

As reported yesterday LÉ William Butler Yeats was alongside Dun Laoghaire's Carlisle Pier, where almost a year ago second sister, LÉ James Joyce was named at the same quay. L.É. Samuel Beckett is currently returning to the Mediterranean to replace L.É. James Joyce. She is heading back home next Friday after a three month migrant search and rescue deployment at sea. 

Adjacent of the Carlisle Pier is the East Pier, easily the more popular of Dun Laoghaire's two piers, where strollers could see the 1,900 displacement tonnes vessel. The newcomer which has a crew of 44 personal and is equipped notably with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). They are used for a variety of tasks, among them covert drug interdiction duties and pollution detection.

In addition the OPV's 90m long hull is to improve sea keeping characteristics, to cope when patrolling the more exposed Atlantic Ocean. At the stern there is a derrick crane and additional space for deck cargo, i.e. TEU sized containers (for stores, supplies and equipment), varying to what is required when on deployment.

The OPV90 trio represent phase one of a modernisation/ vessel replacement programme that has led all ageing ‘Emer’ OPV class decommissioned, though the disposal of LÉ Aisling remains to be seen. With the entry of LÉ William Butler Yeats, she along with her sister make up the largest of the same class out of fleet of eight, that includes a similar pair of the ‘Roisin’ class OPV80 sisters.

Next month, a twinning ceremony of LÉ William Butler Yeats is to be held next month Galway. The City of the Tribes is the adopted homeport of her direct predecessor, LÉ Aisling.

The veteran vessel likewise of her older sisters was built by Verolme Cork Dockyard, with LÉ Aisling commissioned in 1980. She would serve a 36 year career until this summer when she was decommissioned.

#FirstVisit - The newest Naval Service patrol vessel, LÉ William Butler Yeats, the third so far of the OPV90 class has made a maiden call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

LÉ William Butler Yeats made her delivery voyage from UK shipbuilders to Cork Harbour in July, had berthed alongside Dun Laoghaire's Carlisle Pier (No 2 berth) this afternoon. The 90m newbuild will remain until Sunday afternoon. On this first call the OPV will not be open to the public.

A twinning ceremony of LÉ William Butler Yeats is to he held next month in city of Galway, the adopted homeport of her direct replacement, LÉ Aisling. The veteran Emer class OPV dating from 1980 was in the summer decommissioned. 

Designed by Vard Marine and built at Babcock Marine in Appledore, north Devon, the newbuild follows a previous pair of the OPV90 class or Samuel Beckett-class in which the namesake ship departed Cork Harbour today to the Mediterranean. This is her second deployment for search and rescue mission of migrants.

The second OPV sister LÉ James Joyce, last year was named at a ceremony held in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, whereas proceedings for the LÉ Samuel Beckett took place at Dublin’s city quays.

Together they were ordered by the Department of Defence under a £81m contract from Babcock Marine in October 2010, with the option of a third vessel.

LÉ William Butler Yeats which was floated out in March at the Appledore shipyard near Bideford.

#BeckettReturns - L.É. Samuel Beckett departed Cork Harbour for the Mediterranean this morning, writes the Evening Echo, as the Naval Service continues its role in European search and rescue operations in the region.

The OPV90 class patrol vessel departed from Haulbowline Naval Base at 10am, and is set to return in mid-December, taking over from L.É. James Joyce which returns home next Friday, September 30, following three months at sea.

The LÉ James Joyce successfully located and rescued a total of 531 people over a recent weekend in two operations conducted with the Italian Coastguard North West of Tripoli.

The crew most recently rescued 265 people in a humanitarian operation off Libyan coast last week. Tragically attempts to resuscitate some of those found failed, with one man and four women, one of whom was heavily pregnant, declared dead by a Red Cross doctor.

Published in Navy

#Recovery - In a search and rescue mission, LÉ James Joyce, tragically recovered bodies while locating 265 migrants from two rubber vessels 32 nautical miles NW of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

A total of 5 people were declared dead, including one heavily pregnant woman.

At 9.20am LÉ James Joyce initially rescued the 106 migrants on board the first vessel before moving to a second vessel which contained 164 migrants including several people that were in need of urgent medical attention.

Those people in need of attention were immediately taken to LÉ James Joyce for treatment which was provided by both Defence Forces medical personnel and the Red Cross. Sadly, one male and four female migrants, one of whom was heavily pregnant, were pronounced dead.

The other 265 migrants are now on board LÉ James Joyce, where they are receiving food, water and medical treatment where required.

LÉ James Joyce was to transfer all 265 rescued migrants, along with the deceased, to the Italian Navy ITS Bersagliere which will transfer them to a designated Port of Safety.

 

Published in Navy

#migrantsrescue - A Naval Service vessel writes The Irish Independent at the weekend rescued more than 400 migrants as part of its operations in the Mediterranean.

The LE James Joyce and her crew were part of a mission co-ordinated by Italian Maritime Rescue to save almost 2,000 people at risk in 18 separate boats off the coast of Libya. The refugees were trying to enter Europe.

The rescue happened about 40 nautical miles northwest of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

For more click here.

Published in Navy

#CrewMedal - The Defence Forces writes The Irish Independent, have awarded a new military medal to members who have been deployed on humanitarian missions.

It will be presented to personnel who have taken part in overseas missions with the prior approval of the Government.

Up to now, the military have been awarded medals by either the United Nations, the EU or Nato for most missions outside of the State.

But those deployed on humanitarian missions, such as the current Operation Pontus, where the Naval Service have been rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean since last year, have not been similarly recognised.

The decision to award the new medal was announced yesterday by Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, when he visited the captain and crew of LE James Joyce in Cagliari in Sardinia. The presentation of the medals will take place in Rosslare, Co Wexford, next month.

LE James Joyce is the fifth Naval vessel to have been deployed since the Irish joined the Mediterranean mission in May last year.

Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far by the 59-strong crew of LE James Joyce and a total of 1,882 migrants, including 56 children, have been rescued.

Published in Navy
Page 6 of 24

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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