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Displaying items by tag: Olympic torch relay

#PORTS & SHIPPING REVIEW: Over the last fortnight Jehan Ashmore reported the shipping scene which saw President Higgins officially reopen the National Maritime Museum of Ireland in Dun Laoghaire.

The President was again on duty on the far side of Dublin Bay the next day to welcome the London Olympics 2012 Torch Relay on its first visit to the state in Howth Harbour, where the headquarters of the Olympic Council of Ireland are based.

The mid-west port of Galway was where the small German cruiseship Bremen made a port of call while at anchorage in Galway Bay.

Returning to the east coast in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, where the Water Wag's the oldest one design racing class in the world celebrate their 125 anniversary regatta week which culminates today.

Outside the harbour in Dublin Bay, the sight of a rig re-appearing was not for oil but for further preliminary work as part of the €220m Dublin Bay Project, where a new sewage pipeline outfall is to be built from Ringsend.

On the other side of the Irish Sea, the cruiseship Ocean Countess departed Liverpool City Cruise Terminal bound for Cobh. Her departure coincided on the 30th anniversary of the end of the Falklands Conflict, where in 1982, the cruiseship was used as a troopship to assist logistical operations after the 10-week long war ceased in June of that year.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#OLYMPIC FERRY– With 50 days to go to the start of the London Olympic Games, the torch-relay is to depart Northern Ireland this afternoon with P&O Ferries on the North Channel service to Scotland, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Before the flame reaches the Port of Larne, 67 torch-bearers will have carried the torch today on a near 120 mile journey across the north having departed Newcastle this morning.

A highlight of the day was a water crossing on Lough Neagh, where the flame was carried by the boat Island Warrior on the largest lake on the island of Ireland. Eorann O'Neil from Crumlin had the honour of torch-bearer and the 16 year-old was nominated for his dedication to swimming.

When the torch with its accompanying escort of support vehicles arrives in Larne mid-afternoon, the flame will be taken to an event to mark it leaving Northern Ireland. An hour later the torch's motorcade is to head for the port to board the P&O conventional ferry European Highlander on the 16.30hrs sailing for Cairnryan in Galloway. The 21,188grt ferry will arrive at the port on Lough Ryan some two hours later.

Tomorrow morning sees the start of the first relay in Scotland which is scheduled to start at 06.08hrs and takes place further down along Lough Ryan at the former ferryport of Stranraer.

The ferryport closed last November when Stena Line switched Scottish ferry terminals to Cairnryan, where sailings to Belfast are still maintained by a pair of 30, 285grt 'Superfast' sisters. Close to the new €80m Stena terminal is the existing terminal that serves P&O's operations.

Tomorrow's torch returns to Cairnryan as the relay route heads northwards to Glasgow which marks the day's final destination. After the torch completes touring Scotland the relay will cross the border to England to head back to London 70 days after originally embarking on a tour of the UK and detour to Dublin. The capital has been the only location visited by the torch relay outside that of the UK and Greece.

Published in Ferry

#OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY – President Michael D.Higgins welcomed the London 2012 Olympics Torch Relay for the first time to Ireland in Howth Harbour, where the first torch-bearer Cillian Kirwin from St Fintan's High School in Sutton had the honour of running with the flame, reports Jehan Ashmore.

Kirwin, a 15 year-old cross country champion was greeted by the President. Also attending where Lord Sebastian Coe of the London Olympics, Sir Craig Reedie of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) representing Jacques Rogge, Pat Hickey President Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and Mayor of Fingal Cllr Gerry McGuire, aswell as Carál Ní Chuilín, Sports Minister of Northern Ireland who accompanied the relay.

Hundreds of locals, excited schoolchildren and visitors alike enjoyed the festive atmosphere at the fishing harbour where the Olympic Council of Ireland headquarters are based. Their premises formerly Howth House, built around 1807 was where the supervisor of Howth Harbour resided.

Today's historic event with its detour to the republic is part of a 70-day London torch relay tour in the UK. Earlier this morning the torch had crossed the border where it was passed between two former Olympic boxers, Belfast's Wayne McCullough and Dubliner Michael Carruth.

The President told the large crowd that the flame's arrival in Ireland symbolised the growing closeness of the relationship between the UK and Ireland. The President spoke of the Olympics "where sport builds bridges" and of friendship and fairplay.

After a brief ceremony the Olympic hymn was sung by local children from Scoil Mhuire Primary School as the flame was whisked away under Garda escort to Dublin. The torch tour included Croke Park, the Garden of Remembrance, GPO and Trinity College.

When the torch reached the Liffey, it was carried across the Samuel Beckett Bridge by former international soccer player Paul McGrath to the Grand Canal Theatre. At the same time Dublin Port Company tug sisters Shackleton and Beaufort paid a tribute by firing powerful water jets high into the sky.

The sporting spectacle drew large crowds along the bridge and office workers looked down from their quayside offices to witness the torch head for its final destination in St. Stephens' Green.

Irish team's Chef de Mission Sonia O'Sullivan became the final torch-bearer. The celebrations culminated when she performed lighting an Olympic cauldron to commemorate the visit.

Published in Olympics 2012

#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

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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