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Displaying items by tag: Portaferry

Yesterday afternoon (11th April) Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team had what turned out to be an Accident Prevention call out.

At Cloughey on the east coast of the Ards Peninsula in Co Down, a dog had entered the water to chase seagulls, (maybe bored with Lockdown?) but ended up quite a distance from the shore.

The owner was thinking of going into the water to rescue the dog, but he did the correct thing and stayed out of the water. Instead, he dialled 999 to ask for help. When the Team arrived, the dog was swimming ashore back to its owner. After some doggie treats and a stern telling off, it was on its way home to dry off.

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Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team was paged on Saturday along with Newcastle Coastguard after a report that seven people were stranded by the tide on Guns Island, off the southeastern County Down coast near Ballyhornan.

Two Coastguard Rescue officers in water rescue equipment made their way out to the island to reassure the four adults and two children, but the incoming tide made it impossible to walk ashore, so Portaferry Lifeboat was called, and all seven were taken to safety.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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 The Portaferry Coastguard Rescue team was alerted by Belfast Coastguard yesterday to attend the scene of a serious incident when a car had left the Portaferry Road near Newtownards and ended up on the shore.

The road which runs from Newtownards at the head of Strangford Lough to Portaferry at the southern end skirts the Lough and was closed for a time.

The three occupants were rescued by members of the public before the emergency services arrived and were taken to hospital to be checked out after this serious incident.

Published in Coastguard
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Portaferry’s Exploris aquarium may soon face competition from a £12 million competitor in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter — and a battle for its own future, as the News Letter reports.

Belfast City councillors on the planning committee gave their approval for the ‘reefLife’ project on Wednesday — despite Ards and North Down Council raising their objections with Stormont’s Infrastructure Minister.

Exploris has faced financial challenges for years, and received an emergency lifeline from the Executive after it was earmarked for closure in 2013.

Now it’s feared the new Belfast aquarium plans would have “wider ramifications” for the Co Down seaside town, and have a “a devastating impact” on Exploris and its marine wildlife sanctuary on the Ards Peninsula.

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of two sailors whose 36ft yacht got into difficulty on Strangford Lough this morning (Tuesday 25 August).

The volunteer crew were requested to launch their inshore lifeboat at 9.55 am following a report from Belfast Coastguard that a 36ft yacht with two people onboard was dragging its anchor and drifting towards the shore.

The lifeboat helmed by Fergal Glynn and with crew members Ian Sands, Josh Boyd, and Rosalind Watret onboard, launched immediately and made its way to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were poor with heavy rain, a southeasterly Force 7 wind and a choppy sea. Visibility was fair.

Due to the weather conditions, a decision was made to also request the all-weather lifeboat from Donaghadee RNLI. A local vessel also offered its assistance.

Once on scene, Portaferry RNLI assessed the situation and observed that the yacht was drifting close to shore off Taggart Island. The man and woman onboard were safe and well. A lifeboat crew member was transferred to the yacht where they took a line to the vessel to take the weight off the anchor. Once this was completed the inshore lifeboat proceeded to tow the yacht back to Killyleagh. Donaghadee RNLI was subsequently stood down.

Speaking following the call out, Philip Johnston, Portaferry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘Weather conditions at sea were not good this morning and the crew onboard the yacht did the right thing calling for help when they knew they were in difficulty and we would like to wish them a safe onward journey.

‘Ahead of sailing, we would remind people to always respect the water. Always wear a lifejacket and always have a means of calling for help or signalling and ensure everyone onboard knows how to use it. Always check the weather forecast and tide times. Make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and when you are due back. Should you get into difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Portaferry RNLI rescued a kayaker who got into difficulty on Strangford Lough on Wednesday night (5 August).

The volunteer crew were on the scene with the inshore lifeboat just eight minutes after launch, following an alert from passers-by who heard the kayaker calling for help at Walter Rock in the Strangford Narrows.

Directed by those members of the public, the lifeboat reached the casualty who had been in the water for between 15 and 30 minutes, clinging to his upturned kayak.

He was taken onboard the lifeboat and made comfortable before being returned to shore and passed into the care of Portaferry Coastguard. The lifeboat crew then returned to the Narrows to recover the kayak.

Speaking after the callout, Portaferry RNLI press officer Jordan Conway said: “We would like to commend the members of the public who raised the alarm last night which ensured we reached the casualty in good time.

“As the summer season continues, we remind everyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water.

“Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach. Wear a personal flotation device and check the weather and tides.

“Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back and always wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and your trip.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Portaferry RNLI launched twice in three days to reports of broken down boats in the same area of Strangford Lough.

Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched initially on Thursday evening (25 June) at 9.50pm to assist a five-metre cabin cruiser at the entrance to Strangford Lough which had suffered engine failure after a fishing trip.

The inshore lifeboat towed the vessel to Portaferry Marina, handed the vessel to the local coastguard and assisted with berthing.

Portaferry’s lifeboat volunteers launched again yesterday afternoon (Saturday 27 June) at 5.07pm to tow to safety a seven-metre RIB which had suffered engine failure at the south end of Rock Angus, at the beginning of Strangford Lough.

Commenting on the callouts, lifeboat helm Colin Conway said: “As this is a busy period for Portaferry RNLI, we ask you to remember to have all your communication devices in good working order, to follow safety advice to stay as safe as you can, and always to respect the water.”

As Father’s Day (Sunday 21 June) wound down, Portaferry RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were paged following reports of an upturned boat off Ardglass in Co Down, Northern Ireland.

The crew launched promptly at 9.17pm in cloudy but good visibility conditions and swiftly made their way to Ardglass.

Arriving on scene around half an hour later, the crew began searching the area for the upturned boat — but soon discovered that the sighting was in fact of a dead whale that was floating on the surface of the Irish Sea.

Commenting on the callout, deputy launching authority Graham Edgar said: “This was an unfortunate conclusion of the search. However we are glad that no lives were in danger.

“Belfast Coastguard will report the whale as a hazard to navigation to ensure all other vessels in the area will be aware of the remains.”

Portaferry RNLI came to the aid of two people on jet skis who got into difficulty at Cloughy Bay in Co Down yesterday afternoon (Sunday 7 June).

Portaferry’s volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat promptly at 3.14pm and made their way to the scene in sunny conditions with good visibility and a Force 4 northerly wind.

Arriving 11 minutes later, the crew noticed two people in the water and hanging on to their jet skis, along with a kayaker who had rowed out to assist but in doing so had gott into difficulty.

The volunteer crew recovered all three people out of the water and took them aboard the lifeboat, bringing them to safety on the shore of Strangford Lough.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Yesterday, Portaferry RNLI volunteer crew were requested to launch at 1225 to reports of a person in the water clinging to a small craft at Greyabbey Bay on Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Greyabbey is a small village about 11 miles north of Portaferry on the eastern shore of the lough.

The crew launched in good conditions and headed towards the casualty position as given On approaching the lateral marks at Kircubbin, the coastguard advised the lifeboat to stand down as the person had self-recovered.

They returned to the station and subsequently were asked to launch again at 1430 but on arrival at the station were stood down by the Coastguard.

All those involved in the incidents are safe and well.

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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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