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Crowds turned out in the sunshine to see Fenit RNLI’s new inshore lifeboat officially named Lizzie this past weekend (Sunday 29 May).

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the new lifeboat is being named after Liz Fraser, a Southwark-born actress well-known for roles on stage and screen over a career spanning decades and who died in 2018.

Naming honours were given to Jan Bolt, the station’s administration officer and wife to late station mechanic Bob Bolt.

Guests on the day included the RNLI’s new head of region for lifesaving, Anna Classon, in her first visit to the Co Kerry lifeboat station as well and RNLI trustee and council chair Dr John Killeen, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and presented it to the station.

The ceremony included a service of dedication which was presided over by Fr Francis Nolan and Rvd Jim Stephens. Musical accompaniment was provided by The Tralee Pipe Band; Oidreacht, managed by Michelle O’Sullivan; Fenit School Choir; and Dave Buckley. who performed the RNLI anthem ‘Home from the Sea’ to close the ceremony.

Tom McCormack, chair of the lifeboat management group and station medical advisor, was MC for the ceremony and opened proceedings by paying tribute to the donor and all fundraisers who support the work of the RNLI.

Dr Killeen acknowledged the incredible legacy gift by Frazer: “Being charitable was part of her nature. The legacy that she has left behind and which is here today, will go to sea to save lives for many years to come.”

Fenit’s new inshore lifeboat with the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 overhead | Credit: RNLI/Terry SheehyFenit’s new inshore lifeboat with the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 overhead | Credit: RNLI/Terry Sheehy

He also spoke of the work of the men and women who volunteer for Fenit RNLI. “When we talk about lifesaving in the RNLI, there are two parts to it. One is the lifeboat, and the other is the volunteers. There is a fantastic history of lifesaving here in Fenit. We value and appreciate the work being done on behalf of the community.”

In accepting the lifeboat into the care of the station, Fenit RNLI lifeboat operations manager Gerard O’Donnell said: “This is a great and proud day for us. We are very sad to say farewell to our past lifeboat, the Sonya and Bradley, which served us well for the past 12 years and we look forward to writing a new era in the history of Fenit lifeboat station with this new lifeboat which has been gifted to us.

“This boat, along with the all-weather lifeboat which we already have, helps provide a great service here to the Tralee Bay and extended areas.”

O’Donnell concluded by addressing the lifeboat crew of Fenit RNLI, past and present: “Over the years you have given of your time consistently, irrespective of weather conditions which at times can be horrendous. Day or night, you have never failed to respond when the pager has been activated.

“To all our past and present, members of our RNLI station, be proud of the service you provide, be proud of the countless lives you have helped to save and finally on behalf of all users of the sea and inland waters, thank you for being there to help save those who get into difficulty on the water.”

Following the naming of the lifeboat, the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 carried out a training exercise with the new D-class lifeboat to the delight of the watching crowds.

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Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer crew were twice requested to launch on Monday (30 May).

The first callout came from the Irish Coast Guard at 2pm following a report of a small inflatable boat broken down off Doolin.

The volunteer crew under coxswain Sean Curtin were ready to launch the all-weather Severn class lifeboat when the call came through that the inflatable had made its way safely ashore.

The second callout came at 10.05pm when a man visiting the islands overnight was in need of medical assistance.

With the patient transferred safely aboard, the lifeboat launched under Curtin and a full crew and proceeded straight for Ros and Mhíl’s harbour and the waiting ambulance.

Speaking later, Curtin said: “We would like to wish the patient a speedy recovery. On both occasions the volunteer crew turned up without hesitation.”

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A volunteer crew member at Lough Derg RNLI has successfully passed out as a helm on the station’s inshore lifeboat.

Following an assessment in theory onshore and an extensive assessment on the water, Steve Smyth was recently passed out as helm with Lough Derg RNLI by Assessor Mark Mitchell. The achievement follows two years of hard work and dedication by Steve.

Steve became a volunteer with Lough Derg RNLI in 2018. He was inspired to join the crew by his own rescue in 2010 by the RNLI which made him want to give something back to the charity. Having friends who were already volunteers with the RNLI including his brother-in-law Owen, a senior helm at Lough Derg RNLI, he had good insight into what was required to train as a crew with the lifeboat.

Steve’s helm training programme began in 2020, just as safeguarding restrictions and lockdowns were being imposed as a consequence of the pandemic. Undaunted, Steve persisted with his programme through the online classes provided by the RNLI, and, in the periods out of lockdown, by training on the water with crew and with Helena Duggan, the station’s Assessor Trainer, something which was a testament to Steve’s commitment and dedication.

An experienced diver, Steve joined the Lough Derg Sub Aqua Club as a trainee diver in 2006 and in 2014 became a Diver Instructor. In 2016 he qualified as a Diver Examiner. Steve also had responsibility as the Regional Dive Officer for the southwest region from 2016 to 2018. He dives mostly in the west and south coasts of Ireland but has also dived with teams in Spain, Malta, France, Mauritius and Florida.

When asked about becoming a RNLI lifeboat helm, Steve said: ‘I do believe it’s not just me who has achieved this but the entire station at Lough Derg RNLI, from the helms, crew, fundraisers, operations team, medical, training, health and safety and mechanic.

It is a team effort. We can’t go afloat without the support, time and effort of each other. We are all one crew. I also want to thank our Assessor Trainer Helena Duggan for all her advice and guidance, Mark Mitchell who carried out the pass out, to Eleanor and Chris, my excellent crew on the day and Cathy, the on-duty Deputy Launching Authority’.

Steve says he will now endeavour to maintain the high standards and professionalism shown by the helms and crew at the station: ‘When the call comes to help, I have faith that my training and experience will enable me to make the correct decisions day or night.

‘As all RNLI volunteers are aware, it is the understanding from our families that enables us to fulfil our roles, and I want to say a huge thanks for the support and encouragement from my wife Clodagh and my two boys Cathal and Darragh.’

Steve has worked hard and consistently to achieve this goal, and all of his fellow volunteers send their heartiest congratulations.

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Wicklow RNLI’s inshore lifeboat launched just after 9.55am on Sunday morning (29 May) to reports of a motorboat with two onboard that was in difficulties south of Wicklow Harbour.

Three minutes later the lifeboat was on scene, where the motorboat’s owner could be seen using a boat hook to keep it from being washed up onto the rocks under the Black Castle amid challenging conditions, with a northeasterly Force 3-4 wind.

The inshore lifeboat got close enough to transfer a line to the motorboat, and it was quickly hauled out to sea and away from danger.

A towline was then established and the motorboat was towed the short distance back to Wicklow Harbour. The two men were landed safely ashore on the south quay at 10.22pm, none the worse after their ordeal.



Speaking after the callout, Wicklow RNLI lifeboat press officer Tommy Dover said: “A speedy response by the inshore lifeboat crew in challenging conditions resulted in a good outcome today.”

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RNLI crews from Kilkeel in Co Down and Clogherhead in Co Louth launched to the aid of seven people and a dog last week after their 80ft tall ship ran aground in Carlingford Lough.

The lifeboat volunteers launched their inshore and all-weather lifeboats at 3.30pm on last Tuesday 24 May following a report that a vessel had run aground on a falling tide earlier in the day close to Narrow Water Castle while on passage from Newry to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland’s North Antrim coast.

Greenore Coast Guard and Kilkeel Coastguard were also tasked. But with no one in immediate danger, a decision was made to hold off on launching the lifeboats to assist until the tide came up.

With the rising tide, the ship began to take on water quickly so upon arrival, lifeboat crew transferred on board with two salvage pumps to take the ingress out.

The seven crew of the tall ship and the dog were transferred onto their smaller inflatable tender which was safely escorted to Warrenpoint Harbour by Clogherhead RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat.

Meanwhile, two more pumps were put aboard the vessel and after two-and-a-half hours the ship became level with the sea again. Subsequently the tall ship was towed into the channel where it was able to continue under its own steam to the nearest safe port at Warrenpoint Harbour escorted by both lifeboats.

Speaking following the callout, Kilkeel RNLI helm Gary Young said: “Thankfully, no one was in any immediate danger, but the ship’s crew safely moved to their tender once the vessel began to take on a lot of water as the tide rose.

“There was great teamwork between ourselves and our colleagues from Clogherhead RNLI and Greenore Coast Guard. We had to work quickly to get the salvage pumps on and to remove the ingress of water which we were delighted to see working in order to save the vessel.”

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Portaferry RNLI launched to the aid of four people across three callouts on Strangford Lough over the weekend for the Northern Ireland volunteer lifeboat crew.

The first call came just after 1am on Saturday morning (28 May) when a spoken-word mayday was picked up by Belfast Coastguard reporting an incident on Strangford Lough. There were no other details provided.

Helmed by Chris Adair and with three crew members onboard, the inshore lifeboat was launched for a search of the Portaferry shoreline. The HM Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199 from Prestwick was also tasked.

After three hours of searching and with nothing found, the lifeboat was stood down and the incident was declared a false alarm with good intent.

The second callout came at 4pm on Saturday after Belfast Coastguard reported that a person on a small punt had got into difficulty in shallow waters.

After emerging from the vessel and attempting to drag it to shore, the person had reportedly got stuck in mud in Cadew Bay, south of Whiterock on Strangford Lough.

The lifeboat helmed by Adair launched and made its way to the scene, where approach was made tricky by the low water conditions.

Portaferry and Bangor Coastguard mud rescue teams were also tasked and helped bring the person and their boat ashore, and the RNLI volunteers were subsequently stood down.

The lifeboat crew were called out once again on Sunday morning (29 May) at 5.21am following a report that a 30ft yacht with three people onboard that had run aground outside Portaferry Marina.

Adair again helmed the lifeboat along with three crew members and after assessing the situation on scene, they decided the best course of action was to establish a towline and bring the grounded vessel to the nearest safe port at Portaferry Marina.

Speaking following the three callouts, Portaferry RNLI’s lifeboat press officer Jordan Conway said: “This has been a busy weekend for our volunteer lifeboat crew and we would like to commend them and out colleagues in the coastguard for their efforts in going to the aid of those in difficulty.

“We would also like to commend the person who raised the alarm with good intent for the first call out. While nothing was found, we would always much rather launch and find nothing rather than not launch at all.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

A lifeboat mechanic from Portrush RNLI was invited to join His Royal Highness (HRH) The Duke of Kent at St James’s Palace last week (Friday 27 May) to be presented with a Vellum from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for his part in a daring rescue that saved the life of a teenage boy off Portstewart Head in September 2020. Portrush RNLI station mechanic Dave Robinson attended the event with his wife Livvy, where he was awarded a Vellum for his actions that day.

The Duke – the RNLI’s President – attended a lunch for the 16 volunteers and employees and their partners, including lifeboat crew from Castletownbere, Rosslare Harbour, Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East, Portrush, Trearddur Bay, Salcombe, and Hayling Island, along with RNLI lifeguards from Mawgan Porth in Cornwall.

A total of 12 RNLI Medals for Gallantry were presented to crew and lifeguards by The Duke and six crew were accorded Thanks of the Institution Inscribed on Vellum.

Portrush RNLI Station Mechanic Dave Robinson was awarded a Vellum for his role in saving the life of a teenage boy in the sea off Portstewart Head in 2020. The lifeboat mechanic attached himself to a heaving line before jumping into the turbulent water and bringing the exhausted young man to safety. More information including video of the rescue here.

Portrush RNLI Station Mechanic Dave RobinsonHRH with Portrush RNLI Station Mechanic Dave Robinson Photo: Beaumont Photography

Lifeboat crew at Portrush RNLI are receiving two awards from the Institution for the rescue. Along with the Vellum for Dave Robinson, the Coxswain Des Austin, will receive a Chairman’s Letter of Thanks for ‘his professionalism, seamanship, and leadership under severe pressure’ during the rescue. He will receive his Letter at a presentation to be held locally later.

The callout occurred on Friday September 25th, 2020, when lifeboat crew responded to reports of a young boy spotted in the water off Portstewart Head. On arrival at the scene, lifeboat crew observed a teenage boy in the surf, waving his arms and flailing, while being pulled out to sea by the tide. In a dramatic rescue, a heaving line was attached to Mechanic Dave Robinson’s lifejacket, and he entered the water to reach the teenager, keeping hold of him in the choppy waters. Coxswain Des Austin manoeuvred the lifeboat in the breaking swell, to keep as close as possible to the casualty, while the mechanic kept hold of the boy until the lifeboat crew were able to hoist both to safety and return to shore.

Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘RNLI gallantry awards are given for saving life at sea and celebrate the courage, skill and dedication shown by our charity’s lifesavers.

‘To receive their awards at St James’s Palace from The Duke of Kent is an honour and as the charity’s chief executive, I am humbled and proud of all our volunteers and employees that make up this incredible institution. Every one of them and their families give so much to the charity and our purpose of saving lives at sea.’

Commenting on the honour for the station, Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Beni McAllister said, ‘Words can’t describe how proud I am of our incredible lifeboat crew in Portrush. We are all delighted for Dave on his gallantry award and for Des who will also be recognised for his role in the rescue. No crewmember goes out to get recognition or reward. They are selfless people who drop everything to answer a call for help and the people they leave behind at home and in the community take great pride in their actions. We had a full crew onboard the lifeboat that day, each one of them focused on saving that young boy’s life.’

Portrush RNLI mechanic and Vellum recipient Dave Robinson added, ‘Receiving the RNLI Gallantry award from HRH the Duke of Kent was a huge honour and I felt I was receiving it on behalf of all the crew in Portrush RNLI. I remember that day so clearly and I knew that boy had only minutes left before he was in danger of drowning. I entered the water and trusted in my crew and my training and just went for it. That poor boy was exhausted when I reached him and the whole crew were elated that he was saved. I’m grateful for the Vellum and to receive it with my wife, Livvy, by my side.’

Among the awardees where the Coxswains of three Irish lifeboats Eamonn O’Rourke (Rosslare), Eugene Kehoe (Kilmore Quay) and Roy Abrahamsson (Dunmore East) who were all presented with Bronze Medals for Gallantry for their role in a rescue in October 2020 that saved nine lives and prevented a 100-metre cargo vessel, the Lily B, carrying 4,000 tonnes of coal, from hitting rocks at Hook Head. More info here

Coxswain Eamonn O’Rourke was also accorded a vellum for a rescue during Storm Ophelia in 2017 during conditions described by the crew as some of the worst they had ever witnessed. The crew battled 10-metre seas in force 12 conditions to save three lives. More information here

HRH The Duke of Kent has been President of the RNLI since 1969 after succeeding both his parents as President of the charity.

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Wicklow RNLI Inshore lifeboat launched just after 09:55 am this morning (Sunday 29 May) to reports of a motorboat in difficulties south of Wicklow harbour. The lifeboat proceeded south and was on scene three minutes later.

The owner could be seen using a boat hook to keep the motorboat from being washed up onto the rocks in challenging conditions under the Black Castle. Weather at the time was wind north-easterly force 3/4 with slight seas and good visibility.

The inshore lifeboat got close enough to transfer a line to the motorboat, and it was quickly hauled out to sea and away from danger. A towline was established, and the motorboat was towed the short distance back to Wicklow harbour.

The two men were landed safely ashore on the south quay at 10:22 pm, none the worst after their ordeal.

Speaking after the callout Wicklow RNLI Press Officer, Tommy Dover said: ‘A speedy response by the Inshore lifeboat crew in challenging conditions resulted in a good outcome today.’

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At a special naming ceremony and service of dedication held on Saturday 28 May, Courtown RNLI officially named its inshore D class lifeboat, Frank.

As Afloat reported previously, the honour of handing over the lifeboat and officially naming her went to Martin and Liz Bandey, close friends of the late Frank Watkin who the lifeboat is named after. The couple were representing Frank’s wife Kathleen who was unable to attend the ceremony.

The lifeboat which went on service in January 2020 is funded by Frank and Kathleen, who together shared a love for the sea and sailing in particular.

Frank and Kathleen were married in Bishopstoke in England after Frank’s work took him from the Ford Motor Company office in Essex to the Ford Transit manufacturing factory in Southampton. He soon decided he preferred Hampshire to Essex and when the couple were married, they bought a yacht which was kept in Chichester Harbour where they spent many happy and exciting ventures both around the harbour and into the Solent.

After Frank died and with no immediate known relatives, Kathleen had a decision to make with what she wanted to do with her inheritance. With a passion for the sea and sailing, she visited the RNLI Support Centre in Poole and after what she described as an educational and exciting trip, she was captivated and decided she wanted at that point to put some funds into the charity that saves lives at sea rather than wait until she passed away.

Courtown RNLI D class naming ceremony Courtown RNLI D class naming ceremony

At the same time, the next lifeboat being built was waiting for funds and was partially constructed at the RNLI boatyard in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It was arranged for Kathleen to visit and see the lifeboat she would later name Frank, in the final stages of its construction.

During the naming ceremony, Anna Classon, RNLI Head of Region for Ireland, accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity from Martin Bandey, before handing her over into the care of Courtown Lifeboat Station.

During her address she said: ‘This D class lifeboat is the thirteenth lifeboat on station here in Courtown since the lifeboat was re-established in 1990. The original lifeboat station began operations in 1865 and closed in 1925. Since the station reopened, our inshore lifeboat crews have answered over 240 calls for help, bringing 515 people to safety, 46 of whom were lives saved, while operating these D class lifeboats.’

She then praised the efforts of all those who supported the work of the station: ‘We are immensely proud of all our volunteers who give up their time here at Courtown Lifeboat Station and throughout the organisation and we thank you for the dedication, commitment and sacrifice made by each of you to help others. Whatever your role – crew, station management, fundraiser, donor, you are the embodiment of the RNLI - willingly and selflessly helping others in need.’

Courtown RNLI D class naming ceremony

Lifeboat Operations Manager Sam Kennedy accepted the lifeboat on behalf of Courtown RNLI ahead of Frank being blessed in a service of dedication led by Father Tom Dalton, the station’s Lifeboat Training Coordinator, and the Reverend Margaret Sykes. The lifeboat was then officially named by Liz Bandey.

Sam said the event was a special occasion for the lifeboat station adding that the crew were most grateful to Kathleen for her generous gift in memory of her husband which had funded this lifeboat, Frank.

‘As Lifeboat Operations Manager along with the deputy launching authorities, part of my job is to authorise her launch when requested. It’s my job to send a message to the volunteers, asking them to get down to the station as quick as possible.

‘When the crew arrive here, and get kitted up, and head out to sea, we’ll have peace of mind because this lifeboat will help to keep them safe, as they save others. So, on behalf of all the station volunteers, I would like to thank Kathleen and the late Frank. Your generosity has given Courtown a lifesaver.’

At the end of the ceremony, a specially commissioned painting of Frank at its new home in Courtown Harbour by local artist Kate Kos, was presented by the station to Liz and Martin to give to Kathleen on their return to England.

The D class Frank replaces the Caird Au Chuain which served Courtown RNLI for over 10 years. During that time, the lifeboat launched 50 times bringing 61 people to safety, four of whom were lives saved.

Courtown RNLI D class naming ceremony

The D class inshore lifeboat has been the workhouse of the RNLI for over 50 years.

First introduced into the RNLI fleet in 1963, the design of the inflatable D class continues to evolve to meet changes in demand and technology.

The lifeboat is highly maneuverable and usually operates closer to shore than all-weather lifeboats. It comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations – often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.

A lifeboat station was originally established in Courtown in 1865 when a station was opened at the request of local residents and a boathouse was constructed at a cost of £200. A new Peake class lifeboat Alfred and Ernest which was built in 1852, was placed on service. The station was closed in 1925 before the RNLI established an inshore lifeboat station in 1990 with the placing of a D class lifeboat for evaluation purposes. The old boathouse was later repurchased, and a new D class lifeboat was placed on service the following year.

A crowd of well-wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat before it launched at the end of the ceremony.

Among the guests on the platform party were Mark Chambers, Courtown RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, Martin and Liz Bandey, close friends of Frank and Kathleen who handed over and named the lifeboat, Anna Classon, RNLI Head of Region for Ireland, who accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI and handed it over into the care of Courtown Lifeboat Station, Sam Kennedy, Courtown RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, and Courtown RNLI Helm Yvette Deacon who gave a vote of thanks and closed proceedings.

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On Thursday afternoon (26 May) Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI to launch to assist a lone skipper on a 30ft cruiser with engine failure.

The vessel was reported to be adrift south of Marker E at the Goat Road and north of Marker D by Illaunmor on the lake’s eastern shore.

Lough Derg’s inshore lifeboat Jean Spier launched at 3.54pm with helm Keith Brennan, Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Richard Nolan on board. Weather conditions had a westerly Force 4/5 wind, gusting Force 6, with good visibility.

Around 15 minutes later the lifeboat had the casualty vessel in sight at the location given by the coastguard. By this point the westerly wind had pushed the vessel onto the shore.

With the benefit of local knowledge, volunteers were aware there was clear water at the casualty vessel’s location south of the Goat Road. Nevertheless, a crew member took soundings off the bow of the lifeboat while another used the onboard navigation tools to plot a safe route to the casualty vessel.

Once alongside, the lifeboat established that the skipper was safe and unharmed and wearing his lifejacket. An RNLI crew member transferred across to assess the vessel and, having established that it had not suffered damage, was requested by the helm to set up for a tow.

Given the location and the rough conditions, the helm decided that the safest option was to take the vessel into safe water and reassess the engine.

Once towed to safety, the cruiser’s engine started without issue and all drives and rudder were found to be in good working order. The cruiser then made way towards Dromineer under its own power, while the lifeboat headed back towards the station.

Minutes later, the lifeboat was hailed again by the coastguard to report that the cruiser was having further engine problems. This time a tow was set up to bring the vessel to the public harbour in Dromineer, where it was safety tied alongside shortly after 6pm.

Speaking later, Aoife Kennedy, deputy launching authority at Lough Derg RNLI advises boat users “to have your engines serviced before going afloat and ensure you to replace old fuel with fresh fuel. Remember to carry an anchor with sufficient warp.”

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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.

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