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Displaying items by tag: RV Celtic Explorer

#MarineScience - The Marine Institute invites fifth and sixth class primary school pupils to take part in Exploring the XTRA-Ordinary, a new writing competition where the winner and their class will be invited to visit Ireland’s national maritime research vessel Celtic Explorer in Galway in early December.

Students are asked to get creative and write a poem about the XTRA-Ordinary exploration on the RV Celtic Explorer and demonstrate their understanding of Ireland’s marine life and ocean.   

The winner and their class will be given a tour on board the RV Celtic Explorer and get to meet the crew and scientists that work on board, as well as see the Remotely Operated Vehicle Holland 1.   

Students will also get the opportunity to visit the Dry Lab, where scientists collect data from the ocean that is used to produce maps of Ireland’s seabed, and the Wet Lab where scientists collect marine samples and research marine species that live in the ocean.

A short-list of the entries will be displayed and winners will be announced at the 2013 Galway Science and Technology Festival that takes place at NUI Galway on 24 November from 10am to 6pm.

Entries must be sent to Cushla Dromgool-Regan, The RV Celtic Explorer’s  XTRA-Ordinary Writing Competition, Communications Office, The Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co Galway. The closing date for entries is Thursday 21 November 2013.

For more information about the competition see HERE. And teachers can find lesson plans about poetry, images and footage of marine species and habitats and the activities of the RV Celtic Explorer on the Marine Institute website HERE.

In other schools news, Ayr Hill National School in Ramelton, Co Donegal took the top honour in the 'Something Fishy' education programme for 2013.

Students and staff from the school visited the Donegal Education Centre on Friday 25 October to receive their national award – won in the last two years by schools in Co Wexford - for their class project on the River Leannan and the threat posed to it by invasive species.

At the award ceremony, Ayr Hill principal Hilary McNutt was presented with the perpetual trophy by Inland Fisheries Ireland chief Dr Ciaran Byrne and a class trophy from the IFI board chair Brendan O’Mahony. 

Donegal GAA player Mark McHugh was also on hand to add his congratulations and present each student with an individual ‘goodie bag’. 

McNutt praised the work of her pupils, the Education Centre and IFI staff Owen Kelly and Paul Burke, whose interest and passion for their work enthused and engaged the children with the project.

The River Leannan project involved preparatory class work and the pupils visiting eight sites along the river from source to sea taking physical readings as well as looking at land use, flora and fauna and in particular watching out for ‘alien species'.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineScience - The RV Celtic Explorer is nearly a week into its Celtic Sea Herring Survey for 2013 with a wide variety of marine wildlife sightings already on record.

Some 15 scientists comprise the crew of the research vessel for the 3,200-nautical-mile voyage, including eight members of the core acoustic and biological team, plus four seabird observers, one marine mammal observer, one observer from the fishing industry and a PhD student in environmental microplastics.

The boat's first day at sea saw the crew treated to the sight of more than 50 common dolphins around the Blasket Islands and Dingle Bay, which also boasts an important concentration of seabird species such as sooty shearwaters, guillemots and storm petrels.

The latter, also known as 'stormies', are one of the hardiest bird species, especially for their tiny size - many living for up to 30 years despite the challenging conditions the face far out to sea on their migratory path to south-west Africa.

But herring stocks are the focus of this survey, and where there's herring there are whales - with multiple fin whales and at least one humpback whale spotted south of Union Hall last Thursday 10 October.

For more updates from the Celtic Explorer crew follow their [email protected] blog HERE.

Published in Marine Science

#MarineSCIENCE- Postgraduate students from the International SmartOcean Graduate Enterprise Initiative (ISGEI) recently had the experience of a two-day practical offshore course in advanced marine technologies onboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Voyager.

The course focussed on Sensors, Moorings and other autonomous marine monitoring systems and examined biological, chemical, acoustic and visual sensing, biofouling of sensors, communications and telemetry and sensor calibration.

This innovative pilot training course was developed and delivered by Dublin City University and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) based in Galway-Mayo institute of Technology, in association with NUI Galway and Smart Bay Ireland and with ship-time provided by the Marine Institute.

According to Prof. Fiona Regan of DCU "Practical offshore courses enhance the skills base of the International Smart Ocean Graduates. We need to build capacity in this area and the SMART programme offers fantastic training opportunities for our researchers."

The practical considerations when deploying a sensor platform was also explored, in particular site assessment, determination of local hydrographic conditions, deployment
and recovery of mornings and in situ maintenance.

Other elements essential to working in an offshore environment were examined including navigation, safety at sea, and the risk assessment of operations at sea.

James Kelly of Tyndall National Institute is an ISGEI student and took part in the training: "The most valuable part of the training for me would be related to the sensor work and the information on biofouling, and as I am an electrical engineer, that is what I had hoped to get from the training".

SMART Coordinator Dr Pauhla McGrane stressed the collaborative effort involved in the development and delivery of the course stating "The ISGEI Sensors and Moorings course shows what can be achieved through effective collaboration of research and industry with the pooling of expertise and infrastructure to deliver innovative, novel training essential to the career development of emerging marine scientists and technicians".

The training was carried out under the Sea Change strategy with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan 2007–2013.

Published in Marine Science

#IrishSeaSurvey – The Marine Institute's Galway based RV Celtic Explorer made a brief call yesterday to Dublin Port, while in between carrying out separate scientific surveys, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 65m vessel, which is not a regular visitor to the port, had berthed at Ocean Pier. According to the Marine Institute's vessel survey schedule, she was conducting a Methane-derived Authigenic Carbonate (MDAC) survey headed by chief scientist Dr. Yvonne Leahy of the institute.

The survey was to complete a drop camera survey of a MDAC site in the Irish Sea, some 25 nautical miles offshore of Dublin Bay.

Celtic Explorer which is 2,425 tonnes and has a total of 35 personnel, and equally the same number of days in endurance range. Accommodation is for 22-30 scientists, 13-15 crew (dependent to operational requirements). Scientific quarters are for 4 single cabins and 9 double en-suite cabins.

Her inshore fleetmate, the 31m RV Celtic Voyager of 340 tonnes has an endurance capability of 14 days. A total of 15 personel made up of 8 scientists and 7 crew are accommodated in 4-berth quarters.

 

Published in Marine Science

#SCIENCE SHIPS – It is a rare to have both Marine Institute research vessels calling at the same time to east-coast ports, as normally these Galway-based ships managed by P&O Maritime Services, work off the rest of the Irish coast, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Aflaot.ie, the RV Celtic Explorer docked in Dublin Port earlier this week. The 65.5m long vessel currently remains moored alongside Sir John Rogersons Quay (berth 6) as the 10-day Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) concludes tomorrow in the Convention Centre. High-level delegates from the international scientific community have made the short crossing over the Liffey's Samuel Beckett Bridge to be welcomed on board.

Across Dublin Bay the RV Celtic Voyager had called to Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, where she stayed overnight for a mid-scientific cruise break, while berthed at St. Michaels Wharf. The 31.4m vessel this morning resumed her scheduled Infomar 2 hydrographic work in the Irish Sea.

Published in Marine Science

#ESOF IN DUBLIN - The Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) is to take place in the Convention Centre in Dublin from tomorrow until next Sunday. As part of the key conference, the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer which docked in the centre of the port today, is expected to relocate berths later in the week for visiting high-level delegates, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The forum is billed as Europe's largest general science conference and the capital was chosen to host the Dublin 'City of Science 2012' festival which is year-long celebration of science. The prestigious international event features over 160 events that will showcase the best of Irish culture, arts and science.

Added to this is a 'Science in the City' festival (6-15th July) which is currently well-under way, for further information visit www.dublinscience2012.ie

Published in Marine Science

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the Marine Institute's research vessel RV Celtic Explorer in Dublin Port today, where he announced the creation of 92 jobs in the marine sector, writes Jehan Ashmore.

"Ireland is now recognised as an emerging power in Marine Research and Innovation," said the Taoiseach. Of the new positions, 64 will be generated in the seafood processing sector. This follows a €3.5m Seafood Processing Business Investment Scheme administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). In the area of marine research, 28 jobs have been created through funding of €2m from an International SmartOcean Graduate Programme.

SmartOcean is a collaboration between IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology), the Marine Institute, five Irish universities and key multinationals and SME Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies to provide funding for 28 research posts.

The Taoiseach said: "This has been achieved through the mapping of the 90% of Irish national territory that lies under the Atlantic, the creation of a quarter of a billion Euros worth of marine research infrastructure, and the fostering of strong linkages between industry and research centres, all of which will support employment opportunities in key areas of potential growth in the marine sector."

During the tour of the RV Celtic Explorer, the Taoiseach who was accompanied by Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, Simon Coveney, welcomed the expansion of Ireland's capabilities in the international shipping services sector, which is expected to attract additional jobs to the country.

Ireland's emerging international shipping services sector has continued to grow, underpinned by a number of investments in new and second hand ships over the last twelve months by such companies as Arklow Shipping and the Mainport Group, as well as foreign direct investments by D'Amico and Ardmore shipping.

As reported on Afloat.ie, RV Celtic Explorer had arrived yesterday into Dublin Port, having completed a fisheries demersal survey which started in Galway on 23 September. Initially she had docked at Ocean Pier but she subsequently shifted berths to Sir John Rogersons Quay for today's reception of An Taoiseach. According to her survey schedule she is due to depart tomorrow on a herring acoustic survey which is to take place in the Celtic Sea and off the south-west coast.

Published in Marine Science
On a rare occasion both the Marine Institute's research vessels docked in both Dublin Bay ports today, normally these vessels operate mostly off the western seaboard and using their home-port of Galway Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 65m RV Celtic Explorer (2002 /2,425grt) made an early morning call to Dublin Port's Ocean Pier. Her smaller fleet-mate RV Celtic Voyager (1996/340grt) made a midday arrival to Dun Laoghaire Harbour's East Pier. She moored at the same berth last month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie The larger vessel has a greater range capability while the smaller vessel covers more inshore-work throughout the Irish coastline.

According to the vessels survey schedules, RV Celtic Explorer had today completed fisheries demersal surveys which started in Galway on 23 September. The near fortnight-long survey was conducted in the ICES area VI, under the direction of chief scientist, Dave Stokes.

On Friday she embarks on a herring acoustic survey which is to take place in the Celtic Sea and the south-west. This survey will be under chief scientist Ciaran O'Donnell and is to de-mobilise in Cork on 27 October. To read more about her 2011 survey programme click HERE.

Across Dublin Bay in neighbouring Dun Laoghaire, the 31m RV Celtic Voyager is currently nearing the end of a month-long hydrography survey of the Celtic Sea. The survey had started in Howth Harbour on 17 September under chief scientist Kevin Sheehan. For the time-being she remains moored in Dun Laoghaire prior to resuming survey work which will continue until the vessel de-mobilises in Rosslare in mid-October. To find out more about her remaining surveys for this year click HERE.

On the surveys outlined they are conducted on behalf of Marine Institute scientists, though the vessels are also allocated ship-time for use of third parties. These include government departments and agencies, universities, research institutes and industry. For further information on the research vessels, survey schedules etc can be found by visiting: www.marine.ie/home/Research+Vessels.htm

 

Published in Marine Science
The Marine Institute's two research vessels, RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager are to lead Europe with an all-time record of 627 days spent at sea of between both ships, well above the average for equivalent European research vessels.
In 2011, the RV Celtic Explorer is scheduled for 17 surveys in Irish waters resulting in 344 days at sea and the RV Celtic Voyager with 29 surveys resulting in 283 days at sea. In comparison, in 2010 the RV Celtic Explorer spent 308 days at sea with 18 surveys and as well as undergoing a refit. The Celtic Voyager took 280 sea-going days resulting in 32 surveys.

These figures compare favourably with our European counterparts, reflecting a high level of activity on national and international research and monitoring programmes.

Work duties in 2011 for the Galway based vessels will range from fisheries surveys to underwater mapping and from climate studies to deepwater surveys with the remotely operated submersible ROV Holland 1. The work schedule will facilitate training missions and to carry out essential maintenance work on Ireland's network of data buoys that, in parallel to their research function, supply the vital information on which weather and shipping forecasts are based.

The increased activity of the research vessels reflects the growing imperative to understand and sustainably manage the economic potential of our offshore marine territories, an area over ten times that of Ireland itself.

A major role of the ships' workload will be commercial fish stock assessments. Together they are to devote 141 days on stock surveys in support of the sustainable management of Ireland's fisheries.

The RV Celtic Voyager will conduct underwater television surveys of valuable prawn stocks off the Aran Islands, the Irish and Celtic Seas, working on blue whiting, a survey of herring stocks in the north-west. In addition a comprehensive 54-day annual Irish Groundfish Survey which will take place in stages all around the Irish coast from September to December.

The survey will be the largest undertaken by an Irish research vessel and is essential to providing the scientific data used to inform the annual quota negotiations required in Brussels each year.

For the 2011 schedule for both vessels is available to view by clicking HERE and the Maritime Institute website click this link.

At 65.5m RV Celtic Explorer (2,425grt) accommodates 35 personnel and up to 21 scientists and 31.4m RV Celtic Voyager (340grt) with up to 8 scientists and a maximum endurance of 14-day days. For detailed technical specifications of the Dutch built vessels, RV Celtic Explorer, click here to download a PDF file and for the RV Celtic Voyager click here

For further information contact: Dr John Joyce, Communications Manager of Marine Institute on 087 2250871

Published in Marine Science
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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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