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The RYA is calling on clubs to help make 2021 one of the biggest and best years for Portsmouth Yardstick handicap data to ensure numbers are as accurate as possible for 2022.

The Portsmouth Yardstick handicap system is run jointly by the RYA and its affiliated clubs to allow sailors to race different boats against each other fairly.

At the end of each year, clubs submit their results data to the RYA which collates and analyses it then adjusts PY numbers accordingly. The more data received, the more accurate the PY numbers will be.

Due to a lack of racing in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions, PY numbers stayed the same for 2021 – but it’s hoped that an influx of submissions this year will allow for the numbers to be updated.

This year’s deadline for PY submissions is December 20.

Adam Parry, technical manager at the RYA, said: “As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Portsmouth Yardstick scheme it would be great if this year was one of our largest returns showing how strong our clubs and classes are after a turbulent 2020.

“Understandably there was far less racing in 2020 which lead us to our decision to freeze the PY numbers for a year but we are hoping that this year we can have enough data to help update numbers and help clubs create fairer racing for their members”.

Club handicap and results officers can submit their data online here

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

Blustery conditions made for challenging racing for the seven teams competing in the Ceilidh Cup / Scottish Student Sailing (SSS) Match Racing event, hosted at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu, Scotland, on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th October.

The Ceilidh Cup, a fixture for many years for the club's fleet of Sonar keelboats, resumed this weekend after a Covid-induced hiatus in 2020. Moreover, it is the first competitive event in the Scottish Student Sailing calendar since February 2020.

With similar conditions on both days - a 10-15 knot westerly supplemented by 20-knot squalls as rain showers came through - Principal Race Officer John Readman made an early decision to deploy Flag Romeo, preventing competitors from using spinnakers due the blustery conditions.

However, racing proceeded at a rapid rate, under the watchful eye of Chief Umpire Craig Evans and his team, and on day one a full round-robin of the seven teams had been completed by half-past four, with competitors returning to the RNCYC clubhouse for curry.

The top-ranked teams after the round-robin were Thomas Goodman (University of Strathclyde, 5.5 points); Hector McKerney (St Andrews University, 5 points), and Ali Morrish (RNCYC, 4 points).

On Sunday, the format was a repechage, followed by the semi-finals and finals. The repechage, which formed a mini-round robin of teams ranked 4th-7th, resulted in a 3-way tie, which required significant application of the rulebook to resolve, by reference to the results of the previous round-robin. This allowed Craig Macdonald (RNCYC) to progress to the semi-finals. Fortunately, there was just time for the semis and finals before the time limit expired.

The final results after 36 races were:

  1. Ali Morrish (RNCYC)
  2. Thomas Goodman (University of Strathclyde)
  3.  Hector McKerney (University of St Andrews)
  4. Craig Macdonald (RNCYC)
  5. Jesse Jackson (University of Strathclyde)
  6. Mhari Orr (University of Edinburgh)
  7. Matt Brett (University of Edinburgh)

Therefore, Ali Morrish of RNCYC, with her crew of Brendan Lynch, Iona Smith and James Logan, pictured below, won the Ceilidh Cup, while Thomas Goodman and his crew of Laura Young, Iain Duncan and Louis Hockings-Cooke from the University of Strathclyde were awarded the SSS Prize.

Ali Morrish's winning team, Photo: RNCYCAli Morrish's winning team Photo: RNCYC

Ali Morrish said: “We had a really fun weekend and are very pleased to come away with the Cup. In Saturday's round robin I was a bit off the pace upwind and we lost a few races, but we found our groove for the knockouts on Sunday. The closest/most fun match was the last race of the final against Tom which was a nice way to finish.”

Thomas Goodman, winner of the SSS Prize for best student team, added: "Fantastic to finally get back match racing this season and with Scottish students and alumni well represented at the event. I would like to thank my team for all their efforts this weekend: Iain and Louis worked the boats really hard and Laura, who'd never been a keelboat prior to Friday, did an exceptional shift in the middle of the boat. Congratulations to Ali and her crew who despite our best efforts slipped away in the super-exciting finals!"

Event Director, Craig Macdonald, said: "I'm exceptionally pleased with this weekend's match racing. It's been really exciting to be match racing again in Scotland, and we're keen to build this event back for next year, introducing new generations of students to the tactical challenges of match racing, and the necessary crew-work to make a competitive team."

The Ceilidh Cup/SSS Match Racing will return next year.

The event is part of the RYA National Match Racing Series, which concludes later this month with the invitational National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals at London’s Queen Mary SC in RS21s, 29-31 October 2021.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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It was a home win for Olympian Kate Macgregor and her team at the RYA Summer Match Racing Qualifier 3 over a breeze-on weekend at Poole Yacht Club.

Organisers had thought the event might be in jeopardy due to the high wind forecast for 2-3 October 2021 which saw a number of regattas canned along the south coast.

But in anticipation of a couple of weather-windows, a decision was made to go ahead and the sell-out event saw 10 teams match racing RS21 sportsboats and revelling in the conditions.

Day one saw four flights being run, with spinnakers making a brief appearance before the breeze rapidly built and forced a return to shore just as a 42 knot gust was recorded.

Poole YC’s Kate Macgregor and her team of Nicky Walsh, Bethan Carden, Saskia Tidey and Sophie Pearson, won all three of their races and then continued their winning ways on day two.

Breeze and sunshine kicked off the Sunday with more great match racing and busy pre-starts. The wind then started to build, with exciting conditions and smiley sailors loving the downwind blasts with spinnakers mostly up, occasionally away, and boat handling at a premium.

Despite a few big broaches, teams managed the conditions well for some tight racing throughout the fleet, resulting in a tie for second place and a tie for fifth overall as well.

With Macgregor’s team continuing undefeated – winning all of their matches for an emphatic victory – Ali Morrish sailing with Emily Robertson, Richard Moxey and Sarah Jarman took second overall, as in 2020, to add to her second place at this year’s Marlow Ropes Women’s Match Racing Championships.

George Haynes with Lily Reece, Josh Dawson and Huw Edwards took third place in a very tight battle with Ted Blowers’ team of Tom Hough, Bobby Hewitt, Anna Watkins, who in their deciding match had been in the lead but took a penalty early on downwind, enabling Haynes to get past for the win.

Macgregor - helming for this event rather than on bow as for her Olympic match racing and Women’s World Match Racing Champion title - said: “Driving was a little bit different but I had a really good crew with Sophie, Sas, Nicky and Bethan. They did a really good job so it took a lot of distractions away meaning I could focus more on the steering, so it was a little bit different but it was good fun, I enjoyed it.”

Kate has coached many of the sailors she was competing against and found it rewarding to see their progression in action, explaining: “The racing was actually a lot closer than I thought it was going to be, there were a few pre-starts where I did feel a bit nervous! But it was really cool to see how far everyone has come and that all their training that they’ve been doing has been worthwhile.”

Commenting on the secret to her own team’s success over the weekend, she added: “I think we just didn’t over complicate it. We made sure we got off the start cleanly and on time and when we didn’t we definitely paid for it. There was one race in particular where we were late and also had a penalty and luckily we managed to pull back but I think it was just keeping it simple, and in my team there’s a few other experienced match racers so it was useful having them on board as well.”

Another stand-out performance of the weekend came from Lymington’s Nik Froud and his team - Sam De La Feuillade, Connie Stock, Hannah Froud and Robby Boyd - who won an impressive four of their nine matches at Nik’s first ever match racing event and claimed fifth overall.

Nik, who sails a Moth and is also a team racer, said: “I wanted to come to match racing because a lot of my friends do it and they have a really good time, so I wanted to get involved. I absolutely loved it. I was a bit worried the forecast was for it to be really windy and I didn’t think there’d be much match racing going on - like in team racing if it’s 30 knots it’s just a fleet race - but we were match racing all the time and learning about the rules as well, and all the different boat-on-boat scenarios that I just haven’t encountered before, so for me, comparing the second-to-last race we did with the first, we learnt loads and I really enjoyed it.”

Asked whether he’d recommend match racing, Nik says he ‘100 per cent’ will be back for more and has this advice for anyone who thinks they might like to try match racing: “Just come and do it, if you can fleet race competitively, read up on the rules beforehand, watch a few videos, make sure you’re aware of the differences but just come and give it a go because it’s great fun!”

Next up is the RYA Summer Match Racing 4 Qualifier for the Ceilidh Cup in Sonars at Royal Northern & Clyde YC, Helensburgh, this weekend (9-10 October 2021). The series then concludes with the invitational National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals at Queen Mary SC in RS21s, 29-31 October 2021.

Published in Match Racing

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has announced that its chief executive Sarah Treseder will be leaving her role to become the next CEO at the UK Chamber of Shipping, replacing Bob Sanguinetti.

Commenting on her appointment, Treseder said: “I have treasured my time at the RYA and am proud of what the association has achieved whilst I have been at its helm.

“The team support I have received over the past decade has been outstanding, which has made the decision to leave incredibly tough, but I know I leave the RYA in a very strong position and that it will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

"COVID-19 has focused attention on the vital role shipping and seafarers play in transporting the goods we all need and take for granted.

“The shipping sector faces a number of safety, security and environmental challenges and it is at a crucial stage in its decarbonisation journey; I know that will be one of the top priorities for me and the team at the Chamber.

“I look forward to working with the UK Government and world leading organisations as we look to reduce emissions whilst continuing to promote global trade."

On behalf of its board, staff and volunteers, RYA chair Chris Preston paid tribute to Treseder for her “exceptional contribution” to the association.

“Sarah has transformed the RYA in terms of strategic thinking, partnership networking and ambition during her 11-year tenure,” he said. “There is not an aspect of the association’s business both internally and externally that she has not influenced or changed for the better; consequently, she leaves a strong and lasting legacy.

"The board would particularly like to thank Sarah for her commitment and contribution during the COVID crisis and the challenges posed by Brexit – the association’s response to both has been exemplary.

“We are very grateful for Sarah’s commitment, energy and great passion for recreational and competitive boating, and we wish her all the very best for the future.”

UK Chamber of Shipping president John Denholm added: "I am absolutely thrilled we have secured someone of Sarah’s calibre to lead the UK Chamber of Shipping. Sarah has had a stellar career spanning roles in sporting and other sectors and I know she will provide strong leadership for the chamber. I look forward to working closely with her in the months and years ahead.”

Treseder will continue in her role as RYA chief executive until the end of August, while the recruitment process takes place, allowing her successor to participate in the formulation of the next four-year RYA strategy which will be launched in 2021/22.

Published in News Update
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The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and British Marine have welcomed HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announcement of a six-month extension to the one-year grace period for Returned Goods Relief (RGR) previously put in place by the British Government.

The news yesterday (Thursday 25 March) extends the grace period for RGR until 30 June 2022 for all goods including recreational craft, regardless of when they left the UK, and follows representations from the RYA and British Marine asking for a three-year transition period.

Both organisations have argued that the one-year grace period effective from the end of the Brexit transition period, in respect of the three-year condition for RGR, was not sufficient — highlighting such issues as pandemic travel restrictions, Schengen Area immigration rules, insurance and the length of the sailing season.

This issue was central to a letter that the RYA and British Marine sent to the chief executive of HMRC in February, calling for a holistic approach to addressing the post-Brexit issues impacting on recreational boat owners and the British leisure marine industry.

Howard Pridding, the RYA’s director of external affairs, said: “The HMRC announcement is timely, as we have seen additional concerns from members about the new restrictions on leaving the UK announced this week.

"We will continue our constructive dialogue with HMRC on all outstanding post-Brexit issues, including the repatriation of boats that have not been in the UK under their current ownership, and look forward to receiving a full response from the HMRC chief executive on the points that we have raised.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, added: “This collaborative work with the RYA shows that together we can better influence matters affecting the leisure marine sector and boaters.

“Whilst we requested and set out a strong case for a three-year RGR transition period, the six-month extension is welcomed.

“However, given the current restrictions on international travel, we hope HMRC will demonstrate flexibility to the extension to allow all UK boat owners to return their boats in a safe weather window. This flexibility would also be welcomed by UK boat retailers and brokers in order to keep fulfilling the rising demand for second-hand boats in the UK.”

Published in Cruising

Following the release of the UK - EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have been working to understand the impact of various aspects of the agreement on both the marine industry and recreational boat owners.

British Marine and the RYA have now received further information from both the EU Commission and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the trade of pre-owned CE marked recreational craft between the UK and EU following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Both the UK and EU have confirmed that any vessel being traded second-hand between the UK and EU will be required to meet the obligations set out in either the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) in the EU or the Recreational Craft Regulations (RCR) in the UK when placed on either market after the 1 January 2021.

UK Conformity Assessed

Therefore, this means that a pre-owned vessel being imported from the EU to be placed on the UK market will, after 1 January 2022, be required to obtain a new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark in line with the requirements of the RCR. In order to obtain a UKCA mark, a boat will require a Post Construction Assessment and third-party verification.

Pre-owned CE marked vessels

Similar rules will apply when selling vessels into the EU. Pre-owned CE marked vessels that were in the UK at the time of departure, 11pm on the 31 December 2020, when exported to the EU will be required to undergo recertification of the CE mark when being placed on the EU market. This means a boat will require a Post Construction Assessment in line with the RCD and third-party verification.

As Afloat reported previously, boat brokerages, distributors, boat owners and buyers may well be heavily affected by this post-Brexit position, as the responsibility will fall upon them to ensure a vessel meets the applicable requirements before buying and selling second-hand boats between the UK and EU. Estimated costs of Post Construction Assessments and verification are between 500-5000 GBP dependent on the vessel.

British Marine and the RYA are currently liaising with the European Boating Industry association in order to raise concerns with this position in Europe whilst also directly engaging with BEIS in the UK.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, commented; “As a consequence of Brexit, this is a complex and potentially difficult situation. Faced with the process of individual boat re-certification, boat builders, brokers and consumers will be impacted in terms of both time and cost when selling and buying second-hand boats cross borders. At this stage in time, British Marine is working hard to represent affected members and seek clarification of the exact ramifications of these regulations.”

Howard Pridding, RYA Director of External Affairs, said; “This is yet another unanticipated and unwelcome aspect of Brexit which could affect many owners financially through no fault of their own. We are working in partnership with industry to better understand and mitigate the situation and potential cost burden.”

Published in Marine Trade
Tagged under

British Marine and the RYA have written a joint letter to the head of Britain’s HM Revenue & Customs to call for a holistic approach to the various issues facing private pleasure boaters, the second-hand market and the wider industry post-Brexit.

According to Marine Industry News, the letter covers such issues as the ‘VAT trap’ for British boaters, repatriation of vessels as pandemic restrictions continue, and the status of and reporting requirements for boats lying in Northern Ireland waters.

The two organisations are specifically calling for an extension of the one-year grace period for Returned Goods Relief to three years, on account of the various difficulties boaters currently face in regard to moving their vessels around Europe.

Howard Pridding of the RYA said: “Following months of dialogue with officials and exchanges with ministers at HMRC, we are now appealing directly to the chief executive of HMRC to bring coordination to urgently address the outstanding issues and deliver clear and unambiguous guidance that we can share with our members.”

The move comes in the same week that the Cruising Association launched its campaign for a 180-day cruising visa separate from the 90-day Schengen visa system, which would help preserve British cruisers’ traditional routes to the Netherlands, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Published in Cruising
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“All sorts of strange things” will emerge this year for UK sailors in EU waters as post-Brexit issues remain to be ironed out.

As Sailing Today reports, RYA cruising manager Stuart Carruthers has outlined some harsh truths for British boat owners who had been used to easy cruising excursions beyond home shores.

“As an example, the whole idea of taking a sabbatical in the Mediterranean, living on your boat, which you’ve bought with your pension, has just disappeared out of the window now that we are subject to Schengen Area visitor visa rules. That is just one post-Brexit reality,” he said.

Meanwhile, EU member states appear to be taking a less than harmonious approach to recognition of British boats’ VAT paid status, as the Cruising Association’s Brexit spokesperson Roger Bickerstaff has warned.

“We’re going to be seeing different countries taking different views,” he said.

Carruthers also noted: “The status of boats in Northern Ireland is also unclear — are they classed as UK goods, Union goods, will they be able to enter Great Britain VAT-free?”

Sailing Today has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruising

The Royal Yachting Association has decided that in light of the current Covid-19 situation it is in the best interests of all parties to postpone its 2021 British Youth Sailing National Championships.

The regatta, the UK’s premier youth racing event, was due to take place from April 4 to 9 hosted by Plymouth Youth Sailing Club in Plymouth, Devon.

Typically, the annual event is attended by some Irish youth sailors, north and south of the border.

With the UK currently in lockdown and likely to revert to the tier system once restrictions ease, the decision has been made to delay the regatta until the summer.

This will give organisers the time to plan for the best possible event, as well as giving time for the nationwide vaccination programme to take effect.

We are also very mindful that the young sailors will have lost training time over the winter and this gives them time to be ready for such an event.

It is hoped the rescheduled event will take place at the same venue the week commencing August 9, 2021. It is intended that further details and any Notice of Race will be shared before the end of January. More here

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

Following last month’s news that its Northern Ireland branch’s cruising gathering is going online for 2021, the RYA has scheduled its first virtual cruising conference for the wider UK on Sunday 21 March.

The conference will cover the issues that matter most to cruisers, including post-Brexit guidance, training insights, real-life stories from fellow cruisers, as well as the latest developments in safety.

As always it will deliver informative and eye-opening talks from a range of speakers. And there will also be opportunities for the audience to get involved and a chance to ask your question to the experts.

The RYA says the event programme will be announced soon, and booking will go live shortly via rya.org.uk

Published in Cruising
Tagged under
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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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