Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Rosamhil

A 25 million euro deepwater development of the Connemara fishing port of Ros-a-Mhíl is due to be announced today by Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue.

Construction of a 200-metre deepwater quay at the State-owned harbour and island ferryport may also position Ros-a-Mhíl as a strategic hub for the floating offshore wind sector with potential for 900 jobs. 

The project will bring the Connemara harbour “closer in line” with the leading fishing ports of Killybegs in Donegal and West Cork’s Castletownbere.

Planning permission has already been secured, and construction is expected to take 28 months to complete.

McConalogue is bringing a memo to Cabinet on the project before meeting the Ros-a-Mhíl community this evening.

Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogueMinister for Marine Charlie McConalogue

The approval is the result of a campaign lasting over 20 years, spearheaded by the Aran and Connemara fishing industry and supported by Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív.

Ó Cuív said he hoped it would regenerate employment in fish processing, which has suffered due to lack of infrastructure for larger vessels.

Just under 90 per cent of all fish landed into Ireland came through the State’s fishery harbours in 2020, and Ros-a-Mhíl’s landings were primarily from Irish vessels and valued at €7 million in that same year.

The deep-water quay for the harbour – which is also a ferry port for the three Aran islands – will add 200 metres of quayside and provide greater depth to accommodate larger fishing vessels 

Ó Cuív predicted it would also be a “game changer” for supporting offshore renewable energy in the west, which he described as “the ultimate oil well”. 

A report commissioned by State agency Údaras na Gaeltachta noted that the Connemara harbour was “unique among ports on the Irish west coast in having existing permission for infrastructure ... to support the floating offshore wind project pipeline”.

The report by Dublin Offshore Consultants was presented to McConalogue in Ros-a-Mhil last October, 

An additional four hectares of State-owned land with “laydown/development potential” will be added to the harbour centre as part of the works.

Údaras na Gaeltachta owns an additional 30 acres adjoining this four hectares which will be key to developing an offshore renewable energy hub. 

Early signs of market intent for offshore wind in the region have been demonstrated by Green Investment Group’s recent acquisition of the 400MW Sceirde Rocks offshore wind farm off the Connemara coast.

The Marine Renewables Industry Association has said that new port capacity would be required in the west, in addition to Galway and Shannon Foynes, and it has identified Ros-a- Mhíl as “the obvious candidate”.

Procurement for the detailed design of the quay at Ros-a-Mhíl will be followed by a tender for construction later in the year, and the projected €25 million cost excludes VAT.

McConalogue has said the exact costing will only be clear when detailed design work is complete and an open tendering competition has taken place.

The project will be funded under the fishery harbour centres and coastal infrastructure development programme.

Published in Irish Harbours

The south Connemara harbour of Ros an Mhíl could become a strategic hub for the floating offshore wind sector with potential for 900 jobs, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by Údarás na Gaeltachta and presented to Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue today, was carried out by Dublin Offshore Consultants.

It identifies what is described as “a major opportunity for the Galway Gaeltacht and the wider economy” that could “revitalise the west coast from Clare’s Loop Head to Mayo’s Béal an Mhuirthead.

Ros a Mhíl does not currently have the capacity to support large scale offshore construction activities, the report says.

"Ros a Mhíl is “unique among ports on the Irish west coast in having existing permission for infrastructure"

However, it says planning permission granted to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in 2018 for a 200m deepwater quay “provides opportunity to develop the necessary onshore infrastructure”.

Ros a Mhíl is “unique among ports on the Irish west coast in having existing permission for infrastructure with the potential to support the floating offshore wind project pipeline”, it says.

The report identified possible scenarios, namely:

Ros an Mhíl has the potential to be a strategic hub with an important role to play in supporting the “significant pipeline of floating offshore wind on the Irish west coast;

The proximity of Ros an Mhíl to offshore project locations, and its potential deep berth, provide the opportunity for the cost-effective and timely entry into the offshore energy market;

Based on servicing 3GW of projects, this has the potential to result in up to 900 direct and indirect jobs for the region;

Ros an Mhíl benefits from a significant land bank adjacent to the proposed 12m deep-water berth, under the ownership of both Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine;

Early signs of market intent for offshore wind in the region have been demonstrated by Green Investment Group’s recent acquisition of the 400MW Sceirde Rocks offshore wind farm off the Connemara coast;

A key component of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s strategic plan 2021 – 2025 is the “Green Gaeltacht”. Developing Ros an Mhíl as a strategic support hub for the offshore wind industry will “go a long way in supporting this initiative”, it says, and has been long identified by the authority as a strategic resource, where there are feasible opportunities for the harbour to be a strategic national centre for marine renewable energy.

Údarás na Gaeltachta is “working hand in hand with the community and the harbour development committee” to ensure that the harbour will have the opportunity to “attain every possible benefit from this sector in future” and that the appropriate basic infrastructure is available in the area to that end.

Welcoming the publication, Mr McConalogue thanked Údarás na Gaeltachta for its “foresight in having this report available to contribute to the deliberations on the future direction of investment at Ros an Mhíl”.

“There is a broad context here of cross-cutting Government policies and I understand that Údarás will take this report forward with their minister so that there can be a rounded consideration of the policy issues and investment needs raised,” he said.

Údaras na Gaeltachta chair Anna Ní Ghallachair and its chief executive officer Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh also welcomed the publication.

Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) chair Peter Coyle said “the enormous wind and wave energy resource off the west coast should drive major new income and job creation in the area over the next twenty years”.

“Key to exploiting this opportunity is port facilities. The MRIA has long held the view that new port capacity will be required in the west - over and above the well-regarded ambitions of Galway and Shannon Foynes - and Ros an Mhíl is the obvious candidate with its deep water, land availability, geographical advantage and the support of Údarás na Gaeltachta,” he said.

Simply Blue Group director of stakeholder liaison and external affairs Brian Fitzgerald said that “as developers of the Western Star floating offshore wind project off the Clare coast, Simply Blue Group are passionate about the opportunities this brings for the west coast of Ireland”.

“Key to unlocking this potential is the need to have strategically located ports, to support the development of local supply chains,” he said.

“Assessment of the Technical, Environmental and Socio-Economic opportunities and constraints for Ros an Mhíl port considering the proposed development of Floating Offshore Wind (FOW) on the west coast of Ireland” is available here

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Irish sailors don’t need their attention mesmerized by the horses and people clattering around the Galway Races Week to be well aware that in sailing matters too, it’s not a question of whether or not the West’s awake writes W M Nixon. On the contrary, you’d wonder do the hyper-energetic sailors around Galway Bay ever sleep as they implement one bright new idea after another, for these days the coastal facilities are being developed at a pace which few other popular sailing areas can match.

drascombes kilronan2Just a week after the WIORA fleet had been in town, the Drascombe flotilla were one of the first cruising groups to use the new pontoons at Kilronan on Inishmore. Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

Until recently in southeast Connmemara, Rosamhil (or Rossaveal as the East Coast might know it) was mainly thought of as a busy fishing port and the ferry port for the Aran Islands. But a while back, it acquired a 34-berth marina which has proven so popular that in October this year the Harbour Master, Captain John Donnelly, will be overseeing the official opening of a brand new facility, a fully-serviced 160-berth marina which will be attractive both to locals and those from further afield and abroad who are taken with the notion of berthing their boats on the threshold of some of the most enchanting sailing waters in the world.

wiora kilronan3Packing them in. A week before the Drascombes arrived, the WIORA fleet had landed in on Kilronan big time

Rosamhil marinaMeanwhile across on the mainland, the new marina at Rossaveal is nearing completion

But while this is now almost completely in place, towards the head of Galway Bay the port of Galway itself is contemplating another expansion with marina facilities, while across the bay at Renville, as we’ve mentioned on Afloat.ie, Galway Bay SC has recently made a very clever job of improving its clubhouse, and it is surely only a matter of time before developments in waterfront berthing take place there too.

But the extra-special breakthrough which has best expressed the Spirit of the West has been the installation of the long L-shaped pontoon in the much-extended Kilronan Harbour on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. This was planned to be done in time for the mighty successful West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association Championship just over three weeks ago, and the new setup accommodated the 44-strong fleet in such style that a casual observer might gave though that this was all a permanent new fixture.

Certainly the way that the WIORA sailors partied for their après sailing there and in downtown Kilronan would if anything have reinforced such a view. Yet in theory those pontoons are just a temporary arrangement. And they were put there in a shared voluntary effort which would put some of our more hidebound maritime communities to shame for its sheer enthusiasm and energy.

Those who were promoting the Kilronan Berthing Project - not least WIORA Championship Organiser Cormac Mac Donncha – argued that with all of the new berthing capacity in the city and in Rossaveal, those boat owners would need somewhere to visit and berth safely. This is where the pontoon in Kilronan comes in, with the benefits going well beyond recreational sailing. The users will include the small ‘pot haulers’ owned by the local fishermen, commercial angling boats, commercial charter sailing yachts, visiting motor vessels, and yachts.

Galway County Council were very supportive of the project. Patrick McDonagh, Kilronan Harbour Master, provided supervision and advice throughout. Ciarán Wynne, Harbours Engineer, Galway Co Co, provided the promoters with the various permissions to go ahead with the project. The pontoon was installed by the voluntary effort of local business men and volunteers, in a heartening community spirit.

kilronan pontoon5As soon as it was very competently installed, the new Kilronan pontoon had a fleet in port to show it at its best.

The pontoons themselves were supplied on loan by Inland & Coastal Marinas, based in Banagher on the Shannon. Iggy Madden Transport of Galway, provided the transport without charge. Galway Harbour Board supported the storage and crane operations at Galway Docks and Lasta Mara Teo transported the cargo to the Islands and dropped 16 mooring blocks. LM Keating installed the pier beams, and OceanCrest Marine supplied the special pontoon to H-Beam bracketry. ThermoKing, the Beatty family and Club Seoltóireacht Árainn provided the skilled crew to install the pontoons and make them safe.

Inland & Coastal has extended the loan of the pontoons so that the local committee can attempt to put a plan together to purchase and upgrade them to form a permanent facility. A very significant proportion of the project’s cost lies in the selection, transportation and installation of the pier beams and pontoons. Galway Co Co are working with the committee to try to find a funding solution to upgrade the existing ‘marina’. It has been recognised that, if the pontoons are returned to Inland & Coastal at this stage, then a large percentage of the cost will need to be duplicated in order to reinstate the marina at a later stage.

kilronan pontoon6A touch of the Med in Kilronan. WIORA even had St Pat’s Brass Band (left) to welcome them in.

So efforts to seek funding are currently underway. You just can’t see it not happening, and a longer term objective might be the installation of an access bridge, as the 5 metre tidal range can make that quay wall seem very high. Once the sportsmen and revellers of WIORA had gone on their way, there was ample and much-valued space for local boats of all type, and then a week later the Drascombe Association of Ireland arrived in a fleet from Roundstone in the midst of their week-long Galway Bay Cruise-in-Company. Even though a Drascombe can be hauled up a beach if need be, every last one of them was delighted with the convenience and comfort which the new pontoon provided.

drascombes kilronan7Drascombes and other boats at Kilronan pontoon – as convenient as possible for the pub. Photo: Jack O’Keeffe

Seen from a go-anywhere Drascombe, Galway Bay becomes the cruising paradise its advocates have always insisted is there, waiting to be discovered. The Drascombes, co-ordinated by Jack OKeeffe of Cork and Brian Park of Limerick, had mustered at Kilkieran, and then cruised along the coast to Finnish Island before heading for Roundstone. Mac Dara’s island came up on the programme, and then there was an open water passage out to Kilronan and the luxury of a secure marina berth at the end of it.

They’d hope to cruise among the Aran Islands in detail, but the weather was going to pot and they decided to get on with the next stage of their programme. So as pre-arranged, the open boats headed back to Kilkieran and the cabin Drascombe boats made a passage across to Ballyvaughan in the foothills of The Burren in County Clare, which left them well-placed for detailed exploration to fresh places such as Leenane’s renowned seafood bar at New Quay, followed by the winding waterways of Bell Harbour.

Kinvara was a natural stopover port, and they finally brought it all to a successful conclusion back at Galway Bay SC at Renville, firmly convinced of the unique attractions of the greater Galway Bay area as a cruising ground, and one hundred per cent supportive of the notion that the new pontoons at Kilronan should be a permanent feature.

Published in Galway Harbour
Tagged under

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating