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Displaying items by tag: Royal Ocean Racing Club

There were mid fleet performances from Irish boats at RORC's Easter Sailing Challenge on the Solent where competitors not only head home wiser after three days of coaching, but also with suntans...so the July-like conditions continued for Easter Sunday, the final day of competition.

Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary was fifth from ten starters in IRC one and Niall Dowling's new J111 Arabella finished the same in IRC 2. Both boats moved up from sixth overall in yesterday's final day of racing.

Racing got underway in the morning with just enough northwesterly gradient coming out of Southampton Water for the race committee to set courses to the north of Ryde Sands. The first race was held in 5-10 knots while in the second, the breeze dropped off after the second start.

Despite a protest over their start in today's second race that might have cost them the top spot, Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw's Farr 52, Bob, won IRC 1 by a comfortable four points, the biggest boat in the RORC Easter Challenge fleet benefitting from clear air in the light winds.

Mike Bartholomew's King 40, Tokoloshe, had a disappointing day posting two fourths, dropping them to second. "It was thoroughly enjoyable, a great regatta, although it was a pity the wind got a bit fickle at times," said the South African skipper. "I think it was quite funny that we are one of the lowest rating boats in our class and we ended up second while the top rating boat won. There has been a lot of criticism of the IRC, so maybe it works! And the weather was beautiful. I don't live here all the time, but I have never seen England so good."

Mark Devereux's Club Swan 42, Brevity, slipped into third today after the British Keelboat Academy's Farr 45, Kolga, was OCS in today's second race. Kolga has British Keelboat Academy crew with RYA Youth Match Racing National Champion Mark Lees, 19, steering.

"For us it was a case of our making sure that all the fundamentals we've been working on in the manoeuvres and the communications on board were all clicking," commented British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, Luke McCarthy. "In the first race today it all came together and it was nice to get second on corrected in a pretty competitive IRC fleet."

In IRC 2, RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine was in his stride, scoring two wins aboard his First 40, La Rèponse. This left him tied in first with Andrew Williams' Prima 38, Max 'Ed Out! which won having one more bullet.
The scorers also had to resort to countback in IRC3 where Chris and Hannah Neve's First 35, No Chance, was pipped at the post by Louise Morton's MAT 1010, which had two wins today to gain the all-female crew (apart from Volvo Ocean Race winner navigator Jules Salter) the overall prize on countback.

No Chance's tactician Phil Lawrence, grumbling that his match racer daughter Charlotte aboard MAT 1010 had beaten him, said that in the second race their chances were scuppered when they got gassed by the J/109, Toe in the Water, led by round the world sailing legend, Brian Thompson. "There was much less breeze and we are not so quick in that and Toe In the Water, which has been sailed really well, got past us and dropped us back into the pack. We could just never catch them."

The regatta's only run-away leader was Grant Gordon's J/97 Fever. She finished 16 points ahead of Robert Baker's X-332, Brightwork, despite losing today's final race to Alistair Evans' immaculate Swan 37, Alvine XV, winner of the Prix d'Elegance (as chosen by the ladies on the committee boat).

Following on from Gordon's Swan 45 of the same name, the J/97 is being sailed by a new team that has been together since last Cowes Week.

"It has been very well organised by the RORC," continued Gordon. "They have done a good job and it is great to get feedback from the coaches. We got some good input on trimming the sails from Eddie Warden Owen, and being so light, the starts were quite challenging. It is a great way to start the season and it is much better to do it when there is a heat wave. Last year, we were sweeping snow off the deck!"

Published in RORC

Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary has had a disappointing start to the RORC Easter Sailing Challenge on the Solent today writes James Boyd.

Traditionally the Challenge has been an event for full oilskins and thermals to counter the freezing cold and driving rain For the first day of the RORC's annual European season opener, conditions were more like August, albeit with the wind cooled by the still chilly Solent. With this afternoon's first race held in six knots, followed by a puffy breeze gusting at times to an unforecast 12 knots during race two, combined with a building flood tide, it was a tricky day for the tacticians, but with the unseasonal sunshine there were no complaints.

In a class dominated by Ker designs it was the Mark Mills-designed King 40 Tokoloshe of South African Mike Bartholomew that posted two bullets in IRC One. Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw's perennial Farr 52 Bob, the biggest boat competing, led the way around the race course with a sufficient enough advantage in both races to finish the day with two seconds.

One of the pre-race favourites following her Rolex Commodores' Cup win last year, Antix, the Ker 39 of Anthony O'Leary, had a disappointing first race. "There would be a lot of beeping," said O'Leary when asked to describe what went wrong. "We had a terrible start. After that there was no place to recover, but the second race was fun and it was a lot more pleasant than the last two Easter freeze-outs. It was bloody cold and wet last year..." Antix, which has had no changes made to her since her Rolex Commodores' Cup victory, is currently lying sixth overall in IRC One.

In IRC Two it is even closer with three boats within a point of one another at the top. Tied in first with Andrew Williams' Prima 38 Max 'Ed Out!, is Andrew McIrvine's First 40 La Réponse. "We got tied up on the first beat in the first race and we tacked into more tide against and more wind, but we made a good recovery," recounted the RORC's Commodore, "but the Prima had the best of it." McIrvine was pleased his newly formed crew is starting to gell. They plan to compete in all the RORC races this year, culminating in the Rolex Fastnet Race. "It was a lovely day sailing. You couldn't ask for better. It is like the middle of summer."

Proving his skill is not solely in racing giant multihulls round the world or singlehanded on IMOCA 60s, Brian Thompson is leading IRC 3 with his crew on the J/109 Toe In The Water. However Thompson's crew, that includes several recuperating servicemen, is just one point ahead of Chris and Hannah Neve's much campaigned Lymington-based First 35 No Chance, their team having three Commodores' Cups behind them.

Chris Neve, sailing with the experienced Phil Lawrence on mainsheet, was particularly pleased with their performance in today's second race when they port tacked the fleet and went on to win, despite putting in a penalty turn at the top mark when they tacked too close to another boat.

Leading the J/80s is Douglas Neville-Jones, a relative newcomer to the class, who co-owns his boat with Erivale III owner Mike Greville. Their reason for having the boat is to teach their sons and daughters. "The young ones usually just get sidelined and don't get to understand what's happening," explained Neville-Jones. "Do this [the J/80] and you get involved and that makes a huge difference, because they actually learn about why you are going this way or looking for shifts. Otherwise if you are on the weather rail of a big boat and the guys at the back are discussing whether they are on a shift or not – you aren't aware of that at all."

Throughout the day the coaching squad, led by Jim Saltonstall, has been out on the water in force, helping crews with their boat's tuning, their sail handling and manoeuvres, etc. With the rule preventing 'outside help' being dropped for this regatta, the coaches can get on board and help. Much video of the racing was taken and this was analysed in the Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre post racing.

"It is incredibly useful," said Mike Moxley of the coaching. His HOD35 Malice is mid-fleet in IRC Three. "Barry Dunning, who has come in to give us a bit of coaching, is always incredibly useful. He is very perceptive. You can see things going on with the sails 50m away that you can't see on board. He has taken trimmers off and put someone on the boat who has coached us directly. So good on RORC – it is very useful. Otherwise you always get good competition - there are some very good helms here and it is always hotly contested."

Racing continues tomorrow with three races scheduled with the first warning signal due at 0955 BST.

Published in RORC

Two big names in Irish offshore racing are among the 30-boat fleet preparing for the Transatlantic Race 2011 (TR 2011) this June. Last night the organisers, the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, extended the deadline to enter the Race to March 31, 2011.

Adrian Lee's Cookson 50 from Dublin Bay and the Limerick Volvo 70 skippered by Ger O' Rourke's both make the entry list although the Shannon estuary's Chieftain is described only as a 'provisional' entry. For Entry list click HERE.

With the Transatlantic fleet now over 30 entries and many new inquiries following the success of the RORC Caribbean 600 - part of the companion Atlantic Ocean Racing Series - the organisers encourage those interested to enter the TR 2011 as soon as possible to secure a spot since the Notice of Race notes a maximum of 50 yachts for the race.

The TR 2011 will cover 2,975 miles from Newport, R.I., to the Lizard in England. The focus of pre-race activities will be the New York Yacht Club's Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, R.I. There will be three staggered starts from June 26 to July 3. The awards ceremony on August 9th and other post-race activities will be held at the Castle, the home of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England.

The fleet will include IRC Racing, IRC Racer/Cruiser, Classic and Open divisions with a minimum length overall (LOA) of 40 feet and no maximum. Competition is building within several segments of the diverse fleet, notably the 100' and up range which includes Sojana, Rambler 100, ICAP Leopard, and Maltese Falcon.

Tight racing is also expected in other classes and divisions, such as yachts in the under 50' range in IRC Racing and IRC Racer/Cruiser including the Class 40s - Concise 2, Dragon, and Kamoa'e, the Rogers 46s - Shakti and Varuna, as well as British Soldier ASA, Jacqueline IV, Sasha, Dawn Star, and Carina. For a complete list of entries click here.

All race documents are available HERE.

The TR 2011 is the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), and is organized in concert with the following clubs: Royal Malta Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Montego Bay Yacht Club, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, Jamaica Yachting Association, Antigua Yacht Club and Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo.

Two races in the AORS have been completed: the Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race and the RORC Caribbean 600. The Pineapple Cup, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to Montego Bay, Jamaica, a distance of 811 miles, was won by Genuine Risk, a 97-foot canting keel super maxi skippered by Hugo Stenbeck. In the RORC Caribbean 600, George David's Rambler 100, took line and overall IRC honors and set the monohull record of one day, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 2 seconds for the course's 600 miles.

Published in Offshore

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Union Nationale pour La Course au Large (UNCL), joint owners of the IRC rating rule, have been in discussion with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) about the possibility of creating a unified organisation to govern yacht ratings worldwide. This initiative to bring the world offshore rating systems together was endorsed by ISAF following its AGM in 2009 in Korea.

The intention is for RORC/UNCL and ORC to create a joint venture company which would run the existing rules, IRC and ORC and then in time, using the combined knowledge and resources, evolve new rating systems that combine the benefits of IRC and ORC to create fast, fun and seaworthy boats for unified competition all over the world.

Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC, working alongside Vice-Chairman Wolfgang Schaefer, are enthusiastic and confident about working with the RORC. "We appreciate the work and friendship with RORC and we believe it is finally time to get back to the IOR era and to the ORC founding spirit, when only one single rule was recognised as 'the international' rule in offshore sailing."

Chris Little, Admiral of the RORC, working with Commodore Andrew McIrvine agree that it is time to bring the development of rating systems under one umbrella.
"We have received strong support from a number of countries and potential owners to develop a rule that will allow us to recreate the international yacht racing circuit and we shall continue to work towards this goal."

Published in RORC

Round Ireland Champ Piet Vroon from Holland is in Wicklow town for Saturday night's celebration of the 30th Round Ireland. Vroon, 80, who has already picked up the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Yacht of the Year award is back in Wicklow and it is certain exploits during Ireland's offshore race in July will be relived when Vroon lifts the Round Ireland trophy at the Park Hotel in Newtownmountkennedy. The Wicklow Sailing Club prize giving includes a new Irish Cruiser Racing Association trophy (ICRA) and the inaugural winner is a local boat, Aquelina (The Tyrrell fmaily) from Arklow.

Among the attendance at the offshore night of the year is 19 crew from visiting UK competitor Malta Puma.

More on the Round Ireland Yacht Race:

Round Ireland Yacht Race 2010 Review

Round Ireland Yacht Race, Ireland's top offshore fixture

A Round up of 80 stories on the 2010 Round Ireland Yacht Race

 

Published in Round Ireland

At last night's Skipper's Briefing for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced a dramatic change to the race. Part of the reason for the change is being blamed on a lack of shelter for boats in trouble on the Irish West coast. There are no Irish entries in this year's race.

Due to a severe weather forecast for the west coast of Ireland for Thursday 26th August, the RORC have decided to reverse the course so that the fleet will race anti-clockwise around Britain and Ireland. The start remains unchanged from the Royal Yacht Squadron line to the east at 14.00. This should give the fleet a fast running start towards the forts in the Solent.

Andrew McIrvine, Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club explains why the club took the decision:

"The reason for changing the course is consideration for all the competitors. We have been monitoring the weather models for the last few days and they are all in agreement that a deep depression will be arriving to the west of Ireland at the same time as most of the fleet will be there. The RORC weather advisor Mike Broughton, believes that this will bring wind speeds of at least 40 knots, possibly as much as 50 knots on the nose. Worse than that, as the wind direction changes over 180º as the low passes through the sea state becomes very confused. Although the boats are very well prepared, these conditions could cause damage and retirements and the west coast of Ireland has very few places offering shelter. By going east about, the boats will avoid the worst of the depression and the confused sea state and will have far more shelter opportunities as there will be several ports that the boats can go into should they decide to do so."

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts tomorrow at 1400 from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

For more information and to follow the fleet via the race trackers go to: http://sevenstar.rorc.org/

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
Over 4,000 skippers have already signed up to the Virtual Race Game for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race which starts from Cowes, Isle of Wight on Monday 23rd August, so there's still plenty of time to sign up and prepare yourself for one of the toughest races on the sailing calendar. We've no Irish entries in the actual race so we might as well try and win this one?

Go to the Royal Ocean Racing Club's race minisite and click on the Virtual Race button to get started: http://sevenstar.rorc.org/

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

Round Ireland Race Winner Piet Vroon’s Tonnerre de Breskens 3, who is leading the Season’s Points Championship by a country mile, starts as favourite for RORC's Channel Race in nine days time. It is the last RORC offshore race prior to the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and some well known boats will be competing in the race which will last between 24-36 hours on a flexi-course. The top boat under IRC will win the Channel Challenge Cup and there are plenty of contenders.

In IRC Super Zero Derek Saunders’ CM 60, Venomous, will be hoping for strong winds to propel him to victory but John Merricks II are on a roll having just won the Cowes Dinard St Malo race and will be hard to beat.

Piet Vroon’s Tonnerre de Breskens 3, who is leading the Season’s Points Championship by a country mile, is back after winning the Round Ireland Race earlier this month.  However John Shepherd’s Fair Do’s VII, Chris Radford’s Relentless on Incisor and Charles Ivill’s John B will also be looking for a good result in IRC Zero. All of these boats go head to head in IRC Zero for this race and the 1760 mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race next month.

 

Scratch boat in IRC One is Neil Kipling’s J 122, Joopster, and they have some well known competition including RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine and Peter Morton’s First 40, La Réponse.  Andrew McIrvine is a seasoned offshore sailor and will also be campaigning his First 40 in this year’s Rolex Commodores’ Cup. He had this to say prior to the Channel Race: “Many of the entries are using this race as a pre-cursor to the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the biggest offshore race in the club’s calendar this year. It is a long hard race, last time out the boats beat nearly the whole way around the 1760 mile course; it tests the metal of everyone.”

 

The Army Sailing Association’s A 40, British Soldier, and Sailing Logic’s Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma, are fighting it out to lead IRC One in the Season’s Points Championship and will both race round Britain and Ireland. 

 

The top of IRC Two is dominated by two handed boats. In the Channel Race John Loden’s Psipsina and Peter Olden’s Solan Goose of Hamble will be looking for more success in the competitive class.

 

All three boats in IRC Three are at the top of the leader board.  Matthias Kracht’s Ultreia! the Phoenix Yacht Club’s Spellbinder of Wytch, and Jean Yves Chateau’s Iromiguy are sure to have a close battle.

 

The Race Committee will decide the course the day before the start which will be designed to suit the prevailing wind conditions.


 

Published in RORC
5th July 2010

Tough Going to St.Malo

This year’s race to St. Malo proved to be a light airs affair but that is something that can happen in any yacht race. Jim Saltonstall is a proven coach at the top level and he recognizes that racing in little wind requires just as much effort as other conditions; “Whether you are sailing in big waves with 40 knots of wind or ghosting along in light airs, you need to sail to the best of your ability to get the results that you wish for. In very light conditions, sailors really need to concentrate on maintaining their focus. Boredom can create mental apathy and the bottom line is that concentration levels have got to be 100% in light airs, just as much as at any other time."

The young aspiring crew from the British Keelboat Academy carried off the spoils, toughing it out on their TP52, John Merricks II, winning the King Edward VII Cup for best yacht overall under IRC and the Lloyds of London Salver for best yacht in IRC Super Zero.

“Besides myself and fellow coach Phil Johnson, all of the crew are between 18 and 24,” explained Luke McCarthy. “The race to St. Malo was the final trial before the big event of the season, the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. It was a real boost to the team to win, especially as we virtually match raced the French TP52, Paprec Recyclage, all the way around the course.

Racing in light airs is always a big test of determination amongst other things but we have been very careful to select crew that are multi-skilled. John Merricks II have five good helmsmen and many crew who can trim the boat well. This allows us to keep it fresh, if a crewmember feels they are losing concentration, we actively encourage them to take a break and let someone equally competent take over their role.”

Line honours and the Sandison Memorial Salver went to Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard, there was no chance of a record this time and even the 100’ Maxi came to a halt in no wind and foul tide north west of the Casquets. However the crew, including renowned yachting journalist Bob Fisher, thoroughly enjoyed the race and their run ashore in St Malo.

IRC Zero was won by Yves Grosjean’s J 133, Jivaro, by just over nine minutes on corrected time from last year’s overall winner; Hugues Riché’s Grand Soleil 44, Spineck. Mike Greville’s Ker 39, Erivale III, was third, another consistent result for the RORC Season’s Points Championship.

In IRC One the first eight boats on corrected time were all from France. François Lognone’s J 122, Nutmeg IV, was the winner lifting the Yeoman Trophy. Bernard Moureau’s head turning JND 35, Gaia, was second with Philippe Reminiac’s J 133, Blackjack, in third position.

The IRC Two victor for the second year running was Ame-Hasle sailed by Jean-Marc Rousselin. The A 35 was a clear winner by some distance lifting the Yacht Club de Dinard Trophy. Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew, was second whilst the double-handed team on John White’s X 37, SX Girl, was third in class but lifted the Slingshot Trophy for best yacht in the Two-Handed Division.

IRC Three was won by yet another French entry, in fact apart from the two big boat classes, all of the rest were all won by French yachts. Matthias Kracht’s win on JPK 9.60, Ultreia!, was made all the more sweet by the fact that this was also achieved double-handed. Olivier Busnel’s Bongo 9.60, Olahm, was second with Jean Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33, Iromiguy, in third.

The RORC Season’s Points Championship continues with the Channel Race
starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes, on Saturday 24th July. Competitors will be hoping for fair winds for the 24-36 hour race, around marks, finishing back in Cowes. This will be the last offshore race prior to the 1760 mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race at the end of August.

Full results and more at www.rorc.org <http://www.rorc.org>

stmalo

Cowes – Dinard – St Malo Race
Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with UNCL, Yacht Club de Dinard, Société Nautique de la Baie de St. Malo and the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Course: Cowes – Casquets - Les Hanois – St Malo. Approx. 164 miles.

Published in RORC

The RORC UK IRC National Championship includes a trio of Irish boats that adds spice to an event that alos draws competitors from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Competing on tight Solent courses there is no doubt that this will be a very competitive regatta with plenty of high-octane action writes Louay Habib.

The international fleet contains many of the competitors that will be taking part in this year’s Rolex Commodores’ Cup and the scene is set for some close racing between rivals old and new. All of the classes racing at the IRC National Championship are brimming with talent.

IRC Super Zero has the mouth-watering prospect of the high performance big boat class lighting up the Solent including some TP52s; Johnny Vincent’s Pace, Charles Dunstone’s TEAMORIGIN Rio, the British Keelboat Academy’s  John Merricks II and Rob Grey’s, Farr 52, Bob.

IRC Zero is virtually composed of Rolex Commodores’ Cup contenders from six different countries. Anthony O’Leary’s Ker 39, Antix, is the current Irish IRC Zero National Champion but only just beat Dave Dwyer’s Mills 39, Marinerscove.ie, by a single point less than a month ago. However Marinerscove.ie is the reigning IRC National Champion and will not be letting go of the trophy without a struggle.

IRC One has a highly competitive international line-up.  Philippe Delaporte’s, Pen Azen, is over from France and the J 122 is a proven winner; having been awarded RORC Yacht of the Year in 2008.

Pen Azen will be representing France in the Rolex Commodores’ Cup this August,” explained Philippe. “We see the RORC IRC Nationals as a perfect way to prepare for the event, the crew will be getting used to living in Cowes and the surroundings but also we will get some fantastic racing with our competition on the same race course.”

IRC One also includes RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine, and Peter Morton’s First 40, La Réponse, who will have their first inshore encounter with sister ship Coup De Coeur raced by Marc de Saint Denis and Géry Trentesaux. Other top contenders include Jim Macgregor’s Elan 410, Premier Flair, and Robert Davies’ brand new Corby 36, Roxy 6. IRC One should also provide some tense moments and close mark roundings with five First 40.7s amongst the high caliber fleet.

IRC Two is the largest fleet competing and includes the biggest variety of designs including David Aisher’s J 109, Yeoman of Wight, Wouter Borghijs’ A 35, Tontin, from Belgium and Chris and Hannah Neve’s First 35, No Chance, who have been selected for the forthcoming Rolex Commodores’ Cup.  “The First 35 is a new design this year and we are absolutely loving the boat,” explained Chris Neve. “We are really looking forward to the championship.”

The scratch boat in IRC Three is Mike and Jamie Holmes’ J 97, Jika Jika, who should have a close tussle on the water with Richard Sparrow’s J 92, Who’s To No.

There are several Quarter Tonners expected including Paul Kelsey’s Runaway Bus, James Morland’s Menace and Louise Morton’s Espada. “This week there were 35 boats competing for the Quarter Ton Cup, enjoying some fantastic racing.  It would be marvellous to see a big turn out for the RORC IRC National Championship, it is a great event and one not to be missed,” said Louise.

Early entry closes tomorrow, Thursday 17th June. For full information go to the RORC web site: http://www.rorc.org

 

 

Published in RORC
Page 11 of 12

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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