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Displaying items by tag: Royal Yacht Squadron

A team from Royal Cork Yacht Club made a strong showing in Cowes at the second annual Global Team Racing Regatta over the weekend.

Extreme conditions beset the 12-team fleet hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, all racing in matched J70s that faced winds rarely less than 18 knots.

Each day saw a similar pattern of fresh breeze mounting to gale force by early afternoon resulting in racing being abandoned.

Despite this, the race management team delivered a full round robin that was fought hard to the very end, with a thrilling climax that saw St Francis Yacht Club from San Francisco awarded the title after two late errors by last year’s winners, the contingent from Royal Thames.

The Global Team Racing Regatta, of which the Royal Cork was a part in its debut last year, will move to Italy for its third edition in 2020 where it will be hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

Final Standings

  1. St Francis Yacht Club (USA)
  2. Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR)
  3. New York Yacht Club (USA)
  4. Newport Harbor Yacht Club (USA)
  5. Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL)
  6. Dutch Match and Team Race Association
  7. Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR)
  8. Bayerischer Yacht Club (GER)
  9. Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (AUS)
  10. Yacht Club Argentino (ARG)
  11. Japanese Sailing Federation (JAP)
  12. Royal Bombay Yacht Club (IND)
Published in Royal Cork YC

The two America’s Cup Challenges made through the Royal Yacht Squadron by Lord Dunraven of Adare in County Limerick in 1893 and 1895 both had elements of controversy writes W M Nixon. And such serious ill-feeling emerged after his challenge of 1895 that Dunraven was subsequently relieved of his Honorary Membership of the defending New York Yacht Club, an extreme and unprecedented step which led to international diplomatic moves to smooth the waters between the UK and the US.

Dunraven – who had been introduced to sailing by the great John Jameson aboard the famous racing cutter Irex in Dublin Bay in the 1880s – made his challenges with large cutters designed by the renowned G L Watson. And the 1893 matter of potential friction was successfully resolved when Dunraven’s contention that there should not be an inshore course option was successfully upheld in order to ensure truer wind conditions.

lord dunraven2The G L Watson-designed Valkyrie II (left) racing against Vigilant in the 1893 America’s Cup. Valkyrie II was a near-sister of the Royal cutter Britannia which was built the same year

But with the second challenge by the 129ft Valkyrie III in 1895 at New York harbour, he became so incensed by what he felt was the intrusion of the huge spectator fleet into the racing area that he made a formal complaint about about it. And after Valkyrie III was held responsible for minor collision in the second race for which which he tended to blame the spectator fleet, he withdrew from the series with further grievances.

Both the Dunraven challenges ended in defeat, though he was only beaten by 40 seconds in the final race of 1893, with Valkyrie II starting to perform to her true potential. But they had successfully raised the standard of yacht raced in the America’s Cup to a much higher technical level. However, the 1895 effort ended not only in defeat, but with a high level of acrimony which lasted until this year, with the Dunraven challenges almost air-brushed out of some histories of the America’s Cup.

Yet as time has passed a greater realization has developed of Dunraven’s other achievements, for he was a man of many talents – for instance, he successfully co-chaired the Conference which brought Land Act settlement to Ireland in 1903. And some historians of the America’s Cup feel that in the hectic world of the 1890s, the American defenders may have come down a little too heavily on a Challenger who became very isolated in his efforts in 1895 after he had begun to look like a contender in 1893.

Certainly when the next series was held in 1899 – with Sir Thomas Lipton challenging through the Royal Ulster Yacht Cub with Shamrock I – the race area was rigorously patrolled by the US Navy to keep spectator vessels well away. And in later stagings of this pinnacle of world sailing, cognisance was also taken of Dunraven’s feeling that the course should be moved further away from the adverse effects of land upon wind behaviour.

So in this year of 2016, a year in which America seems to be increasingly mired with internal political controversy, it’s good to know that during the summer Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven (1841-1926) was finally inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame for his contribution to course-setting protocols, and his pioneering of the Golden Era when huge yet technically-advanced yachts raced for the Holy Grail of international sailing.

Published in America's Cup

Howth's Bedrock skippered by Richard Burrows was the sole Irish Etchells competing at a star studded Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy fleet at the Royal Yacht Squadron at the weekend. The HYC boat finished 19th from 28 in a fleet that included former Volvo Round the World racer Lawrie Smith. The regatta attracted one of the largest fleets of Etchells seen in the Solent for many years. Bolstered by the forthcoming 2016 Etchells World Championship, to be held in the Solent 31 August – 10 September. 

The Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy was first competed for in 1995, after Sir Kenneth Preston, who had led the British sailing team in the 1960 Olympics, presented it to the Royal Yacht Squadron shortly prior to his death. Sir Kenneth wished that the trophy be competed for by a deserving one design fleet that had the spirit of one design and involves young sailors. It is a feather in the cap for the Cowes Etchells fleet to have retained it for so many years.

28 teams with sailors from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong and the United States of America, raced for the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy. Three Royal London Etchells Youth Academy Teams took part, skippered by Anna Watkins, Owen Bannerman and Martin Evans.

The eight race programme over three days produced thrilling racing, with 11 teams achieving podium results. Peter Duncan was the winner of the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy, Ante Razmilovic was second with Lawrie Smith third.

Commodore of the America Yacht Club, Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell have campaigned Etchells for many years with top finishes including second, third, fourth, and fifth in world championships. Both grew up sailing in the JAYC (Junior American Yacht Club) program. Jud Smith, a Sonar, Mumm30 and Etchells World Champion, has been sailing with the team since 2013.

“We found the racing very tight with a solid mix of local and visitors trying to get ready for the Worlds.” commented Peter Duncan. “Throughout the regatta we had a lot of boats arriving at the weather mark together and there were some exciting leeward gate roundings. Cowes is a very interesting place to sail, as you not only have to be on your toes for shifts in the breeze, the current has to minded at all times. We saw a bit of everything this past weekend, which made it a great warm up event to the Worlds. In 2007 and since, we have not sailed in the breeze direction we had on Saturday so that was good to experience.

Our stay as always in Cowes was wonderful as there are so many fun places to go. The Royal Yacht Squadron did an outstanding job running the races in the varied conditions and especially setting up the starting lines. As always, David Franks and team did a wonderful job on the social side of the event with the dinner event at RYS being awesome. Not too many of us from overseas have ever been there so what a treat.”

David Franks, Cowes Etchells fleet captain. "We have been delighted that the interest in the Cowes Etchells Fleet continues to grow."
David Franks, the Cowes Etchells fleet captain commented: "We have been delighted that the interest in the Cowes Etchells Fleet continues to grow with record numbers competing for the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy. This is the 22nd year that this Trophy has been awarded by the Royal Yacht Squadron; they ran eight excellent races and provided a superb supper on the Platform in the Castle for 94 competitors and their guests. Wonderful racing; wonderful food."

The Saida Cup 11-12 June, organised by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, is the next event in a busy season for the Cowes Etchells Fleet. The Etchells UK National Championship, organised by the Royal London Yacht Club, from 24-26 June, is an Etchells World Championship qualifying event.

Full results of the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy are downloadable below.

Published in Etchells

The 28th edition of the highly acclaimed Rick Tomlinson Portfolio calendar is now available directly from the Afloat.ie marketplace site HERE. The ideal Christmas gift for the sailor in your life features 12 spectacular images from recent assignments around the world.
This year's pictures include action from The Volvo Ocean Race at Cape Horn, the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta, Sir Ben Ainslie’s Americas Cup challenge, sailing in Greenland, plus other action and art from the international racing circuit.
Action and art has always been Rick’s style, “Each picture will hang on the wall for a month and offer the viewer something that perhaps they didn't see on the first look” says Rick, “my particular favourite this year is the shot of Brunel off Cape Horn.”

Rick has raced in 4 Whitbread Round the World Races, on Drum, The Card, Intrum Justitia and Team EF. Photographs taken onboard Drum started his career, becoming one of the most highly acclaimed marine photographers in the world. High profile projects include the Volvo Ocean Race, Americas Cup, and many SuperYacht commissions. He was recently the Official photographer for Team SCA.

Rick works from his gallery in Cowes - Isle of Wight, and travels the world on assignments for the worlds leading events and yachts.

Published in Marketplace

In late June, one of sailing's most celebrated yachts will attempt to retrace the steps of her first, and most significant, victory. The 52-foot yawl Dorade, owned by Pam Levy and Matt Brooks (Tiburon, Calif.), will join 40 other boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015, which starts off Newport, R.I., and finishes off the southwestern coast of England. The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

Dorade, the seventh design from the Sparkman & Stephens design shop, was barely a year old when Olin and Rod Stephens and a crew of five sailors, including their father, started the 1931 Transatlantic Race off Newport, R.I., bound for Plymouth, England, 2,800 miles away. The trip took just over 17 days. Dorade was the first boat to finish and the race's overall champion on corrected time.

For the Stephens brothers, it was a transformative moment: in the coming years, they would each take on primary roles in the development of the sport. Dorade would make her own wake as well, stringing together an impressive, unparalleled for the time, series of victories on the East and West Coasts of the United States and in Europe.

After a series of significant re-fits, the boat was returned to original condition a few years ago by Levy and Brooks. Perfect for installation in a museum, many said, or for civilized day racing on the classic yacht circuit. But Levy and Brooks had other plans, namely to take the grand dame of ocean racing and repeat all of the races it won in the 1930s, including the Transatlantic Race, Newport Bermuda, Transpac and Rolex Fastnet.

"Everyone said we were proposing something that wasn't even in the realm of possibility," says Brooks of Dorade's four-race "Return to Blue Water" campaign. "Now we're coming up to the last two races—the Transatlantic Race 2015 and the Rolex Fastnet Race—and no one is questioning that the boat can do this." (Two years ago, Dorade won overall, corrected-time honors in the Transpac Race, beating a host of the latest carbon-fiber rockets; in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, she took first in her class under IRC.)

"Olin and Rod designed one hell of a boat," says Brooks. "I haven't met anyone who has sailed on her who doesn't learn to love her and trust her. She's very strong, very dependable; she just needs to be treated right. With wood boats, you're always in refit mode. But we're racing and sailing this boat 10,000 miles a year and she absolutely responds to that."

Winning silver with this historic yacht requires a comprehensive commitment. Brooks, Levy and their team are constantly maintaining and refining the yacht. This past winter, says Brooks, getting the bottom as smooth as possible and improving sail design were two areas of focus. Sailing the boat also requires a specific touch.

"If you are trying to muscle the boat into submission at the helm it is never going to happen," says Levy. "It will win. Having a balanced helm is critical."

For the Transatlantic Race 2015, Brooks and Levy have set as their first goal to beat the 17 days, one hour and 14 minutes it took Dorade to sail the course in 1931. Modern technology, including synthetic sail fabric, should give this year's team an edge; however, the course in 2015 is likely to be quite a bit longer than it was in 1931 due to an extreme number of icebergs in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The fleet will be required to sail east for a while before turning north for the Great Circle Route, which takes advantage of the earth's slightly oval shape to shave critical miles off the passage between the United States and Europe.

Whether or not they can match the boat's pace in 1931, Brooks and Levy couldn't be more excited about the prospect of this legendary yacht coming full circle to its first significant accomplishment.

"Of all the races we've done, the Transatlantic Race is the one that makes our heart go pitter patter, because it was Olin and Rod's first big victory, and it's what launched them in business in yacht design," says Levy. "We know from talking to Olin's family and from what he has written that he had a real affection for the boat. It gives us a lot of pleasure to do well with her."

Published in Historic Boats

#rys – The promise of a spectacle of timeless classic versus cutting edge modern is emerging early in the year as the entries for the Royal Yacht Squadron's Bicentenary start to lay down the gauntlet for the summer of sailing in England's Solent in the last week of July.

Three majestic J-Class Yachts, Velsheda, Ranger and Lionheart (pictured), will line up alongside other historic legends including the 48ft Tomahawk built in 1938 and 52ft Dorade, built in 1929. Both are Sparkman and Stephens designs. From the breathtaking schooner Eleonora at 160ft to the two 8 metre yachts Helen and Enchantement born 1936 and 1923 respectively, the event has been a magnet for the most immaculate and competitive classics in Europe and beyond. Several, including Dorade herself, are racing across the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island, to take part in this Royal Yacht Squadron's 200 years celebration.

Entries to date include the mighty 120ft–Briand designed sloop Bristolian, mini-maxi Jethou and many well known names in the performance IRC fleets including Ker 46 Tonnere of Breskens, Elan 40 Flair, TP 52 Gladiator, and Grand Soleil 43 Quokka.

The Swan class will be represented too - entries include Swan 57 Noonmark VI, which will also be taking part in the Transatlantic Race, and Swan 44 Rosy Pelican.

More from the Squadron here

 

Published in Historic Boats

#sb20 – The SB20 keelboat class will hold its 2017 World Championships at the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. 

It's somewhat disappointing news for Irish sportsboat sailing following a competitive tender process from five international sailing clubs including three Irish ones from Cork, Galway and Ulster.

The SB20 World Council voted for the RYS to host the championships. Event dates will be confirmed early in 2015.

As Afloat.ie previously reported last August, Irish SB20 Class President Justin Burke had been urging Irish clubs to get behind the sportsboat bid and bring the Championships here for a second time.

Ireland previously hosted the inaugural worlds – when the class was known as the SB3 – in 2009 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire attracting a massive fleet of 163 boats divided into two flights.

Ed Russo, President of the SB20 World Council, commented: "We are excited about the opportunity of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes hosting the 2017 SB20 Worlds. The Solent is where the first SB20 fleet began and we expect a significant number of participants from the 13 fleets around the world to return to the founding waters for this event."

The Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, the host club of the very first America's Cup race (held around the Isle of Wight in 1851), and founder of the famous Cowes Week regatta. With its spectacular canon start-line at Cowes Castle, the Squadron hosts top level racing events on the Solent waters each year.

Rear Commodore (Yachting) Jonathan Perry commented: "The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to have been selected to host the SB20 World Championships in 2017. The Solent provides challenging sailing conditions for this truly international class, which we look forward to welcoming to Cowes."

The SB20 class is an international one-design keelboat sailed by three or four people which offers incredibly close 'level' racing, attracting both amateur and professional sailors of all ages. It is a familiar sight on the Solent, and provides superb value for money with class starts and one-design fleets at major regattas such as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, as well as its own class championships and Grand Slam circuit.

The SB20 class has over 750 boats sailing worldwide with established fleets in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Dubai, Singapore and Australia, and regularly attracts fleets of over 100 boats for international events. A global fleet is expected for the 2017 World Championships as well as a strong UK entry.

The SB20 will hold its 2015 World Championships at Torbole, on Lake Garda, Italy and in 2016 in Cascais, Portugal, giving the fleet three superb venues for the next three overall World Championship contests, which also include Youth, Masters and Ladies titles.

Published in SB20

The British Royal Yacht Squadron Racing (RYSR) has had its challenge accepted by the America's Cup defender, the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco. RYSR is the affiliate club of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the challenging club for Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), now the official British entry for the 35th America's Cup in 2017.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), having won the 34th America's Cup, holds the America's Cup in accordance with the terms of a Deed of Gift dated 24 October 1887 and will be hosting the event in three years' time, although the location is yet to be confirmed, being either San Diego or Bermuda.

RYSR submitted its Notice of Challenge to the GGYC during the two-month open entry period which closed on Friday 8th August. The entry has now been formally accepted.

Each team that challenges for the America's Cup is required to do so through a host club. The America's Cup started its long history at the Royal Yacht Squadron when the schooner America beat a fleet of British racing yachts to the finish line there on 22 August 1851, watched by Queen Victoria.

"We are delighted that Ben Ainslie Racing, led by Sir Ben, has asked Royal Yacht Squadron Racing to challenge on his behalf and are sure that, if anyone can bring the Cup back to its original home, he and his excellent BAR team can," commented Simon van der Byl, CEO of RYSR.

Published in America's Cup
The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to announce the inaugural Biscay Race that forms part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS) in which competitors are required to take part in three races, including the Transatlantic Race (TR 2011), to qualify for a series victory. The Biscay Race is also open to any yacht only wishing to compete in this historic race

Organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, England, with the assistance of Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo in Northern Spain, the Biscay Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) line at midday on Sunday 11th September and finish off the yacht club in Sanxenxo. The Notice of Race and Entry Form are now available online at: www.rys.org.uk

biscay1

RYS Commodore Yachting, David Aisher explains the RYS' foray into offshore racing: "When the New York Yacht Club first announced that they wished to join with RYS, RORC and the Storm Trysail Club to form the AORS, the Royal Yacht Squadron was the only club that did not have a race that was a part of this new circuit. On the East side of the Atlantic, the RORC was the Organising Authority for the Rolex Fastnet and was also a part of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Between the two races was a large gap in the sailing calendar that we felt was an ideal opportunity for the RYS to run its first offshore race. The RYS has for many years been organising some of the best inshore regattas in the UK and for us, to be a true part of this new AORS event, we needed to show that we could also run a first rate offshore event as well. This is not an attempt to compete with the RORC or any other of the excellent offshore clubs, but is our contribution to this exciting racing series."

david-aisher

Top Boats to Compete
Interest has already been received from two yachts who recently competed in the Transatlantic Race 2011, the fourth race in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series: George David's Rambler 100 (USA) who set the benchmark for the new transatlantic route from Newport, Rhode Island (USA) to The Lizard (UK) and British Soldier, the Army Sailing Association's A40. Both are going on to compete in the classic offshore race, the Rolex Fastnet Race. Interest has also been received from Alex Thomson's IMOCA 60, Hugo Boss (GBR), whose sights are set on the Transat Jacques Vabre later this year. A number of the other TR2011 boats are also expected to take part.

1Rambler_100-_Credit-Mark_Lloyd_lloydimages.com

Rambler 100 - Photo: Mark Lloyd

Feeder Race
Racing for the Biscay Armada Dish, The Biscay Race may also act as a feeder race for competitors in the Rolex Middle Sea Race (22nd October); those wishing to sail to the Mediterranean and could also attract yachts taking part in World Cruising Clubs' Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) which sets off from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria for St Lucia on 20th November.

As an added incentive, The Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo is offering free berthing for a week to competitors on completion of the race and a prize giving dinner will be held by the kind invitation of club on Friday 16th September for all crews.

Published in Offshore

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
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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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