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A new cruise berthing and visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal on the Forth of Clyde, Scotland has been confirmed, it was revealed today.

At its June meeting, the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet approved a contribution of £9.693m from its overall £1bn pot, which is funded equally by the Scottish and UK governments.

The balance of the Marine and Landside Works will be paid for by Greenock Ocean Terminal operator Peel Ports (£8m) and the George Wyllie Foundation via arts funder the Dunard Trust (£1.5m).

The news comes as early stages of site work begins on the overall project, which is led by Peel Ports and Inverclyde Council.

The development, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2020, will boost the number of cruise ship passengers welcomed to Scotland through the successful Greenock facility.

It will allow up to 150,000 passengers per annum to pass through Greenock Ocean Terminal, delivering £26 million in annual visitor and crew spend to the Scottish economy.

In addition to the cruise berthing and the visitor centre designed by Richard Murphy Architects, the plans also include a purpose-built gallery celebrating the work of legendary Inverclyde artist George Wyllie and a restaurant with panoramic views across the Clyde.

Peel Ports Clydeport Port Director Andrew Hemphill said: “The confirmation of City Deal funding comes as the Terminal celebrates its 50th birthday. This overall investment is crucial to the remarkable growth of cruise traffic to Greenock, allowing us to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for passengers.

“Year on year, we are building a major cruise business on the Clyde and, thanks to the success of Greenock Ocean Terminal, more people than ever are taking a cruise to Scotland.

“Who 50 years ago would have anticipated the level of success we’ve had in bringing the world’s biggest container and cruise ships to Greenock? Now we are about to expand our capability further to attract thousands more visitors every year with the new development, up to 150,000 cruise passengers annually. It’s fantastic news for Inverclyde and for Scotland.”

Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “The project is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal and aims to boost the capacity at Greenock Ocean Terminal for cruise ships. The addition of a restaurant and Wyllie Gallery will help to provide a year-round attraction for visitors to Greenock and Inverclyde.

“As a key City Deal project, the new visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal aims to make a significant contribution to economic growth and international tourism across the wider city region area.”

Greenock was named the top UK cruise destination, and placed in Western Europe’s top five, in the second Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards by Cruise Critic, a leading cruise review site. It has also been named as the most welcoming cruise terminal.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Windfarm - The world’s first floating windfarm is now generating power for Scotland, according to BBC News.

Afloat.ie previously covered the Hywind Scotland project, backed by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, which comprises a series of giant wind turbines tethered to the seabed off the coast of Aberdeenshire.

The 6MW, 175-metre-tall turbines in this pilot project are said to generate enough energy to power as many as 20,000 homes.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the windfarm this week, saying it “underlines the potential of Scotland's huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.”

Recently a tidal power station in the far north of Scotland announced it had broken the world record for electricity generation, as The Independent reports.

The company behind the MeyGen project say they generated 700 megawatt hours of energy in the month of August from its more than 250 turbines installed on the sea bed in the Pentland Firth between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

Published in Power From the Sea

#Surfing - “It was just… nothing. There is only blackness.”

That’s how Scottish surfer Matthew Bryce describes his terrifying ordeal adrift on his board in the North Channel for 32 hours.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the 23-year-old recently returned to Campbelltown in Argyll a month after what was supposed to be a morning riding the waves turned into a nightmare.

The young man was finally rescued from the sea off Northern Ireland on 1 May, more than a day after getting pulled away from the shore, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Bryce expressed his appreciation to the local RNLI and coastguard teams, who worked with their counterparts in Northern Ireland to search the sea by boat and air.

He also appealed to anyone else going surfing to avoid the mistakes he made in surfing alone, without GPS or means to contact anyone on shore.

The Belfast Telegraph has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Tagged under

#Missing - RNLI lifeboats from Bangor and Donaghadee have joined the search for a speedboat with two men missing off the Scottish coast, as BBC News reports.

Coastguard volunteers from Bangor are also part of the emergency operation launched last night (Saturday 6 May) when the two men failed to return to Port Logan in Dumfries and Galloway.

Searches for the missing vessel, thought to be an 18ft black Fletcher speedboat, are concentrated off the Mull of Galloway for the time being.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#RNLI - Portrush RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew got an early callout yesterday morning (Sunday 5 March) on reports of a cruiser with three on board that had got into difficulties 33 miles offshore just south-east of the island of Islay in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.

Weather conditions were described as ‘perfect’ with a bright morning pagers went off at 10.10am, and the crew were quickly underway at full speed due the favourable sea conditions.

When the lifeboat crew reached the vessel, a towline was quickly attached to the cruiser and it was taken under tow to Portrush at a slow and steady rate of six knots. The lifeboat crew returned to base by 4.30pm, six hours after launch.

Portrush RNLI lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell said: “This was a textbook exercise for the crew, and something they train for all year round. The good weather conditions assisted the recovery and good progress was made for home.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#OilRig - Tugboats from Smit Salvage have tugged the 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner free during high water levels and will be taken Broad Bay on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland until it can be transported to a repair facility.

 
The Transocean Winner ran aground on the Isle of Lewis off Scotland’s west coast on August 8, after breaking its tow lines in high winds during transportation from Norway to Malta.
 
The Smit Salvage teams tugged the boat free during high water levels on Monday night.
 
The 17,000-tonne semi-submersible rig will be towed to Broad Bay on Lewis and will remain there until it is in a stable and fit condition to be towed or transported to a suitable repair facility.
 
For much more on the efforts to refloat the oil platform, click here
Published in News Update

#OilRig - BBC News reports that a 17,000-tonne oil rig has run aground at Scotland's Outer Hebrides after storm-force winds battered the area on Monday (8 August).

The drilling platform Transocean Winner was under tow when it was blown onto the beach at Dalmore in the north of the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Western Isles, more than 300km north of Malin Head.

No personnel were on board the rig at the time, but due to the presence of significant quantities of diesel on board, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is keeping watch for any potential pollution hazard.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Coastguard - Five people were rescued as their boat sank under them between Ailsa Craig and Girvan in the Firth of Clyde last night (Saturday 6 August).

Belfast Coastguard received 999 calls just after 6.40pm from the men on the small boat, reporting they were sinking but only an approximate location on the coast.

The coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick and Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team were sent to search, while Girvan and Campbeltown RNLI lifeboats were requested.

Coastguard co-ordinators at Belfast also received help from the Irish Coast Guard, who tracked a precise location for the position of the casualty’s mobile phone.

The coastguard helicopter arrived on scene and prioritised winching two people from the vessel who weren’t wearing life jackets.

At this point the vessel sank in rough water, and the three others were rescued from the water and winched into the helicopter.

The five men were landed nearby and met by Girvan Coastguard Rescue Team, who found them to be safe and uninjured.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#Search - Two bodies have been found in the search for the missing crew of a fishing vessel that sank off Scotland's Western Isles early yesterday (Saturday 9 April).

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter as UK Coastguard teams from Stornaway and Prestwick joined the Barra RNLI lifeboat, local fishing vessels and Police Scotland in the search and rescue operation for three missing crewmates, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

One fisherman remains missing after two bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon off Mingulay. Next of kin are aware and police officers are in contact with the families.

Mark Rodaway, national maritime operations commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved.”

Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow of Police Scotland said: "At this time we can confirm that the bodies of two men have been recovered. A third man was rescued and was taken to hospital at Stornoway. He is not seriously injured.

"A fourth man was on the boat and is still missing. The next of kin of all the men have been informed.

Chief Insp Garrow added: "An investigation will be carried out in parallel with the police and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB) and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."

The search has now been scaled back pending further information.

Published in Rescue

#Search - One crew member from a fishing vessel has been rescued as the search continues for three others after the boat sank off Scotland's Western Isles in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 9 April).

The UK Coastguard received a distress alert just before 3:45am when the fishing vessel with four crew on board has its emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) activated near Mingulay.

The coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Stornoway has since been searching the area along with the Barra RNLI lifeboat.

One crew member has been taken to hospital by the helicopter. The lifeboat remains in the area and the coastguard helicopter from Prestwick has taken over so the search can continue.

Published in Rescue
Page 3 of 11

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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