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Displaying items by tag: Shannon Estuary news

#ShannonWater - Plans for a pipeline by Irish Water to Dublin are no threat to activities says Shannon Foynes Port Company.

The mid-west port writes The Irish Times, has rejected warnings that Irish Water’s planned extraction of water from the river Shannon for Dublin homes and business could hit operations at Limerick port.

Campaigners against the proposed pipeline said it believed Irish Water’s plan to take out 330 million litres a day from the Shannon could lower water levels at the mouth of the river.

“If there isn’t sufficient strength of speed and flow – that is, if there is less water – the shipping channels will silt up and ships will not reach Limerick port. That would be a massive economic blow,” said Gerry Siney of the River Shannon Protection Alliance.

Port authorities said they were satisfied the pipeline would not “materially impact” dock operations at the facility, which relies on deep-water channels for much of its traffic.

Mr Siney described the plan as “ludicrous”, adding: “This really doesn’t stand up environmentally, economically and socially.”

For more the newspaper has a report here.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#Schedule -Ireland’s longest river crossing by car ferry, operated by Shannon Ferries, have introduced a winter schedule timetable, writes Jehan Ashmore.

A winter sailing frequency on their 20 minute crossing of the estuary along the Wild Atlantic Way, between counties Clare and Kerry was introduced last weekend.

According to the operator, there will be single ferry operating with sailings from Killimer to Tarbert every hour on the hour from 7am to 7pm.

For crossings in the opposite direction, sailings from Tarbert to Killimer are every hour on the half hour from 7.30am to 7.30pm. Whereas, Sunday sailings commence two hours later.

The winter sailing continuous to 31st March, 2017, from thereon a revised schedule begins for April and May in advance of high-season traffic over the summer months.

Carrying a mix of vehicle types, including coaches and HGV’s, are a pair of UK built double-ended ro-ro half-sisters ferries. Shannon Dolphin (52 cars/350 pass) and the slightly larger Shannon Breeze, albeit in terms of a 60 vehicle capacity.

The ferries were purpose built by Appledore Shipbuilders, north Devon, during 1995 and 2000 respectively.

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Published in Ferry

#FoynesPort - Work on a major restructuring of Foynes Port, Co. Limerick according to RTE News involving the first element is to begin this month.

The project is part of a €50 million investment in transforming the port into one of the biggest bulk harbours in Europe.

Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) will spend €12 million on transforming the existing East jetty area, and reclaiming a 3.45 acre section of the port to create a bigger foreshore area of activity and enable improved bulk discharge times.

The expansion of the port will add an additional 35,000 square metres of additional bertage and create more open quay storage at the port. It will enable the company to accommodate larger container cargo ships, enabling ships of 40,000 tonne capacity to berth at the new port. 

In time it will create capacity for the worlds largest cargo vessels of 80,000 tonne capacity to travel and unload at Foynes, making it one of the few ports in Europe capable of handling these massive ships. These are the types of vessels which are currently using the Panama Canal.

Click HERE for more on this story and photos and about SFPC which in 2013 launched its Masterplan Vision 2041.

 

 

Published in Shannon Estuary

#FoynesFestival – This year's Foynes Irish Coffee Festival takes place this coming Bank Holiday weekend (31 May-2 June), writes Jehan Ashmore.

The history of the 'Irish' Coffee which started 70 years can trace its origins back to the flying boats that flew across the Atlantic. It was along the banks of the Shannon Estuary that the Irish Coffee was invented as a unique treat to visitors during their en-route stopover between the continents.

The highlight of the festival will culminate on the final day (Sunday 2 June) when the Powers Irish Coffee Making Championship Final 2013 takes place at Foynes Flying Boat Museum.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the same venue in March opened a new Maritime Museum charting the history and role of shipping along the Shannon from the mouth of the estuary to Limerick Docks.

On the Saturday and Sunday are the Munster Mermaid Championships at the Foynes Yacht Club from where RIB tours will run into the estuary as part of the festival. In addition public tours of the Naval Service CPV L.E. Ciara (P41) are available during the weekend.

In addition to nautical events, the three-day festival includes other activities for all the family, visit the festival website for details of times of the full programme.

 

Published in Maritime Festivals

#SHANNON FOYNES – An operating profit close to €2.9m for last year (up from €2.5m in 2011) was recorded by Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) according to yesterday's Irish Times.

SFPC recorded a 2.2 per cent rise in turnover to €10.1 million, resulting in a 13 per cent increase in operating margin from 25.5 per cent to 28.1 per cent, according to the 2011 annual report.

The company made a profit attributable to the shareholder of €2.73 million after exceptional items and financing. Cargo increased 8 per cent to 10.1 million tonnes from 9.4 million tonnes in 2010. About 35 per cent of Ireland's bulk traffic transits through SFPC's six terminals on the estuary.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#SHANNON FERRY SERVICE - With the May Bank Holiday looming, those travelling along the mid-western seaboard should note that Shannon Ferries are currently offering discounts of 10% on all 'on-line' tickets booked this month and in June, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The route operated by the Shannon Ferry Group, is the country's longest distance domestic car-ferry service between Killimer-Tarbert and takes 20-minutes to cross the estuary.

In total the short-cut can save 137km by road between the two ferry terminals which link counties Clare and Kerry. Alternatively there is the choice of bridging the Shannon in Limerick City or going underground via the tolled tunnel.

Strategically the route links the popular tourist trail linking the Ring of Kerry, Aran Islands (via the Doolin ferry) and Galway the gateway to Connemara.

The route is served also by the country's largest coastal car-ferries the Shannon Dolphin (1995/500grt) and Shannon Breeze (2000/611grt). They were built  by Appledore Shipbuilders in north Devon, which also built the two 'Roisin' class OPV's for the Naval Service over a decade ago.

The 'Breeze' can handle 60 cars and 350 passengers while the slightly smaller 'Dolphin' takes 52 cars and also the same number of passengers to her running mate.

Published in Ferry
A masterplan for Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), the state's second largest port operation, is to look into the marine infrastructural requirements for the next three decades along the 500 sq km Shannon Estuary, writes Jehan Ashmore.
SFPC's Masterplan Achieving the Vision 2041 will be a public consultation process and with the participation of port's stakeholders and interested parties. The masterplan aims to capitalise on the significant growth potential and focus promoting the port as a strategic economic driver for the mid-west region.

Port expansion options are to be examined so to prepare ports for larger trade volumes when the opportunities arise. Also under consideration are the non-core assets at the Port of Foynes and Limerick Docks. To read more about the masterplan and the challenges and issues that has been identified in both ports click HERE.

The statutory jurisdiction of the estuary is under the control of SFPC, which is responsible for the estuary that runs from the mouth entrance marked by Kerry and Loop Heads and stretching far inland to Limerick City. The natural waterway can handle vessels of up to 200,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt) which are the largest ships that can dock in Irish waters.

Published in Shannon Estuary
Ireland's leading fishing port of Killybegs, Co. Donegal, this morning received the 226 passenger yacht-like cruiseship Le Diamant, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 8,282 tonnes Le Diamant had sailed overnight from anchorage in Galway Bay and prior to visiting the 'City of the Tribes' the vessel also called to Foynes port in the Shannon Estuary as reported previously in Afloat.

In 2004 Killybegs received a significant boost in the completion of a €50m outer harbour with berthing quays totalling 350-metres long so to accommodate the north-west fleet and to include the 'supertrawlers'.

Despite the major port infrastructural investment, Killybegs has seen declining fortunes in the fish industry though in recent year's new business from the offshore exploration and cruise ship industries has assisted in generating new revenue.

Published in Cruise Liners
Visitors to Ireland's newest coastal tourist attraction at Loop Head Lighthouse will not only have stunning sea views but also as a place to observe seasonal cruise ships calling to Foynes, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Within the next seven days, three cruise callers are due to enter the mouth of the Shannon Estuary. The first to arrive is the French-flagged Le Diamant which docks tomorrow in the Co. Limerick port. The 8,200 tonnes vessel operated by Ponant Cruises is tonight sailing from St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Her arrival will be followed by P&O Cruises latest addition Adonia on Saturday. With 710 berths the 30,000 tonnes vessel is the smallest of the seven-strong fleet which can accommodate between 1,800 and up to 3,100 passengers as in the case of the Azura. The 115,000 tonnes vessel departed Dublin Port this evening. Her first call to the port was last year (click HERE) and she is the largest cruise ship to call to the capital.

On Tuesday of next week the 9,000 tonnes Spirit of Adventure (cruises) marks the third cruise caller to Foynes. The port is along with five other terminals located throughout the country's largest estuary are operated by the Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC).

Incidentally Spirit of Adventure and Azura where two of another trio of cruise ships that visited the Port of Cork on Monday, with Holland America Line's 59,000 tonnes Rotterdam forming the third vessel. This was the first occasion that Cork has handled this number of cruise ships on a single day, bringing 7,000 passengers which set a new record for the port.

Published in Cruise Liners

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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