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The Department of Transport advises that an analogue survey consisting of multibeam, side-scan sonar and magnetometer will be carried out off the South Coast of Ireland by the Marine Institute on behalf of Providence Resources from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 October, weather permitting.

In addition to the analogue survey, seabed samples and camera imagery will be acquired at approximately 10 stations in the survey area.

The survey will be conducted in Block 48/24 Barryroe, in the North Celtic Basin, around 45–50km from the south coast of Ireland, and will be undertaken by the RV Celtic Voyager (callsign EIQN). The vessel will be towing a side-scan sonar and magnetometer from time to time with cables of up to 300m long.

As this vessel will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre when surveying, other vessels are requested to keep a wide berth. The vessel will display appropriate lights and signals.

For details of coordinates of the survey area, see Marine Notice No 55 of 2021 which is available to download below.

Published in News Update

#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises that a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation will be undertaken by INFOMAR off the south coast of Ireland between 10 July and 7 August 2013

The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) is expected to carry out the survey operations within an area bounded by co-ordinates detailed in Marine Notice No 26 of 2013, which is available to read or download HERE.

The vessel will be towing a magnetometer sensor with a single cable of up to 100m in length. The RV Celtic Voyager will display appropriate lights and markers and will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.

All mariners are reminded of their responsibilities under the International Collision Regulations and are reminded of Marine Notice No 17 of 2007, which gives general advice in relation to the activities of vessels engaged in survey work for hydrographic, seismic, fishing research and underwater operations.

Published in Marine Warning

#MarineNotice - The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) has issued a Marine Notice advising that a hydrographic and geophysical survey operation is taking place off the south coast till 4 June.

The RV Celtic Voyager (Call sign EIQN) - which performed a similar task off the Clare coast last month - is carrying out the survey operations in an area along the Cork coast marked out in Marine Notice No 18 of 2013, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

The vessel will be towing a magnetometer sensor with a single cable of up to 100m in length. As usual, the vessel will display appropriate lights and markers, and will be listening on VHP Channel 16 throughout the project.

Published in Marine Warning

#COASTAL NOTES - Providence Resources has struck big off the south coast of Cork with an oil flow that could be worth billions of euro to the beleaguered Irish economy.

According to the Guardian, the Dublin-based company announced yesterday that oil had started to flow successfully from its Barryroe structure in the north Celtic Sea at nearly twice the rate previously projected.

Providence Resources CEO Tony O'Reilly Jr said the discovery was a "seminal day for Ireland, especially in the runup to St Patrick's Day."

Last month the firm had confirmed the presence of light oil with its first appraisal well at the site, a situation described by its technical director as "extremely encouraging".

Now that a steady flow has been achieved, future extraction from the oil field - comparable to a medium-to-large North Sea field - can surely proceed, which now puts pressure on the Government to grand permission for further exploration around the Irish coast.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, plans by Providence Rescources to prospect for oil on the east coast off Dalkey Island have been met with fierce opposition by mainland residents and environmental groups.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#COASTAL NOTES - Providence Resources has found light out with its first appraisal well off the south coast of Ireland, Offshore reports.

The company's semi-submersible GSF Arctic III drilled a well in 100m water to a depth of more than 2km on its Barryroe structure in the north Celtic Sea.

Indications of hydrocarbons were noted during the drilling, and further tests have confirmed the presence of 12.5m of 'net pay' (the thickness of rock that can deliver oil at a profitable rate) with as much as 87% hydrocarbon saturation.

The next stage will be a well flow test programme to determine whether future oil extraction can proceed.

“The confirmation of high quality light oil within a porous and potentially laterally extensive sandstone system is extremely encouraging," said technical director John O'Sullivan.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, plans by Providence Rescources to prospect for oil pn the east coast off Dalkey Island have been met with fierce opposition by mainland residents and environmental groups.

Offshore has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#ANGLING - Ireland's south coast will play host to the first Irish Bass Festival this July.

Created and organised by Absolute Fishing, the lure angling event is open to all shore anglers at various venues between Tramore and Dungarvan in Co Waterford, which provide some of the best bass fishing in Europe.

The Irish Bass Festival will operate on catch-and-release rules, with anglers having to photograph their fish, using their own measuring board combined with a unique ID card provided by the organisers.

Competing anglers are also free to roam and fish anywhere along the coastline from Wexford to Cork - provided they're back in time to register their fish!

Details on requirements, reception and fishing times are available on the Irish Bass Festival website HERE.

Published in Angling
2nd February 2012

Fastnet Line Closes For Good

#FERRY NEWS - The Fastnet Line ferry service between Cork and Swansea is to close with the loss of 78 jobs.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the operator had been in examinership since last November, and a restructured business plan had been submitted with a view to resuming high-season service in April.

However, in a statement the owners of the Fastnet Line said they had been unable to raise the €1m-plus investment required and that the examinership had "failed".

All 78 jobs will be lost as the company is set to be placed in receivership or liquidation later today.

The Fastnet Line - which was worth around €30 million to Cork in tourist spending - made its maiden voyage from Swansea to Cork in 2010, and was the only direct passenger and freight link between Wales and the south coast of Ireland.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ferry
Ballyvergan marsh is under threat after the discovery of an illegal pipe being used to drain the wetlands area, claims Coastwatch.
The Irish Times reports that the environmental group has called for immediate action over the draining of the marsh near Youghal in Co Cork.
Cork County Council has also confirmed to the paper that a letter regarding an "allegation of unathorised development" has been sent to the landowner.
The marsh at Ballyvergan is one of the largest on the south coast, and is zoned as a special amenity. It is also an important breeding site for migratory birds.
Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch said that the situation highlights the deficiencies in State policy regarding Ireland's wetlands.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Ballyvergan marsh is under threat after the discovery of an illegal pipe being used to drain the wetlands area, claims Coastwatch.

The Irish Times reports that the environmental group has called for immediate action over the draining of the marsh near Youghal in Co Cork. 

Cork County Council has also confirmed to the paper that a letter regarding an "allegation of unathorised development" has been sent to the landowner.

The marsh at Ballyvergan is one of the largest on the south coast, and is zoned as a special amenity. It is also an important breeding site for migratory birds.

Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch said that the situation highlights the deficiencies in State policy regarding Ireland's wetlands.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
There is growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along Ireland's south coast, the Irish Examiner reports.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) announced that a record 19 common dolphins washed up dead in Cork, Waterford and Wexford in January and February of this year alone - 17 more than in the same two months of last year.
Padraig Whooley of the IWDG said the deaths were "inexplicable", noting that there were no obvious signs of injury.
He added that the IWDG did not have the resources or funding to carry out the necessary post-mortems to determine the cause of death, which could be viral in nature.
The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

There is growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along Ireland's south coast, the Irish Examiner reports.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) announced that a record 19 common dolphins washed up dead in Cork, Waterford and Wexford in January and February of this year alone - 17 more than in the same two months of last year.

Padraig Whooley of the IWDG said the deaths were "inexplicable", noting that there were no obvious signs of injury.

He added that the IWDG did not have the resources or funding to carry out the necessary post-mortems to determine the cause of death, which could be viral in nature.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
9th November 2010

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25 Tonne Travel Hoist
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Published in Boatyards

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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