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 The climax of the Star class at the 97th Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta in Miami was a day of anticipation and pressure. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the boat park this morning belied the intensity about to unfold, racing against many of the best sailors in the world.

All eyes were riveted on the three-way tie-break to determine the winners of The 97th Bacardi Cup. Biscayne Bay set the stage for a spectacular finale, kicking off with a building 12 knots breeze and waves.

With unwavering focus, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada controlled the fleet from start to finish, clinching an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory and once again forced the chasing fleet to walk in their shadow.

In a fleet brimming with former Bacardi Cup winners and Star World Champions, maintaining consistency across six races to seize The 97th Bacardi Cup title was never going to be easy.

After five races, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada, Augie Diaz/Henry Boening and Doyle/Payson Infelise had elevated themselves into a class of their own, setting the stage for a three-way tiebreak showdown in the decisive race 6.

The showdown, however, never materialised, as Kusznierewicz/Prada took control from the start and never looked back.

The three teams all fielded strong starts separated along the starting line, with Doyle/Infelise to the right, Kusznierewicz/Prada in the middle and Diaz/Boening on the left. Doyle/Infelise continued up the right side, while Kusznierewicz/Prada went left. By the first mark, Kusznierewicz/Prada had secured a big jump on the fleet, leaving the other two teams back in 6th and 8th.

On the first downwind, Doyle/Infelise made inroads and geared up to second. They split through the gate and back upwind, where Kusznierewicz/Prada shook off their assault. Focusing on their own race, they accelerated away in stunning style to hold firm and take the win. Diaz/Boening crossed the line in 4th and Doyle/Infelise in 5th, securing second and third overall.

Following tradition, Eddie Cutillas of Bacardi was at the finish line to congratulate the winners of The 97th Bacardi Cup.

A meticulous performance from Kusznierewicz/Prada ensured they remained strong in the decisive moment. They have forged a genius and formidable team to remain as custodians of the Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup for five successive years – in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. The duo first made history in 2024, as the only same-crew team to win four consecutive times and now return to the history books.

“We knew it was going to be tight racing as they are superfast, very smart, experienced sailors and we knew that we had to deliver everything,” commented Kusznierewicz. “It’s a fantastic feeling. I wish to everyone to win Bacardi Cup! It is a legendary regatta and to be part of it and making history it is special.”

Kusznierewicz attributed victory to their process, saying, “From the beginning we trust in our process. If you know how to set up the boat, if you know what to do before the race, when you know how to make decisions where to start, how to start, what to avoid, how to sail, the results will come and here we go. We’ve got it.”

“Five times in row is really out of the box in terms of the Star Class,” said Prada, who won his first Bacardi Cup in 2020 after fifteen years of trying. “It is a really tough class to win. Five in a row never happened before so it is some historical moment and we need to enjoy it. I am super proud to win five Bacardi’s, five Worlds and be a little part of the Star Class history.”

Kusznierewicz/Prada celebrated their remarkable achievement by sipping Bacardi rum from the iconic Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup at the prize giving to huge applause.

There is plenty of potential in the Star fleet, with thirteen U30 teams competing. As the top placed U30 team in 20th overall, Facundo Olezza/Ricardo Vadia will be supported by Bacardi to compete at the Star Class Worlds in San Diego, USA from September 4-13, 2024.

Ireland's Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne finished 16th overall.

Final Top 3

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 14 pts
2. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 17 pts
3. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 18 pts

Prizes were also presented to the age division winners:

  • U30 (skipper under 30) - Facundo Olezza / Ricardo Vadia
  • Master (skippers aged 50 through 59) - Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise
  • Grand Master (skippers aged 60+) - Augie Diaz / Henry Boening
  • Exalted Grand Master (skippers aged 70+) - John Dane III / Dave Martin


Leading by one point at the start of the day, a tough battle saw Laura Grondin’s ‘Dark Energy’ close out the series with scores of 5,7. Grondin’s team worked through their opening day struggles and maintained greater consistency to win over the forty-nine boat fleet. A second Irish entry in Miami, Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary finished 34th in the class.

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It was another intense day of racing on Biscayne Bay at the 97th Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta. The usual shifty breeze was around 8-10 knots with plenty of race track nuances.

The all-important discard came into play in race 5 for the sixty-six-boat Star fleet, but nobody could displace the top three teams, who are on a remarkable 13-point apiece tiebreak. In Saturday's concluding race, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada, Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise, and Augie Diaz/Henry Boening will battle it out in a battle of titans.

Ireland's sole entry in the Cup, The Iron Lotus, sailed by Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne, having won race four, dropped to 45th in race five in a rollercoaster scoresheet for the pair, to lie 20th overall going into the final race.

Race 5 got underway in 6-8 knots of breeze from the southeast, with glory in the hands of Sweden’s Tom Lofstedt/Johan Tillander. For the second time, they kicked off proceedings at the front, but this time, they managed to maintain their advantage and score a well-deserved win.

But it was behind where the battle for Bacardi Cup supremacy was unfolding, as the three leadings teams of Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada, Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise and Augie Diaz/Henry Boening jostled for position.

Diaz/Boening took a fantastic start off the pin end, but lost out by the windward mark as the wind went right. Choosing the favored side on the next two legs they made gains to deliver a 2nd place finish and put themselves firmly back in Trophy contention.

Whilst Diaz/Boening sailed their own race, Doyle/Infelise and Kusznierewicz/ Prada engaged in a duel downwind, with Doyle/Felise ahead and Kusznierewicz/Prada chasing. Heading back upwind, they were entwined in their own battle and dropped back through the fleet as they hunted each other down, to finish 7th and 8th respectively.

In what must be an unprecedented passage of play, the top three are all on a 13-point tiebreak, setting the stage for a riveting showdown. It is simply a case of whoever finishes ahead will have their hands and names on the iconic Bacardi Cup Trophy and Tito Bacardi Cup.

“It was a lot of fun,” commented Doyle on the day’s racing. “We were going really fast. We didn’t have such a great start and then had a great beat. We were getting the job done, we needed to beat Matesuz and Bruno.”

Looking forward to the podium decider, Doyle grinned, “So trying to keep it exciting and close for tomorrow, trying to keep the crowds happy! I am looking forward to it, that’s what we sail for.”

“I love this kind of situation,” remarked Kusznierewicz. “We have to put everything to win tomorrow.”

Diaz, anticipating windier conditions, acknowledged the potential advantage for Kusznierewicz and Doyle, before adding, “But it’s going to be a three-boat race and that’s going to make it very interesting, because you can’t cover one guy. But hey, all you got to do is line up and let it rip.”

The podium deciding race 6 is scheduled to get underway at 1100 hrs.

Provisional Results – Top 3 after Race 5

1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 13 pts
2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 13 pts
3. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 13 pts

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Cork-Belfast duo Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne continue their march back up the 97th Bacardi Cup in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday after Monday's low opening result.

The sole Irish pair, sailing IRL 8118, 'The Iron Lotus,' finished 39th in the opening race. With a ninth scored in race two and a 33rd on Wednesday, they are in 18th overall in the 66-boat fleet. 

As regular Afloat readers know, O'Leary and Milne, who placed sixth in the 2023 world championships are regular top five performers on the world stage and led the fleet mid-Bacardi Cup regatta last year, finishing fourth overall.

Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise won race 3 on Biscayne Bay to claim the overall lead in the Bacardi Cup, pushing overnight leaders Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Bruno Prada into second place.

The conditions were challenging, with 10-12 knot southerly breeze and chop making downwind particularly difficult.

Despite that, Doyle/Infelise made their move and won the race. John Dane III/Dave Martin finished second. Diaz/Boening claimed fifth place and climbed to third overall on the leaderboard.

Provisional Results – Top 10 after Race 3

1. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 7 pts
2. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 11 pts
3. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 19 pts
4. Lars Grael / Ubiratan Matos (BRA 8392) - 24 pts
5. Jørgen Schönherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 27 pts
6. John MacCausland / Peter Sangmeister (USA 8448) - 34 pts
7. John Dane III / Dave Martin (USA 8230) - 36 pts
8. Johann Spitzauer / Christian Nehammer (AUT 8529) - 38 pts
9. Piet Eckert / Frederico Melo (SUI 8575) - 38 pts
10. Will Stout / Parker Mitchell (USA 8538) - 41 pts.

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Cork-Belfast duo Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne bounced back from an untypical low opening result in the 97th Bacardi Cup in Miami, Florida on Monday to post a top ten in the 66-boat fleet in the second race on Tuesday.

The sole Irish pair, sailing IRL 8118, 'The Iron Lotus', who finished 39th in the opening race, have moved to 23rd overall with a ninth scored in race two. As regular Afloat readers know, O'Leary and Milne, who are consistently formidable (with a sixth in the 2023 world championships), led the fleet mid-regatta last year, finishing fourth overall.

Defending champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada dominated day two with an impressive lead of one and a half minutes. Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise claimed a superb pin end start to finish second and move up to second overall. Boat speed rewarded George Szabo/Guy Avalon to make a remarkable recovery from their 34th place finish yesterday and move up to 16th overall.

Racing continues on Wednesday, March 6, with a midday start. 
Provisional Results – Top 10 after Race 2
1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 3 pts
2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 6 pts
3. Lars Grael / Ubiratan Matos (BRA 8392) - 8 pts
4. Piet Eckert / Frederico Melo (SUI 8575) - 13 pts
5. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 14 pts
6. Jørgen Schönherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 17 pts
7. Johann Spitzauer / Christian Nehammer (AUT 8529) - 19 pts
8. Josh Powell / Mark Strube (USA 8522) - 20 pts
9. Ante Razmilovic / Brian Hammersley (GBR 8443) - 23 pts
10. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 8550) - 28 pts

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The 97th Bacardi Cup kicked off on Monday in Miami, Florida with sixty-six Stars representing fifteen nations (including Ireland) for what turned out to be a light-wind tactical challenge and no more so than for Cork-Belfast duo Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne sailing IRL 8118, Iron Lotus who finished 39th in the opening race on Biscayne Bay.

As regular Afloat readers know, O'Leary and Milne, who are consistently formidable and led the fleet mid-regatta last year before finishing fourth overall, so they will be hoping for better in the next races.

Americans Augie Diaz and Henry Boening perfectly displayed their skill in securing the win. Defending Bacardi Cup Champions, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Bruno Prada initially led but Diaz and Boening found the speed button to overhaul them and take the race win.

All top four finishers today are both past Bacardi Cup and Star World Champions.

Provisional Results – Top 10 after Race 1

1. Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 1 pt
2. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8559) - 2 pt
3. Lars Grael / Ubiratan Matos (BRA 8392) - 3 pt
4. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 8580) - 4 pt
5. Marin Misura / Tonko Barac (CRO 8531) - 5 pt
6. Josh Powell / Mark Strube (USA 8522) - 6 pt
7. Piet Eckert / Frederico Melo (SUI 8575) - 7 pt
8. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 8550) - 8 pt - Worlds
9. Jørgen Schönherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 9 pt
10. John MacCausland / Peter Sangmeister (USA 8448) - 10 pt – Worlds

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Having narrowly missed out on Star Class Bacardi Cup title in 2023, Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne are preparing to contest the 2024 Cup this March.

The Cork-Belfast pairing, one of the early registrations for 2024's 97th invitational, held the overall lead going into the last race of the 2023 Cup and will return to Miami, Florida, in March.

The pair, whose partnership started at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, reunited last season to also claim sixth overall at a Star world championship in Italy. It was O'Leary's first tilt at a Star Worlds since 2012, when he finished fourth sailing with David Burrows just before the London Olympics.

And of course, closer to home, regular Afloat readers will also recall O'Leary, crewed by Stephen O'Sullivan, got some vital time on the water in December in the former Olympic one-design keelboat when he sailed to an emphatic victory - on IRC handicap - at his Club's winter White Sail league.

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The International Star Keelboat Class has selected Paul Cayard as its President.

Cayard began sailing Stars in 1977 and has served as the International Vice President - Western Hemisphere since 2020.

Well known to many in the Star Class, he competed in his first World Championship as crew, finishing 4th in 1978, then as skipper in 1984, finishing third and winning the Star Worlds in 1988 in Buenos Aires.

He's a 10-time Silver Star winner, two-time Olympian, seven-time America's Cup sailor and winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup and Whitbread Round the World race.

In addition, Paul is a member of the US Sailing Hall of Fame and a Rolex Ambassador. He is a dual citizen of France and the United States and speaks three languages.

Though representation relies on just one boat in Ireland, Cork-Belfast duo Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne keep the class flag flying high and finished sixth overall at the Italian World Championship in September.

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A last-race win gave Ireland's Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne sixth overall at the Star World Championships in Italy on Sunday.

The Cork-Belfast pair, who suffered a black flag setback on the penultimate day, bounced back after discard yesterday in the six races series to be sixth overall by a point.

A pair of 30-year-old German sailors, Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinski, who joined the Star Class three years ago thanks to the U30 programme in Kiel, were crowned World Champions in Marina di Scarlino.

Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinski have been crowned 2023 Star World Champions in Marina di Scarlino, Tuscany. The German duo started the Championship with a bullet and ended it with a golden star affixed to their mainsail, fulfilling a lifelong dream shared by over 200 Star sailors in Scarlino. 

Star World Champions 2023 - 30-year-old German sailors, Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinski Photo: Martina OrsiniStar World Champions 2023 - 30-year-old German sailors, Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinski Photo: Martina Orsini

"Since we started three years ago, our goal was always to win the gold star to put on the mainsail. We believed it was possible, but it was definitely hard work... and doing it here, on our second attempt, is unbelievable!" commented Max Kohlhoff. 

The final day of the 2023 Star World Championship started with a different breeze from the north. The day's first race started around 11:15 AM with 7/8 knots of wind speed, but it varied throughout the four legs, with a gentle but constant shift to the right. For the last race, the wind came even more from the right, 050 degrees, and the wind speed varied from as little as 5 knots to as much as 13. 

O’Leary and Milne were the best at reading the wind throughout the last race, even though the first at both the top mark and the gate were the Americans Doug Smith and Brian O’Mahony. Negri/Sodano and Eckert/Melo finished eighth and 12th respectively, which was enough to keep them both on the podium: the Swiss/Portuguese team won silver, and the Italians took bronze.

The 2023 Star World Championship comes to a close with the prize-giving at the Yacht Club Isole di Toscana. The event will be remembered for the excitement of having two new young Star World Champions, emerging from a successful U30 programme run by Arnd Glunde in the North of Germany. This is a sign of hope for a Class that's more than 100 years old, which has seen great legends of the sport raise the 100-year-old trophy and can continue to produce champions.

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A black flag disqualification in race three has dented the overall prospects of Ireland's Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne at the Star World Championships in Italy.

In a fleet of 96, the Cork-Belfast pairing are lying 28th after four races sailed and delays to the schedule with either no wind or too much of it at Marina di Scarlino, Tuscany.

As Afloat reported earlier, the Irish pair got off to a great start with a fifth in the first race.

Piet Eckert with Frederico Melo finished Race Four in fourth position, and their solid scorecard allows them to be the overall leader before the final two races on Sunday and the discard. Max Kohlhoff with Ole Burzinski are second, and Diego Negri with Alessandro Sodano fell to third with 15th place in the last race.
Organisers say the plan for Sunday's final day is to have two more races, with the first start scheduled at 10:30 AM. The forecast calls for a north breeze of up to 15 knots.

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The Cork Harbour and Belfast Lough pairing of Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne lie 11th from 94 starters at the 2023 Star keelboat World Championship in Tuscany, Italy.

The Championship finally began at Marina di Scarlino after two windless days of waiting. The 100 teams, representing 25 countries in Italy, were relieved when a southerly wind of 10 knots blew on the racecourse. The first race commenced as scheduled, following a general recall that ended in a U flag hoisting by the Race Committee led by PRO Giancarlo Crevatin.

German former Finn Sailor Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinski led the first race, followed by current Star World title holder Diego Negri and new young crew member Alessandro Soldano, then Doug Smith/Brian O’Mahony, Enrico Chieffi/Nando Colaninno, and the Swiss duo Piet Eckert and Frederico Melo. The Germans claimed first place in the championship, followed by Negri/Soldano, Eckert/Melo, Enrico Chieffi with Nando Colaninno, and the Irish duo of Peter O’Leary/Steve Milne in fifth place.

Race two followed three general recalls with a black flag that had everyone paying more attention to the line. Matthew Rajacich with Eric Wagner led the race, followed by Eugenio Cingolani/Juan Francisco Carrasquet, Jurg Wittich/Christian Trachsel, and Paolo Nazzaro/Alessandro Vongher. However, the latter team was subsequently disqualified with a black flag (BFD), taking them out of the race. Italian America’s Cup skipper Flavio Favini, participating in his first Star World Championship, won the second race with local crew Nicolas Seravalle.

Piet Eckert and Frederico Melo showed consistency throughout the championship, making them the current leaders in the overall ranking. However, the winner of the last two Star World titles is only one point behind them, and American Scott Barnard, with World Champion crew Phil Trinter, is not too far behind in third place. The Mid-Week Award Ceremony and presentation of the Harry Gale Nye Trophy, which recognizes an individual's outstanding contribution to the ISCYRA, will take place tonight at the Marina di Scarlino.

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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.

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