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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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After last weekend's Sailing World Cup Regatta in Medemblik, Holland the Irish Olympic sailing squad is back on the water in five days time for the next round of the Cup, this time at the 2012 Olympic venue itself and the Skandia 'Sail for Gold' Regatta in Weymouth.

Expectations are high that Ireland can be in the medals in England not least because Ireland qualifed for three medal races last week and last year Peter O'Leary won Gold in the Star class in Weymouth.

Over 1,000 sailors, including a number of World and Olympic champions, will be competing in Weymouth, Great Britain, the venue of the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Great Britain's Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott and Ed Wright have dominated the Finn class during the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup.

The British trio have been at the top of the podium on every occasion. Ainslie won Sail Melbourne, Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE and the Semaine Olympique Française, Scott won US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR and Wright won the Delta Lloyd Regatta last week.

But it is Ainslie who leads the Finn Standings on 79 points ahead of Scott, on 71, and Wright on 66. All three will sail in Weymouth alongside some equally impressive sailors in the form of the World #1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), World #2 Zach Railey and Spain's Rafael Trujillo.

However it is hard to see anyone defeating the Brits who have dominated the class since the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup in 2008-2009 which has seen Wright crowned ISAF Sailing World Cup Finn Champion on two occasions.

Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) reclaimed the top spot in the Men's 470 Standings after clinching gold at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. The World #1 Australians have a 17 point lead over Panagiotis Kambouridis and Efstathios Papadopoulos (GRE) in second. World #5 sailors Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA) trail the Australians by 18 points in third.

The top three will all sail in Weymouth but it is a tough ask for anyone to overhaul Belcher and Page who have a strong lead with just two ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas remaining.

Eight points separate the top five in the Women's 470 ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings.

Despite not sailing in Medemblik, Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) retained their lead at the top of the Standings on 54 points. But Delta Lloyd Regatta runners up Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) trail the Brits by three points and will look to make up the ground on the World #3 pair at Skandia Sail for Gold.

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) are tied at the top of the Laser Radial Standings on 69 points each. They will renew their rivalry in Weymouth but with the top ten in the Standings all set to compete, and the third place Veronika Fenclova (CZE) within touching distance of the leaders the gold medal is far from a foregone conclusion.

The 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta will also welcome the top ten in the Laser Standings. The standout performer this year has been Tom Slingsby (AUS) who has been on the podium in the four ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas he has sailed in. He has a 14 point lead over Javier Hernandez (ESP) in second and a 20 point lead over Nick Thompson (GBR) in third.

In the Paralympic classes the top three in the 2.4mR, SKUD-18 and Sonar ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings will compete.

Racing begins at the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold on 6 June and will run until 11 June.

Published in Olympics 2012

After two windy opening races and now today's two light/medium air races Holland's Delta Lloyd regatta is shaping up to be a true leg of the ISAF World Sailing Cup, an important event for 13 Irish crews competing there.

Peter O'Leary and David Burrows margin in the first Irish Star Olympic trial has increased following penalty points sustained by rivals Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks for a premature start in today's third race. O'Leary of Royal Cork is now seventh on 37 points and Treacy of Royal St. George 16th on 60 points in the ultra compettive 23-boat fleet.

After a blistering start yesterday with a 3 and a 1 in the Laser Radial Class Annalise Murphy stumbled this morning with a 37 in her 59–boat fleet. She recovered in the fourth race this afternoon picking up a ninth to be sixth overall on 51 points, some 31 points shy of leader Lithuania's Gintare Scheidt.

 

After scoring 10,10,21 on the first day Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern  counted a 27 and a 7 today to be 12th overall in the 49er dinghy. Ed Bulter and Ben Lynch are 36th after falling foul of a black flag in the 39-boat fleet.

In the 470 mens fleet top Irish boat after day one, Barry McCartin and Thomas Chaix are now 53rd, Rob Lehane and Tom Mapplebeck are 48th and after an 8 and 18 today double Olympian Ger Owens crewed by Scott Flannigan jumps 12 places from 61st to 49th in a fleet of 68.

James Espey leads in 42nd leads Irish hopes in the Laser class where Chris Penney, Chris Russell and Ronan Cull are also competing in the 123-boat fleet.

In the mens heavywieght Finn dinghy, Ross Hamilton is 42nd in a 66-boat fleet.

Delta Lloyd stories:

First Blood to O'Leary and Burrows

Capsize Costs Annalise the Lead

All our Olympic Sailing Coverage here.

Day 2 report:

After a windy opening day, the Delta Lloyd regatta provided sailors with challenging conditions with shifty winds on day two of the fifth ISAF Sailing World Cup event.

"Olympic couple" Robert and Gintare Scheidt, racing in the Star and the Laser Radial are leading their class with top results including a win in the last race. At the end of the day they Match-raced each others in the "fun race" organised for the day winners. Robert took the win but Gintare is aiming to take her revenge before the end of the week!

The Stars were last off the water last night, with their fourth race ending at 9.30 PM! Beijing Silver medallists, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) took the early lead with a third and a win, followed by another win in today's last race. They are continuing on their good form after winning the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères with a day to spare. After a victory in their last event in Palma, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) are in second position and in contention for the event title. Canadians Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn, and last year SWC winners Eivind Melleby and Petter Moerland Pedersen (NOR) are only one point from second.

Beijing Silver medallist Gintare Scheidt (LTU) is climbing to first place in the Laser radial after mastering the day's tricky conditions. "The wind was very shifty and the positions changed constantly throughout the races." Tina Mihelic (CRO) who is still carrying a disqualification from the first day won the first race and placed fourth in the second. She is in tenth overall. "It was a difficult day with big shifts but I sailed well. I look forward more races to discard my OCS and come up in the rankings."

Early leader Marit Bouwmeester (NED) lost seven places after a difficult day. She comments on her 39th with: "On the first race I got carried away, too eager, I went too far left and ended up with less wind." Bouwmeester compared today's conditions with the ones encountered in Weymouth when the northerly is blowing.

Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) conserves the lead in the Laser on equal points with Bruno Fontes from Brazil. "I am happy with today's results and to keep the lead." says the Croat, "Light winds are not my favoured conditions, and I found it really hard! I just had to be patient and wait to benefit from the situations that came my way."

In the RS:X, Palma's winner Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) takes the lead from JP Tobin (NZL) after consistent sailing. "I have not seen conditions so unstable, the wind went right and left and up and down. In the second race I ended up in a hole in the middle and rounded the top mark in 30th position. These conditions also gave me opportunities to catch up and finally finish fifth!" explains the Dutch.

2010 Asian Games champion, Wang Aichen (CHN) wins the second race and places in sixth position overall.

In the Women division, Mayaan Davidovich (ISR) who placed 9th in the Delta lloyd regatta last year is taking the lead with consistent results. Jessica Crisp (AUS) is following closely after winning the first race of the day. The Chinese sailors are once again proving their strong abilities in windsurfing claiming, third, fourth and fifth places.

Olympic medallist Fernanda Oliveira with new crew Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) have taken the lead in the 470 after top three results in today's tricky conditions. Yuka Yoshisako and Noriko Okuma (JAP), 5th at the 470 Spring Cup are taking second position overall. After mixed results (19th and 1st), early leaders Martine Grael and Isabel Swan (BRA) are in third in front of Dutch team of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout who have collected near perfect results with a first and a second.

In the Men division, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) are conserving their lead, three points over World # 1 Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS). The day went to the Japanese teams with Tetsuya Matsunaga / Kimihiko Imamura and Ichino Naoki/Ryouhei Froyliche enjoying the conditions with a second and a first each. "We like the light conditions so today was a day for us." explains Tetsuya, "We were in the lead at the top mark but got passed by Ichino and Ryouhei. We beat them again downwind." The Japanese 470 has a strong team in Medemblik. "We are five boats training together and progressing together as well." Tetsuya and Kimihiko, after finishing 18th in Medemblik in previous years, have an objective of top three in this event.

Finn World Champion Ed Wright (GBR) is increasing his lead in the Finn fleet after winning a second race today. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is second, ten points from Laser Olympic medallist, Slovenian Vasilij Zbogar. The second race in the Finn penalised eight boats over the line. Among them, Dan Slater (NZL) is collecting his second penalty.

In the 49er, yesterday leaders, the Australians Outteridge/Jensen and the Philips brothers, got disqualified by the jury for rounding the wrong mark. Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) are taking the lead with Peter Kruger Andersen and Nicolai Thorsell (DEN) in second and the Australians Outteridge/Jensen third.

The qualification stage in the Women Match racing is nearly completed. In Group A, Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) and team have continued on their perfect racing with eight wins and will enter the Gold group undefeated. Team Tunnicliffe (USA) have had a better day with four wins and are second in the Gold. Second spanish team of Roca is taking the third place in the Gold from Group A. There are still some matches to be raced in Group B, Groeneveld (NED) and Skudina (RUS) have both collected 6 victories. Racing will resume in the morning to decide the three teams qualified in the Gold fleet.

"The matches have been really hard and a real contest so we are happy with our results. We are in the Gold group thanks to real team work. Yesterday, in the breeze every small mistake could cost a lot and we needed to be careful. Today the wind was hard to read and my crew did a great work with the strategies. We needed to be very attentive to the wind shifts." explained Tamara Echegoyen (ESP).

Thierry Schmitter (NED) and Megan Pascoe (GBR) are continuing with their series of first and second places and increase their margin over the rest of the fleet.

Thursday will be the last chances for classes racing in groups to qualify for the Gold fleet.

 

Published in Olympics 2012

Big breeze played in to the hands of Ireland's top Olympic campaigners in the first day of the Delta Lloyd regatta. Annalise Murphy nearly had the overall lead save for a capsize but she holds second overall. Both the Stars are in the top ten and O'Leary leads.

All our Olympic Sailing Coverage here.

After scoring 10,10,21 Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern are 10th overall in the 49er dinghy and Ed Bulter and Ben Lynch are 22nd in the 39-boat fleet.

Barry McCartin and Thomas Chaix are 38th, Robe Lehane and Tom Mapplebeck are 44th and after an OCS double Olympian Ger Owens crewed by Scott Flannigan is 61st in a fleet of 68.

Delta Lloyd Day one stories:

First Blood to O'Leary and Burrows

Capsize Costs Annalise the Lead

 

Published in Olympics 2012

It's first blood to Cork/Dublin pairing Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who lie five places and ten points ahead of Dun Laoghaire's Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks after a blustery first day of racing in the Olympic Star keelboat class at the Delta Lloyd regatta. It's Holland's biggest sailing fixture, the fifth of seven ISAF World Cup events, and it's serving as the first of two Irish selection trials for the London Olympics.

With over 30 knots registered on their racing area, the Stars were postponed until 5pm this afternoon to allow for the wind to abate. It was still around 20 knots when the Star fleet started their first of two races after 6pm!

starholland

Dun Laoghaire's Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks in the first race of the Delta Lloyd Series

O'Leary and Burrows, who were second overall in March's Bacardi Cup, have scored a fixth and sixth in the 23-boat fleet, Treacy and Shanks a ninth and a 12th to lie fifth and tenth respecctively. The regatta is being led by Brazilian Gold medalist Roberth Sheidt and his crew Bruno Prada. Britain's Beijing Gold medallists Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson are second.

Racing in the 11–race series continues until Sunday.

Screen_shot_2011-05-24_at_21.01.08

Published in Olympics 2012

Irish sailing's bid for Olympic glory in London next year kicks off today when rival helmsmen Max Treacy and Peter O'Leary square up for the right to represent Ireland next July at the Olympic Regatta in Weymouth.

The Irish Star keelboat Olympic trials gets underway today on the waters off Medemblik, Holland as part of the massive ISAF Delta Lloyd regatta.

O'Leary with new crew (and triple Olympian) David Burrows will go head to head with Treacy and Anthony Shanks in a 23-boat fleet that has attracted all the top teams, a mirror of next year's Olympic regatta itself.

Also competing in Holland is Laser Radial sailor Annalise Murphy and the two 49er crews.

The new procedures set out for Olympic qualification were announced by the Irish Sailing Association in January.

The fifth of seven ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas runs in Medemblik until 29 May.

The 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup has seen some of the world's best fleet racing sailors, match racing sailors and paralympic sailors compete as they prepare for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition which will be held in Weymouth, England.

And the Star class is no exception featuring another field full of Olympic medallists and world champions. World #1 and current ISAF Sailing World Cup Star Standings leaders Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) will be looking to hit the sort of form that has seen them pick up the gold medal at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR and the Semaine Olympique Française.

The pair, who won silver at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, will face stiff competition in Medemblik from compatriots and 2004 Olympic gold medallists Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira. Grael and Ferreira are currently #10 in the world and find themselves ninth in the Star Standings. Also set to attend is 2008 Olympic gold medallists and Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE winners Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) and last years Delta Lloyd Regatta winners and 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup Star Champions Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen.

Ed Wright (GBR) has finished at the top of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Finn Standings for two years in a row. But this year he looks like relinquishing his crown with Ben Ainslie (GBR) currently leading the 2010-2011 Standings on 60 points after three regatta victories compared to Wright's 46 points with a best place finish of second at Sail Melbourne.

Wright will have a chance to close the gap on Ainslie in Medemblik as the multiple Olympic gold medallist will not be attending. Nonetheless Wright will have his work cut out with World #1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), World #10 Dan Slater (NZL) and the Netherland's own Pieter-Jan Postma all registered to sail in the 74 boat fleet in Medemblik.

In the Men's RS:X Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) has sailed at the Rolex Miami OCR and at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE and convincingly won both regattas. But after missing out the Semaine Olympique Française he lost his spot at the top of the Men's RS:X Standings to Shahar Zubari (ISR) who has a three point lead having finished in the top ten in Miami, Palma and Hyères.

But of the top ten in the Men's RS:X Standings only Van Rijsselberge, Ricardo Santos (BRA) in seventh and Aichen Wang (CHN) in tenth will sail so all will have a chance to climb up the overall Standings.

In the Women's RS:X there are 42 sailors registered to compete with Australia's three time Olympian Jessica Crisp the highest placed sailor in the Standings set to attend. Crisp is eleventh just two points ahead of Patricia Freitas in twelfth and Flavia Tartaglini (ITA), the bronze medallist in Medemblik in 2009 at 13. All three will be set to take their opportunity to claim a medal and move up the Standings.

The top five teams on the 49er Standings are not set to compete in Medemblik but this is still a high class field. The fleet includes World #5 Steve Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR), World #10 Emil Toft Nielsen and Simon Toft Nielsen (DEN) and World #9 Nathan Outteridge, direct from the Zhik SB3 Worlds, and Iain Jensen (AUS).

Published in Olympics 2012

Today at ISAF's world sailing mid-year meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, the ISAF Events Committee passed a vote recommending that ISAF Council select the following events/equipment for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Event Men Women Mixed
Board and Kiteboard Board and/ Kiteboard RS:X/Kiteboard to be evaluated
One-Person Dinghy
Laser

Laser Radial
Two Person Dinghy (Spinnaker) 470 470
Skiff 49er Evaluation
2 Person multihull Evaluation

The voting was on an alternative vote system (AV), meaning that this slate was the last one standing after the round of voting.  Known as the 470 slate, if it survives the Council vote tomorrow or Saturday, it removes keelboats from the Olympics.

Far from unanimous, the final vote was 12 out of 21 members favouring the slate.  The vote was despite some Star class big guns being in the room, such as 2000 Gold medalist Mark Reynolds and 2008 Gold medalist Iain Percy.

The word is that there is fierce behind the scenes politicking going on to overturn the Events Committee recommendation.  Not only from the Star Class, but other interested parties such as Brazil who host the next games and are strong Star supporters.

Don't assume anything yet!

Published in World Sailing
Tagged under
Olympic Sailing fans here are waking up to the fact that the International Sailing Federation is planning to scrap the Star keelboat from the 2016 Olympic regatta. It is a decision that has been greeted with dismay around the world by Star sailors where the class has a strong following, especially in the United States and a proud Olympic history. The subject was discussed in yesterday's Irish Times Sailing Column. There is comment about the Olympic sailing classes on the Afloat forum. In Ireland although the boat is not sailed here as a class it has been campaigned by Irish crews since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. This month's winner of the Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month award are Ireland's top Star pairing who were second at a massive Star event in Miami. In a first for Ireland the Star European championships come to Ireland in September.
Published in Olympics 2012

The sailing season is starting and selecting the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailors of the Month" for March has been a swift business, with the remarkable performance by Peter O'Leary of Cork and David Burrows of Malahide in the Olympic Star Class's legendary annual Bacardi Cup series in Miami emerging as the clear winner.

Admittedly the Irish duo only managed the runner-up slot in Florida. But in a fleet of 93 boats rampaging around in wildly varying conditions, it was an achievement to be at the top of the frame at all. And they were beaten by only one point, even if it was lost in the final race, which they'd started leading overall by a point.

Because the Stars are under a death sentence in the Olympic scene, with next year's Olympiad their final appearance in the five ring circus, the class has acquired an extra slightly morbid interest. And the boat tuning and tweaking knowledge acquired during their long Olympic career will see the class's measurement and equipment rules pushed to the uttermost for this last hurrah.

In fact, some Star fans have become emotional and compared the showdown to a combination of the OK Corral, the Alamo, and Custer's Last Stand in light of the Star's American origins, while the more internationally and nautically minded have invoked memories of Trafalgar and Lepanto.

And all this for one of the oddest looking and most demanding boats on the planet. The Olympic glow does that to people. This time round, we happily glow ourselves, as the O'Leary-Burrows team (each has figured as Sailor of the Month before, but this is their first time together) and the combinations shows every promise of having what it takes.

Two of Ireland's 2012 Olympic squad crews are ranked in the top twenty in World sailing rankings announced this week.

Peter O'Leary who has been sailing with three different crews, David Burrows, Frithjof Kleen and Timothy Goodbody to date is ranked 17th by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).

O'Leary and Burrows sailing in the Star keelboat class were recent top finishers at 93-boat fleet in Miami. They finished second overall after they lost the overall lead in the last race of the 2011 Bacardi Cup.

Listen into a podcast about Peter O'Leary's Olympic sailing plans HERE.

Fellow Olympic squad member, 21-year old Annalise Murphy from Dun Laoghaire is now ranked 12th in the Laser radial class counting seven ISAF events. Murphy has also had success in Florida this season, she finished fourth in the Miami Olympic Classes regatta in January.

Listen to what Team Manager James O'Callaghan has to say about her progress:

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be on 13 April 2011 and will include the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Mapfre in Spain.

The ISAF World Sailing Rankings rate skippers based on their performances over the last two years. Skippers score points by competing in ISAF Graded events. The top finishers at all ISAF Graded events score Rankings points, with the highest points awarded to the event winner and then decreasing down relative to position.

More Irish Olympic Sailing News HERE.

Published in Olympics 2012
Another consistent top ten placing in race four of the Bacardi Cup preserves fourth overall for the sole Irish Star keelboat pair competing in Miami today. Although today's eighth place result is being discarded it is another excellent result for Peter O'Leary and David Burrows who are only a single point off third place in the 93-boat fleet. Racing is scheduled to conclude tomorrow with two more scheduled races left to sail.
Published in Olympics 2012
Page 10 of 12

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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