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Displaying items by tag: Team Racing

Entries have opened for the RYA and BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championships, which will take place at Budworth Sailing Club over the weekend of 19/20 February 2022.

Budworth SC in the heart of Cheshire is looking forward to welcoming teams from across the UK for what is expected to be one of the biggest team racing events of the year.

The RYA Women’s Team Racing National Championship, incorporating the BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championship, is for teams of six sailors who identify as female, with racing in Firefly dinghies which will be provided for the event.

Teams are invited to represent their club, locale or sailing organisation in the RYA Women’s Team Racing National Championship. University or higher education teams may also compete for the BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championship.

Competitors will be battling it out to see if anyone can take either or both trophies, which last year saw Rutland HYDRA youth team crowned national champions and Cambridge University winning the BUSA title, after Oxford University claimed the double at the previous event in 2019.

Online entry is now open and limited to 18 teams allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, with would-be competitors urged to enter as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Richard Moxey, RYA Keelboat Development Manager, said: “I’m delighted the RYA & BUSA Women’s Team Racing Championships is being hosted by Budworth SC this year, it has taken a lot of work from all three parties to ensure this prestigious event can go ahead and I’m looking forward to watching the action on the water next month!”

Budworth SC is a finalist in this year’s RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year awards and has a long history of team racing, hosting for many years the hugely popular inter club Budworth pairs competition.

The club is getting set to host a memorable event for competitors with great racing on the water and a warm welcome on shore, including a full galley service throughout the weekend. The club hopes the event will inspire entries from both experienced and newer teams.

Commodore Bill Kenyon said: “We’re encouraging participants from clubs in the North West alongside university teams and competitors from across the country. We also have a number of existing and former club members now at university who have learned to team race and we would love to see them bringing a team to compete at their home club!”

Racing will comprise a series of round-robin races, followed if possible by a knockout stage. The team entry fee is £360 until the deadline for entering, midday on Friday 21st January. Late entries, if accepted, will be £450 from the entry deadline until midday on Friday 4th February.

Keen team racer Emily Robertson, who has taken part in four previous editions, added: “The RYA Women's Team Racing Championships is one of my favourite events which I keep coming back to for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is one of the most important platforms for encouraging more women to get involved in team racing at a high level. Although I have always helmed, I love that it's a great opportunity for those who might not choose to helm otherwise to get involved - they usually surprise themselves! Apart from this, though, it tends just to be a brilliantly fun event both on and off the water, with a relaxed environment which encourages the joy of competitive team racing.”

Find out more about this year’s event, including the Notice of Race and entry, here.

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Team Racing makes for great sailing sport, and is unrivalled in its effectiveness in honing close-quarters boat-handling skills. But it’s an especially unforgiving type of contest, for although everyone is mutually reliant for success, at the very end it often comes clearly down to the relative individual showing of one helm at the tail end of the final race.

Niamh Henry of Royal St George YC, sailing for Technical University Dublin in the maelstrom of the Irish Team Racing Championship at Royal Cork in Crosshaven, found herself in this unsought yet key role. Despite capsizes being part of a volatile mix in the final, she kept her cool to maintain a two boat lead over her Baltimore SC rival to produce a tied four points apiece finish, but with TUD on track to win the tie break and the title.

It may have looked chaotic to a casual observer. But right at the heart of it, Niamh Henry knew precisely what was needed to carry the day, and she did it.

1968 is the last occasion that a female helm was on the winning team of the Irish Team Racing Championships. After a 53 year gap, Niamh now joins an elite group in the history of Irish Team Racing.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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At the Irish Team Racing Championships 2021, organised by the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Technological University Dublin won the Championship for the first time.

108 Sailors forming 18 teams vied for the title and trophy of the Irish Team Racing Association, whose history goes back 73 years.

The event attracted a diverse and important range of sailors including youth teams from the Royal St.George Yacht Club combined with the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Royal Cork Yacht Club, a full female team (in an event where 50% Of the competitors are female) as well as the recently crowned Laser World Championship silver medalist Finn Lynch and Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy.

 Irish Team Racing Championships 2021

The event began on Sunday with cold, but otherwise fantastic team racing conditions, shining sunshine and a 6 to 8-knot breeze. Race Officer Ben Fusco, with years of team racing under his belt, laid the S-shaped course just on the banks at Curlane Bank.

The Race Management team were able to complete the HLS league stage which determined which teams would qualify for the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets. He then commenced the stage 2 Round Robin, but alas due to the approaching signs of darkness at 16.30 he signalled the end of the days racing, with 30 races to complete the stage.

 Irish Team Racing Championships 2021

Bright and early Sunday morning after a sumptuous dinner provided by the Royal Cork Yacht Club catering team the previous evening, the competitors were keen to take to the water, in the hope of putting their hands on the coveted trophy.

With northwesterly winds over 20 knots, a decision was made to relocate the course to the channel of Curabinny Pier in the expectation to get some shelter that allowed the event to progress.

Race Officer Ben Fusco, with his local knowledge of the tides and winds, managed to lay a course around moorings and boats at anchor. This was a major challenge for the sailors from the previous day. Now they had to contend with an ebbing tide, risk of getting stuck on the mud banks or entangle on moorings. Not a course for the faint-hearted, but the majority prevailed.

 Irish Team Racing Championships 2021

Increasing gusts of 20 to 21 knots were hitting the fleets and on a tight short team racing course, which demands brilliant boat handling control from the crews to execute their tactics, the top teams started to come to the top. It took every ounce of a helms ability to navigate the S shape course which saw numerous capsizes.

Unfortunately, as the round-robin was completed the wind turned to a northerly direction, with gusts reaching 25 knots. The Race Management team faced with the increasing risk of damage to the boats made a wise decision to finish racing and not proceed with the knock out stage.

The Technological University Dublin triumphed in these conditions with an outstanding helm on their team Niamh Henry. Niamh proved to be extremely capable of handling the gusts to navigate the course. She has an inherent instinct for calling the correct team tactics to achieve a team win. A Lady helm on the winning team was in 1968, and now after a 53-year gap, Niamh joins an elite group of Lady Helms in Team Racing.

Winning Team and Irish Team Racing Champions 2021: Technological University Dublin
Helms: Niamh Henry, Dan Little and Glebe Romantchik.
Crews: Max Pocock, Isobel O'Grady and Trudy O'Hare

Event Manager Tom McGrath
Race Officer Ben Fusco
Umpires Cxema Pico, Chris Lindsay, Gordon Davies, Eunice Kennedy, Dave Sheahan, Derek Moynan and Richard McGlade.

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When 144 sailors descend on a club like the hospitable but relatively small (numerically-speaking) Carlingford Sailing Club for a festival of team racing, the pressure is on, both afloat and ashore. That pressure is in no way lessened by the 24 teams being drawn from nine universities all over Ireland.

All six members of the winning team have to keep their cool to make it to the top. But the pressure for this is most challenging on the winning team captain, and in October's highlight of the 2021 Irish Universities Eastern Championship, it was a University College Dublin team captained by Jack Fahy, which took the trophy.

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The Royal St. George Yacht Club were the convincing winner after 24 races of the J/80 Millennium Bowl Team Racing event at Dun Laoghaire Harbour at the weekend.

Saturday saw Dublin Bay Race Officer Barry O'Neill complete 18 races that put the hosts easily ahead in club J/80s.

Despite the threat of a gale warning, another six races on Sunday in some shifty conditions saw the John Sheehy captained local side produce an overall victory against visitors Royal Thames Yacht Club in second and the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club in third. 

The tri-club competition is held annually between the George, Royal Thames YC and the Gareloch's Royal Northern and Clyde.

The inspiration for the competition was provided by the late Harry Maguire who decided in 2000 after a challenge race against the Clyde that an event should be expanded to three clubs and run to involve senior racers in keelboats. The Thames agreed to join and allocated a significant meter high silver trophy presented by Kaiser Willhelm II for the Race between the German and British Royals (specifically his cousin Edward VII who he never beat). Probably why he started the First World War!! The Trophy is taken from the club vault and shown only whenever the Thames host the event in London.

This year's event was run in Dun Laoghaire and sailed in the club's six J80's crewed by four crew whose total age has to exceed 160 years with at least one crew of opposite gender and one crew over 55 on each boat. The George fielded a very strong team comprising John Sheehy, Nick Smyth and Andrew Fowler & supporting crews. The Clyde team led by Nichole McPhearson are long time team racing stalwarts of the Clyde and former holders of the trophy. Thames, the current holders, fielded a solid group of ex Firefly team racers in years past, one being Jon Redding of Nottingham Outlaws fame who were multiple winners of the Wilson Trophy in West Kirby.

The George opened their account to the positive early taking wins from Thames and the Clyde. The weather was perfect for the sport and racing continued in sunny and mild 14 knots westerly on the M shaped course skilfully managed by SRO Barry O'Neill and his team. The George continued to rack up wins but Thames came back in a purple spell in the afternoon taking back a couple of points from the George and hammering the Clyde who despite valiant team racing found themselves unable to hold onto precarious winning combinations to the finish line. The team skills improved as experience gained on the water accumulated and match victories pivoted on a place lost or the decisions of the Umpire Team led by Ailbe MIllerick who were kept relentlessly busy in the close manoeuvring.

The George however was most artful at turning over results in the last couple of legs giving lessons in coordinated team demolition. After 12 races apiece, the teams retired for refreshments, tall tales and gutter boat racing ashore. The George's tally was an unassailable 8 1/2 wins, Thames 4 1/2 wins and despondent Clyde 2 wins. After overnight gales, the teams took to the water again in the eye of the storm sunshine on Sunday morning. Overall placings were unlikely to change but pride had to be salvaged afloat. Clyde took a race from Thames and ran the George close as did Thames the race lead changing on all four legs alas to no avail.

RStGYC John Sheehy (Capt. helm), Peter Bowring, Moselle Foley & Owen Laverty. Andrew Fowler (helm), Max Treacy, Martin Byrne & Stephanie Bourke Nick Smyth (helm), Jenny Andreasson, Heather Craig & Ben Cooke

RTYC  Katie Greenland (helm), William Edwards, Ollie Dix & Capt Ben Clothier. Ian Dobson (helm), Chris Griffiths, Harry Edwards & Jon Redding (helm) Jo Redding, Emma Geary & David Robertson.

RN&YC (helms) Nichole McPhearson (Capt), Griogair Whyte & Theo Hoole

Umpires Ailbe Millerick, Vincent Delany, Dave Sheahan & Eunice Kennedy

SRO Barry O'Neill

The next edition of the annual Millennium Trophy will be held in Scotland.

Published in Team Racing

Carlingford Sailing Club, in conjunction with Dublin University Sailing Club, hosted the IUSA Eastern Team Racing Championship on the weekend of 23rd/24th of October, with 24 teams from nine universities, 144 competitors in total fighting it out to see who would be crowned champions after a 19-month delay in competitions. It was worth waiting for as the combined energy of the competitors and volunteers pulled off one of the most spectacular team racing events witnessed on these waters for some considerable time.

This was one of the biggest sporting events run on the water in 2021, and probably the biggest on Carlingford Lough since the fabled Oyster Festival series.

 IUSA Eastern Team Racing Championship

The Carlingford Sailing Club organisation, spearheaded by Commodore Áine Gorman, Sailing Secretary Ross McEntegart, and Committee Member Diarmuid Gorman, supported by the club members, was a spectacular success. This is a continuation of the strong growth that has taken root in the club over the last 18 months. In particular, the membership volunteers came from all categories, from junior/youth to adult and family. Carlingford Sailing Clubs fleet of ribs and support boats was supplemented by the generous loan of ribs from The Lough's agency (driven by Dave Clarke of the LA), Barnarde and Gerard Kilgallon, and James Ives, tenders from Carlingford Swimmers and NUI Galway, as well as the pontoon for excess changeovers from Carlingford Adventure Centre. The IUSA, their umpires, and supporting staff, again spread across generations, hit the ground running and dove-tailed with the CSC organisation so that the event ran without a hitch to the finals on the Sunday afternoon.

team racing carlingford

The planning for the event started in 2020, but the set up on the water commenced on Friday afternoon as the committee boat was launched, and ribs and support boats were made ready to be parked in the Marina to counter any problems with low tides. The clubhouse was made ready to provide competitors with butties, burgers and refreshments over the weekend, and the competitor boats arrived to be set up in the dinghy park. IUSA organisers and umpires met with CSC to walk over the plans, and then we were ready for the start on Saturday. The weather forecast worryingly, for the Saturday was Force 5, gusting to 7 which would risk equipment damage.

On the Saturday morning, it was clear, thanks to the shelter of the Cooley Peninsula, that the conditions were ideal with a steady Force 3 wind. CSC volunteers were ready cooking breakfast butties at 8am, and the competitors arrived to get their boats ready. The event had to be run under Covid 19 restrictions, with limits on changing facilities. From the first arrivals it was clear that all the participants were keen to comply, and this was the case through the full duration of the event. Chief Umpire Eunice Kennedy gave the fleet briefing at 9 am, accompanied by DUSC Captain Kate Lyttle.

Then it was all systems go, at a blistering pace, with Umpire ribs, safety boat and ferries on the water at 9.30, the committee boat, course, and finish boat in position at 10 am, ready for the first race which started at 10.30am. The competitors, who were waiting to be ferried out for their races congregated at the end of the pier, many of them sitting on the wall which provided a grandstand view of the racing, with up to 3 matches ongoing at any one time. Down at the steps, where the ferries were shuttling competitors back and forth, the rest of the students congregated, most chatting, some sleeping, some readying themselves for the challenge on the water. Music was playing, there was serious competition, but there was also a bit of a celebration as competitors and friends were re-united after over a year's distance.

Ross McEntegart CSC, ferried competitorsRoss McEntegart CSC, ferried competitors

The ferries kept moved competitors without delay, crews changed over, matches were close fought, the umpires criss-crossed the matches in ribs driven by CSC members, handing out rule decisions. On the water, there was much flag waving to signal penalties or compliance with rules by umpires, shouting of messages across boats to co-ordinate their teams, and manoeuvring of competitors to gain team advantage, followed intently by the crowd on the harbour wall as they worked out how their comrades and competitors were faring against each other as the day went on. The wind freshened at about 2 pm and there were a few capsizes, but there was no disruption to the sequence of matches which continued unabated. By 5.30pm 73 out of the 84 round robin matches had been sailed, the progress had been above expectations, as normally only about 60 matches are sailed on the first day. The IUSA team put this down to the extremely slick operation by CSC on the water, and, in particular, the efficiency of the ferry service which had kept crew changeover times to an absolute minimum. The competitors went away happy, expectant of another day's wonderful sailing, and we all knew that the event was already a roaring success.

Ruth Browne, Áine Gorman, Deirdre Williams, Lara DuPlessis, Denise and Duncan Foster take a break while the action is on the waterRuth Browne, Áine Gorman, Deirdre Williams, Lara DuPlessis, Denise and Duncan Foster take a break while the action is on the water

Sunday came, and the weather held. The sun even came out to add sparkle to the champagne sailing. The round robin was concluded enabling the Quarter, Semi, and Finals to proceed for the Platinum, Gold and Silver Fleets from lunchtime onwards. There was a major shock in the Platinum Fleet when 8th seed TCD3 knocked out 1st seed UCC1. However, they in turn were knocked out by UCD1 in their semi-final, who went on to beat TCD1 in a best of 5 final 3-1.

The final results were, Platinum: UCD 1, Gold: UCD 3, Silver: UL 1

In the fleet divisions, TCD3 were promoted to Platinum, UCD4 were promoted to Gold, UCC2 were relegated to Gold, and NUIG2 were relegated to Silver.

The umpires and the IUSA team were full of praise for the event organisation and expressed their wish that they could come back to Carlingford Sailing Club again. Kate Lyttle Captain of Dublin University Sailing Club commented "On behalf of Trinity Sailing and the Irish University Sailing Association I want to thank the team at Carlingford Sailing Club for their help in running a fantastic event. The team at Carlingford Sailing Club were extremely accommodating. We had a full round robin of 84 races and completed quarters, semis, and finals for all three fleets. The event was a great success and enjoyed by all."

 IUSA Eastern Team Racing Championship Carlingfrod

This event could not have happened without a considerable amount of voluntary effort. They were:

Carlingford SC

  • Umpire Drivers – Pat McCormick, Jim Garvey, Gerard Kilgallon, Miriam Donnelly, Áine Gorman, and Justin Blake
  • Safety and Mark Laying – Francis Donnelly, Diarmuid Gorman, Ross McEntegart, and Fiachra McCormick
  • Ferries – Dave Clarke (Loughs Agency), Ruth Browne, Terry Lenehan, Torin Fleming, Shane Mulligan, Maxi Sochor, Fiachra McCormick
  • Clubhouse/Facilities – Áine Gorman, Barnarde Kilgallon, Donal McCormick, Miriam Donnelly, Peter Bastible, Eddie Conway, Deirdre Williams, Lara Du Plessis, Brenda McGoey, Denise Foster, Gearóid O'Sullivan

CSC Commodore Áine Gorman at the helm as competitors get ready to sailCSC Commodore Áine Gorman at the helm as competitors get ready to sail

DUSC/IUSA

  • Umpires – Eunice Kennedy, Dave Sheehan, Ailbe Millerick
  • DUSC Captain Kate Lyttle 
  • DUSC Events Secretary: Emily Arrowsmith 
  • DUSC Sailing Secretary: Issy Larkin 
  • USA President: Niamh Doran
  • IUSA Vice President: Johnny Durcan
  • Race Officers: Sandy Aplin and Ciaran Finnegan
  • Finish boat: Sarah MacFeely and Rachel Carr
  • Race Office: Toby Hudson Fowler
  • Beachmaster: Robbie Dix
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More than 40 teams of young sailors are set for battle this weekend as the 2021 Eric Twiname Team Racing Championships returns.

Around 240 junior and youth sailors from across the country will descend on Oxford’s Farmoor Reservoir to compete for the top spot over two days of team-on-team action.

It will be a welcome return for the much-loved event, which had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Racing will take place in Firefly dinghies for youth teams and RS Fevas for juniors, with prizes awarded in each category.

Teams are made up of three boats in the youth fleet and two boats for juniors, each crewed by two sailors. Teams compete in a round-robin before the top teams face off in a knockout to determine the winners.

To promote gender equality in sailing, mixed-gender teams were given priority during the entry process. As a result, of the 47 teams competing only five are single-gender with a significant increase in the proportion of female helms competing from previous years.

Niall McLeod, RYA Racing Services Manager, said: “The Eric Twiname Team Racing Championships is a real highlight of the racing calendar, and we’re delighted to see it return in 2021.

“Team racing is a really exciting, fun and sociable discipline of sailing combining tactics and teamwork, and it’s great for improving fleet racing skills such as boat handling and rules knowledge too.

“We are pleased to see so many mixed-gender teams at this year’s event, and we’re looking forward to a real showcase of team racing this weekend.”

The regatta, named after famous sailor, author and journalist Eric Twiname, has seen many members of the current British Sailing Team compete in previous editions such as 470 sailors Eilidh McIntyre, Amy Seabright and Georgina Povall.

Entries are subsidised by the Eric Twiname Trust, which was set up in Twiname’s name following his death in 1980.

Results will be posted here

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After a staggering 137 races sailed over the weekend and a stirring comeback on the Sunday morning, RStGYC Sea Buoys won the sixth Elmo team racing trophy with a convincing 2-0 victory in the final.

Gentle breezes were the order of the day on Sunday, with teams trying to put wins on the board to make the finals. Three rounds of racing saw each team complete 15 races before a final between the top two teams from the host club, Sea Buoys and 29ers.
The competition was close across the fleets, with The National Yacht Club first team winning the Silver league unbeaten. The 'Leftovers' made up of a mixed clubs team, proved they should not have been left behind by taking the Bronze Fleet.

The event in its sixth year continues to attract a mix of boy/girl teams across clubs and classes. The firefly dinghy allows crews to quickly get up to speed with roll tacks and gybes as they manoeuvre around the starboard S course. Races typically last 6-7 minutes, but this is more than enough time for plenty of tactics, fast sailing and teamwork.

For next years seventh edition, organisers RSGYC are aiming for 5 flights of firefly dinghies and 30 teams! 180 youth team racers would be epic!

Team Bullship at the Elmo Trophy dinnerTeam Bullship at the Elmo Trophy dinner

Overall: 1st Sea Bouys, 2nd 29ers, 3rd Bullship.

Silver Fleet: NYC1

Bronze Fleet: 'LeftOvers'

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The 108 team racers came ashore on Saturday after champagne sailing conditions saw the Royal Cork team emerge unbeaten after Day one of the Elmo Trophy at the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

Race officer Conal Casey and his team completed Round 1, and are now halfway through the Gold Silver Bronze round.

Teams enjoyed the event dinner where more sunshine ensured the outdoor seating wasn't a washout!

The home club, RSGYC features prominently with many teams in the Gold league and will be hoping to knock RCYC off their perch.

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The full lineup of 18 teams will be ready to battle in Dun Laoghaire Harbour this weekend for the sixth Elmo Trophy.

This youth sailing team racing event will see teams of six sailors representing their clubs or classes race in the 18 Firefly dinghies that are supplied for the event.

The 108 competing sailors at the Royal St George Yacht Club are aged between 13 and 19 with a 50:50 split between boys and girls.

The team travelling the furthest is a first-time entry from Glandore Yacht Club skippered by Conor Cresswell, while one of the host teams will include a member of Liverpool's West Kirby Sailing Club.

On paper, very strong lineups are entered from Royal Cork skippered by Lola Kohl, National Yacht Club skippered by Natasha Hemeryck, the 29er class skippered by Trevor Bolger and the Waszp class skippered by Max Goodbody.

A host team skippered by Finn Walker will look to defend the trophy won last time by 'Curious George' in 2019.

Over 130 races are expected to be sailed with the final scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

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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.

©Afloat 2020

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