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Displaying items by tag: Tyrone

Works to restore watercourses impacted by a bogslide in the North West last year could take “a number of years” to complete, according to the Loughs Agency.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, anglers in Donegal and Tyrone fear that the peat slippage near a wind farm development at Meenbog has made an important salmon fishery uninhabitable.

Video of the incident, which saw thousands of tonnes of bogland slide into the River Derg system, went viral on social media in early November 2020.

A working group was established in the wake of the incident and this multi-agency, cross-border group continues to meet on an ongoing basis to coordinate the plan of action, the Loughs Agency says.

“Construction works on the windfarm site where the peat slide originated remain suspended, with the exception of the maintenance of measures required to mitigate the threat of further pollution or those required to safeguard health and safety,” it adds.

Following a direction to the windfarm developer from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), an updated assessment by independent consultants of peat stability on the site is currently under way.

In addition, a “phased approach to the restoration of areas impacted by the peat slide” has been adopted, the Loughs Agency says.

The first phase began in the last few weeks, undertaken by the windfarm developer under direction of Donegal County Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and involves restoration of the lower reaches of the Shruhangarve stream and a planting scheme “to mitigate against the deterioration of the peat slide scar”.

The Loughs Agency says it has appointed a fisheries scientist to coordinate further restoration works that may be required for the Mourne Beg and other rivers downstream, and which may require statutory consent.

But it also advises that “given the seasonal restrictions that may apply”, such remediation works “will take a number of years to complete”.

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency has teamed up with police on both sides of the border and a local wildlife group in a joint initiative to tackle fish poaching in Co Tyrone, as Independent.ie reports.

‘Operation Silver Fin’ will take on the scourge of wildlife crime in the area, with a focus on enforcing existing fishing regulations to protect an important angling resource.

Fish poaching, which uses long lines and nets, is only permitted in certain areas — while anyone angling requires a licence and must follow strict rules around where, when and how they fish.

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout escaped from a commercial fish farm in Co Tyrone last year, according to the Loughs Agency.

BBC News has details on the cross-border body’s report into the incident on the River Strule at Newtownstewart in August 2017, which estimates some 387,000 female rainbow trout entered the river system.

Despite concerns over potential widespread impact on the wild salmon and trout fishery in the area, it’s believed the majority are still concentrated in the lower Strule, lower Derg and upper Mourne.

Local anglers are asked to continue taking the farmed fish from these rivers and reporting their catches, particularly from important spawning grounds, as mass removal is not an option.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Plans are afoot to turn Roughan Lough in Co Tyrone into a training lake for Northern Ireland's angling team, as the Tyrone Times reports.

New fishing stands and access for the differently abled are among the plans of the new Roughan Anging Club, which has a 10-year lease on the 50-acre lake that was until three decades ago stocked by the northern region predecessor to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Reputed to be full of large pike, its intended that the waters will be stocked with rainbow trout and make it a new destination for anglers across Ireland and beyond.

The Tyrone Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#WaterSafety - Four more people have drowned in separate incidents around Ireland as the heatwave continues.

As RTÉ News reports, a 24-year-old man died while swimming in the sea near Ardara in Co Donegal yesterday afternoon (20 July).

Later, the body of a second victim was recovered from the Shrule River in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone after getting into difficulty.

A third man in his 60s is was drowned after failing to return from a swim in a quarry near Carrick-on-Suir. His body was recovered earlier today.

The tragedies follow news of a 19-year-old who drowned while swimming with friends in Lough Leane in Killarney on Friday evening (19 July).

And a woman in her 30s was lucky to be rescued after getting into difficulty swimming in the River Nore near Kilkenny. She is currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Irish Water Safety have renewed their appeal for the public to take extra care when taking to the water during this extraordinary hot weather that had already claimed seven lives as of Thursday last.

Published in Water Safety

#ANGLING - The first wild Atlantic spring salmon of 2012 was caught Sunday on the River Liffey in exceptional circumstances, The Irish Times reports.

Though the river is closed for salmon fishing as stocks are currently below sustainable levels, Inland Fisheries Ireland sanctioned a special catch-and-release club event for survey reasons at Islandbridge in the capital.

Declan Briggs – a 47-year veteran of the Dublin and District Salmon Anglers' Association - landed the 8.5lb beauty using a wooden Devon lure at 9.50am.

“This is my first time to catch the first fish. I’m absolutely delighted," he said.

Elsewhere in Ireland, Briggs' catch was mirrored by Tyrone man Ian Martin, who caught the northern region's first salmon on the year on the River Drownes near Bundoran.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling
Northern Ireland is recovering after Hurricane Katia left power cuts and travel distruption in its wake.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the remains of Hurrican Katia had been expected to strike hardest in the northern half of Ireland.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that Derry, Antrim and Tyrone were worst hit by winds that reached speeds of up to 120kph on Monday.
There was widespread disruption to rail and ferry services, while drivers reported hazardous conditions. The Foyle Bridge was closed to all high-sided vehiches for a time.
Some 700 homes across Northern Ireland suffered a blackout when powerlines were cut and by falling trees and windborne debris, though power was mostly restored by Tuesday evening.
Though downgraded to tropical storm status after crossing the Atlantic, Katia's high winds wreaked similar havoc south of the border, with power cuts to over 13,000 homes in six different counties - half of them in Donegal alone.
Wind gusts of an incredible 137kmh were recorded on Arranmore Island.
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Northern Ireland is recovering after Hurricane Katia left power cuts and travel distruption in its wake.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the remains of Hurrican Katia had been expected to strike hardest in the northern half of Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Derry, Antrim and Tyrone were worst hit by winds that reached speeds of up to 120kph on Monday.

There was widespread disruption to rail and ferry services, while drivers reported hazardous conditions. The Foyle Bridge was closed to all high-sided vehiches for a time.

Some 700 homes across Northern Ireland suffered a blackout when powerlines were cut and by falling trees and windborne debris, though power was mostly restored by Tuesday evening.

Though downgraded to tropical storm status after crossing the Atlantic, Katia's high winds wreaked similar havoc south of the border, with power cuts to over 13,000 homes in six different counties - half of them in Donegal alone.

Wind gusts of an incredible 137kmh were recorded on Arranmore Island.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Weather

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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