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#FISHING - Conservationists and the fishing industry have joined forces in a new venture to evaulate the state of the Isle of Man's scallop fishery, as the Guardian reports.

Both sides will co-manage the 35-square-mile Ramsey marine nature reserve in the Irish Sea, collecting data to show what progress the scallops have made since fishing in the area was banned in 2009.

It is hoped that the study will lead to a renewing of leases for scallop fishing, which is worth up to £12 million annually to the Isle of Man's economy - though industry leaders have doubts that the new arrangement will serve the island's fishermen.

Some 2.6% of Manx waters are protected, with more than 1% 'highly protected', which is in stark contrast to the rest of the United Kingdom after plans for a national network of conservation zones were shelved till at least next year.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 46 reports of stranded whales and dolphins in Northern Ireland are among the thousands recorded across the UK over the last six years, according to BBC News.

A new study co-ordinated by the Zoological Socoety of London (ZSL) shows that some 3,500 cetaceans were stranded on the British coastline between 2005 and 2010.

Though year-on-year figures have fallen overall, is presumed that many more strandings have gone undetected.

Many were found to have died of disease or starvation – particular harbour dolphins.

But human activity such as fishing, shipping and chemical pollution also poses a significant threat to marine wildlife in the waters around the British Isles, said Rob Deaville of the ZSL.

The public is being encouraged to report stranded marine mammals to help create a more accurate picture.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 14 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea are among the network of planned marine wildlife sanctuaries around the UK that has been postponed.
The Liverpool Echo reports that the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shelved plans to create the conservation areas by the end of 2012 after pressure from "groups that use the coastline frequently including fishermen, yachting enthusiasts and seaside villagers".
There will now be a six-month delay while and impact assessment on the network of well over 100 proposed sites is presented to the British government.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, conservation groups have raised concerns that fewer than a quarter of the proposed sites around the UK will receive official protection.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 14 Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea are among the network of planned marine wildlife sanctuaries around the UK that has been postponed.

The Liverpool Echo reports that the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shelved plans to create the conservation areas by the end of 2012 after pressure from "groups that use the coastline frequently including fishermen, yachting enthusiasts and seaside villagers".

There will now be a six-month delay while and impact assessment on the network of well over 100 proposed sites is presented to the British government.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, conservation groups have raised concerns that fewer than a quarter of the proposed sites around the UK will receive official protection.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#COASTGUARD - The UK's shipping minister has confirmed that Northern Ireland will retain its only coastguard station, the News Letter reports.
Mike Penning made the survival of Bregenz House official at the House of Commons yesterday, marking the end of what has been a successful campaign by the station's supporters.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the control centre at Bangor was given a last-minute reprieve by the minister in July under revised proposals to streamline the UK's coastguard network.
Bregenz House will be one of eight stations set to remain following the cutbacks, and one of just three across the whole UK that will have 24-hour service.
However, concerns are still being expressed about the wider area that the Bangor station will now have to cover, with the coastguard workers' union calling for assurances that the "same level of service" will be preserved.

#COASTGUARD - The UK's shipping minister has confirmed that Northern Ireland will retain its only coastguard station, the News Letter reports.

Mike Penning made the survival of Bregenz House official at the House of Commons yesterday, marking the end of what has been a successful campaign by the station's supporters.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the control centre at Bangor was given a last-minute reprieve by the minister in July under revised proposals to streamline the UK's coastguard network.

Bregenz House will be one of eight stations set to remain following the cutbacks, and one of just three across the whole UK that will have 24-hour service.

However, concerns are still being expressed about the wider area that the Bangor station will now have to cover, with the coastguard workers' union calling for assurances that the "same level of service" will be preserved.

Published in Coastguard
A campaigner on Twitter is encouraging supporters to sign an online petition against the closure of coastguard stations across the UK.
So far almost 7,000 signatures have been added to the petition started by Twitter user @Coastguard_SOS in protest at the UK government's plans to streamline the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's nationwide network of rescue centres from 19 to 11.
As previously reportd on Afloat.ie, campaigners in Scotland have made a desperate plea to save the Clyde station from closure in a public consultation.
Northern Ireland's rescue command centre at Bangor on Belfast Lough is among those saved from the chop following a review of reform proposals this past summer.
But concerns remain that resources will be stretched too thin if fewer stations are responsible for broader areas.
"The revised proposals are also unacceptable not least on the basis that vital local knowledge will continue be lost and therefore lives will continue to be out at risk on our coastlines," the petition warns.

A campaigner on Twitter is encouraging supporters to sign an online petition against the closure of coastguard stations across the UK.

So far almost 7,000 signatures have been added to the petition started by Twitter user @Coastguard_SOS in protest at the UK government's plans to streamline the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's nationwide network of rescue centres from 19 to 11.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, campaigners in Scotland have made a desperate plea to save the Clyde station from closure in a public consultation.

Northern Ireland's rescue command centre at Bangor on Belfast Lough is among those saved from the chop following a review of reform proposals this past summer. 

But concerns remain that resources will be stretched too thin if fewer stations are responsible for broader areas.

"The revised proposals are also unacceptable not least on the basis that vital local knowledge will continue be lost and therefore lives will continue to be out at risk on our coastlines," the petition warns.

Published in Coastguard
The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published its annual canoeing and kayaking report for 2010.
Among 456 incidents involving canoes or kayaks across the UK, which include nine fatalities, many were due to people underestimating weather and tidal conditions.
The report highlighted that many canoe and kayak owners in Britain do not wear essential safety kit such as buoyancy suits or lifejackets, do not include contact details in their craft, and are not a part of the CG66 small boat safety scheme which enables the coastguard to easily identify them.
There have also been increased reports of kayakers getting into difficulty which turn out to be kayakers fishing offshore. The MCA urges any kayakers doing so to contact the coastguard to avoid wasted searches.
The report is available to read and download HERE.

The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published its annual canoeing and kayaking report for 2010.

Among 456 incidents involving canoes or kayaks across the UK, which include nine fatalities, many were due to people underestimating weather and tidal conditions.

The report highlighted that many canoe and kayak owners in Britain do not wear essential safety kit such as buoyancy suits or lifejackets, do not include contact details in their craft, and are not a part of the CG66 small boat safety scheme which enables the coastguard to easily identify them.

There have also been increased reports of kayakers getting into difficulty which turn out to be kayakers fishing offshore. The MCA urges any kayakers doing so to contact the coastguard to avoid wasted searches.

The report is available to read and download HERE.

Published in Canoeing
Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards.
MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for 2010, saying: "Ireland's scenic attributes are a primary reason for attracting tourists and it is essential that our coastal and inland bathing sites are also enticing."
Ireland has moved up five places from its overall rank of 10th in 2009, with 90.1% of all bathing water sites meeting the EU's Blue Flag guidelines for water quality at beaches and swimming spots.
However, the Daily Telegraph reports that a number of beaches in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK were judged to be 'poor'.
Beaches at Newcastle and Ballyholme in the North are among 16 across the UK that did not pass the EU's strict checks for Blue Flags.
The 2010 report ranks Cyprus as the cleanest bathing spot in Europe, with 100% of sites passing EU insspection. It was closely followed by Croatia with 97.3%, Malta at 95.4% and Greece at 94.2%.

Ireland has ranked fifth in a new Europe-wide report on bathing water quality - but some beaches in Northern Ireland are falling short of strict EU standards.

MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the results of the annual Bathing Water Report for 2010, saying: "Ireland's scenic attributes are a primary reason for attracting tourists and it is essential that our coastal and inland bathing sites are also enticing."

Ireland has moved up five places from its overall rank of 10th in 2009, with 90.1% of all bathing water sites meeting the EU's Blue Flag guidelines for water quality at beaches and swimming spots.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports that a number of beaches in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK were judged to be 'poor'.

Beaches at Newcastle and Ballyholme in the North are among 16 across the UK that did not pass the EU's strict checks for Blue Flags.

The 2010 report ranks Cyprus as the cleanest bathing spot in Europe, with 100% of sites passing EU insspection. It was closely followed by Croatia with 97.3%, Malta at 95.4% and Greece at 94.2%.

Published in Coastal Notes
The first report from a new incident database shows that more than 400 people died from accidents or by natural causes in water across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2009.
The WAID (Water Incident Database) was developed by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) to enable greater detail and volume in collecting data on fatal and non-fatal drowning, other water-related deaths and injuries, and near misses.
Of the 405 total deaths in 2009, more than half (213) occurred in inland waters. Nearly a quarter (99) happened on the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina or port, while one in seven deaths (57) happened further out at sea.
There were 19 deaths as a result of incidents in baths, five in swimming pools and one involving a water container. Eleven people died in places that are not usually watercourses, such as flooded areas.
The most commonly reported activity, which accounted for 78 fatalities, was someone entering the water while walking or running, for example to cool off or by falling.
Saturday was noted the most common day and August the most common month for fatalities to occur.
David Walker of the NWSF and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “Managing water risks is all about a balance between giving people freedom to make informed choices about how to enjoy water and the impact those choices have on society in general."
"By providing better information, WAID will assist in striking that balance and enable us to develop more effective prevention work..”
WAID was developed by NWSF member agencies and bodies in partnership with the UK Department for Transport. For more information and to view the report visit www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk.

The first report from a new incident database shows that more than 400 people died from accidents or by natural causes in water across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2009. 

The WAID (Water Incident Database) was developed by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) to enable greater detail and volume in collecting data on fatal and non-fatal drowning, other water-related deaths and injuries, and near misses. 

Of the 405 total deaths in 2009, more than half (213) occurred in inland waters. Nearly a quarter (99) happened on the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina or port, while one in seven deaths (57) happened further out at sea. 

There were 19 deaths as a result of incidents in baths, five in swimming pools and one involving a water container. Eleven people died in places that are not usually watercourses, such as flooded areas.  

The most commonly reported activity, which accounted for 78 fatalities, was someone entering the water while walking or running, for example to cool off or by falling.

Saturday was noted the most common day and August the most common month for fatalities to occur. 

David Walker of the NWSF and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “Managing water risks is all about a balance between giving people freedom to make informed choices about how to enjoy water and the impact those choices have on society in general."

He added: "By providing better information, WAID will assist in striking that balance and enable us to develop more effective prevention work.”                                                                                                         

WAID was developed by NWSF member agencies and bodies in partnership with the UK Department for Transport. For more information and to view the report visit www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk.

Published in Water Safety
The UK's Crown Estate has announced a consultation on making areas of Northern Ireland's sea bed available for renewable energy projects, Business & Leadership reports.
The consultation process will inflence leasing rounds for offshore wind and tidal energy projects in September this year, with the potential for development rights to be awarded as soon as spring 2012.
Junior Minister Robin Newton commented at yesterday's launch event in Belfast: “Today marks a major milestone in the development of marine renewable energy in Northern Ireland waters."
Energy Minister Arlene Foster added that Belfast harbour "is well placed to become a major offshore logistics centre in the rapidly expanding offshore wind sector".
Business & Leadership has more on the story HERE.

The UK's Crown Estate has announced a consultation on making areas of Northern Ireland's sea bed available for renewable energy projects, Business & Leadership reports.

The consultation process will inflence leasing rounds for offshore wind and tidal energy projects in September this year, with the potential for development rights to be awarded as early as spring 2012.

Junior Minister Robin Newton commented at yesterday's launch event in Belfast: “Today marks a major milestone in the development of marine renewable energy in Northern Ireland waters."

Energy Minister Arlene Foster added that Belfast harbour "is well placed to become a major offshore logistics centre in the rapidly expanding offshore wind sector".

Business & Leadership has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Bangor locals came face-to-face with officials from the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over the proposals to close Northern Ireland's only full-time sea rescue base.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that MCA bosses were loudly heckled when they tried to offer justifications for the closure of the Bangor station.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's network of coastguard centres will be scaled back to just three 24-hour stations and a handful of daytime-only centres for the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland.
Supporters of the station said they felt let down at the “bad deal” and “shabby” proposals presented by the MCA and Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who added Bangor to the closures list at the last minute.
BBC News reports that more than 100 people attended the meeting in Bangor on Thursday evening, including members of the public, MLAs, councillors and MPs.
Bill McFadyen, the MCA's regional director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, admitted at the meeting that he was not handed a copy of the proposals until after they had been finalised.
He added: "Of course we will still maintain a high level of service here in NI as we move forward in whatever direction comes out of the consultation."
The Belfast Telegraph has more in the story HERE.

Bangor locals came face-to-face with officials from the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over the proposals to close Northern Ireland's only full-time sea rescue base.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that MCA bosses were loudly heckled when they tried to offer justifications for the closure of the Bangor station.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the UK's network of coastguard centres will be scaled back to just three 24-hour stations and a handful of daytime-only centres for the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland.

Supporters of the station said they felt let down at the “bad deal” and “shabby” proposals presented by the MCA and Shipping Minister Mike Penning, who added Bangor to the closures list at the last minute.

BBC News reports that more than 100 people attended the meeting in Bangor on Thursday evening, including members of the public, MLAs, councillors and MPs.

Bill McFadyen, the MCA's regional director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, admitted at the meeting that he was not handed a copy of the proposals until after they had been finalised.

He added: "Of course we will still maintain a high level of service here in NI as we move forward in whatever direction comes out of the consultation."

The Belfast Telegraph has more in the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Page 1 of 2

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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