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Displaying items by tag: Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

July’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 has been cancelled due to the ongoing "uncertainties" over the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scrubbing of Ireland's biggest regatta, scheduled for the first two weekends of July, comes after careful consideration of the latest government announcement and discussion with event stakeholders at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The biennial event, which had attracted a bigger than expected fleet of 385 boats to date, will not now be sailed in 2021 but returns on schedule in July 2023.

"Despite the very positive news about the easing of government restrictions, we are still facing many uncertainties this summer, especially for an event the scale of VDLR, event chairman, Don O'Dowd said.

Dun Laoghaire's Don O'Dowd - too many uncertainties to proceed with VDLR 2021 RegattaDun Laoghaire's Don O'Dowd - too many uncertainties to proceed with VDLR 2021 Regatta

The government's new measures gave a green light for sailing last Friday but unfortunately, the scale of the Dun Laoghaire event means extra issues for organisers, especially ashore.

"Everyone believes it is important that the event should run safely and without compromise in the way we remember past regattas and with a full programme on and off the water. This year, sadly, that's not possible", he said.

"We want to thank everyone for their support and understanding. While it is disappointing, it is the safest thing to do in the community."

It's a testament to the regatta's successful formula that all our sponsors and supporters are already discussing the next edition. "We hope to see everyone again from July 6 to 9 2023, for a massive party!", O'Dowd added.

The regatta, now one of the biggest in Europe, is organised jointly by the four Dun Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs (the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club (DMYC), the National Yacht Club (NYC), the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) and the Royal St George Yacht Club (RStGYC).

2021 entry fees will be fully refunded to competitors this month.

The regatta had, in anticipation of dealing with social distance measures, hatched a plan a year ago that included separating the event over two separate weekends in order to reduce numbers and also moved to stagger sailors coming ashore. 

The event was to host 11 separate national championships and feature a debut offshore doublehanded class.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Entries for Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) are beyond expectations for July's event giving organisers the opportunity to close the entry system at the end of April to review the 320 boats received so far.

Ireland's biggest regatta on Dublin Bay is planning to facilitate social distancing with its cautious approach to fleet sizes and by implementing a new regatta format that splits the fleets over two weekends.

"We've now 221 boats entered for the One Design weekend and 94 entries for the Cruiser weekend, so it may be the case that we will need to restrict entries, with priority being given to classes holding a championship or those with an excess of 10 entries", VDLR chairman Don O'Dowd told Afloat.

VDLR Chairman Don O'Dowd was ahead of the curve in leading his Committee into organising a re-structured two-part regatta to cope with post-pandemic conditions   VDLR Chairman Don O'Dowd was ahead of the curve in leading his Committee into organising a re-structured two-part regatta to cope with pandemic conditions  

As Afloat previously reported, the 2021 event comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) tailored explicitly for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This is to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes, including an offshore class.

Finalising entries will also allow Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta's Principal Race Officer Con Murphy to plan what fleets are going on what Dublin Bay coursesFinalising entries early will allow Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta's Principal Race Officer Con Murphy to plan what fleets are going on what Dublin Bay courses

It is estimated that 700 sailors will compete each weekend.

O'Dowd is confident that they will reach the overall target set back in January, and with 11 championships currently running as part of the event, it's not hard to see how that will happen with 70 days still to go before the first gun.

There is a buoyant SB20 entry for Ireland's biggest regatta on Dublin Bay this July Photo: AfloatThere is a buoyant SB20 entry for Ireland's biggest regatta on Dublin Bay this July Photo: Afloat

The plan now – subject to a Government Covid announcement to be issued in early May – is that entry to VDLR 2021 will be 'temporarily closed' on April 30 to allow the committee to 'take stock' of entries received across all classes.

Because it's unclear what the COVID-19 situation will be by mid-summer, organisers are anxious to get plans laid out early and work out early who's actually coming to the regatta. 

Ironically, it's not the numbers afloat that could be problematic but arrangements ashore as it is likely there will be no movement between yacht clubs due to ongoing restrictions.

By mid-June, the hope is that under Government guidelines, inter-county travel will return, and by that stage, too, hotels will have reopened. Outdoor restaurant dining recommenced to allow some regatta social activity.

"The Covid restrictions to be revised by the Government will clarify shoreside capacity permitted across the four venues for both parts of VDLR21, but in the meantime, we are continuing to make our plans' O'Dowd said.

Final call for all VDLR classes

"There has been a strong uptake in entries in some of the 22 predicted classes, but it has been patchy in some of the others", O'Dowd admitted.

He would particularly like to see entries from some regular classes that have been slow off the mark to enter this year. "If classes could enter by April 30, it would help us a lot. We want to finalise what classes will be based in what club, as there will likely be restrictions ashore".

Currently only nine Flying fifteens are entered into Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta but the local fleet has over 20 that is typically one of the biggest one design keelboats of the entire regattaCurrently, only nine Flying fifteens are entered into Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta but the local fleet has over 20 that is typically one of the biggest one-design keelboats of the entire regatta Photo: Afloat

In particular, VDLR is now seeking firm indications from classes such as the Shipmans and other popular Dublin Bay one designs such as the Flying Fifteens and J80s.

In the dinghy divisions, the RS, Mermaids, and the vintage IDRA 14s, celebrating their 75th anniversary, are also requested to make their entries by April 30.

Shipman sailing on Dublin Bay. VDLR is keen to see a bigger entry from this keelboat class Photo: AfloatShipman sailing on Dublin Bay. VDLR is keen to see a bigger entry from this local keelboat class Photo: Afloat

Reduced mixing of boats and crews at VDLR

Finalising entries will also allow Principal Race Officer Con Murphy to plan what fleets are going on what Dublin Bay courses. 'If we get an early commitment, we can facilitate class starts; otherwise, we may have to combine classes on the one line line', Murphy told Afloat.

In anticipation of restrictions, racing times will be staggered between classes. Murphy said the VDLR fleet is preparing to take extra steps for two sets of racing times per day, one at 10.30 am and the other at 1.30 pm, to further reduce the mixing of boats and crews ashore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

11 Fireball dinghies are already entered for VDLR 2021 that will also double as the class Leinster Championships Photo: Afloat11 Fireball dinghies are already entered for VDLR 2021 that will also double as the class Leinster Championships Photo: Afloat

Meeting COVID-19's sailing challenges in 2021

Dun Laoghaire is unique in being able to operate in the pandemic because of the extensive area within the harbour site and facilities provided by the waterfront clubs and organisations.

The regatta will utilise the full infrastructure of the Harbour venue to the best advantage and bring certainty to a calendar that has been hugely dictated by Covid-19 and the constraints imposed due to social distancing.

VDLR organisers are keen to see more Mermaid dinghies enter the July Regatta on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatVDLR organisers are keen to see more Mermaid dinghies enter the July Regatta on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

Ireland's biggest sailing event

Growing over the last 16 years, the regatta is now one of Northern Europe's greatest shows on the water, eclipsed only by the UK's Cowes Week Regatta, one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world.

Since it first set sail in 2005, Dun Laoghaire Regatta has grown biennially and showcases the very best of Irish sailing action on the water. A regatta of this size also brings a lot of shoreside summer colour and significant economic benefit to the town of Dun Laoghaire.

The last edition in 2019 comprised over 300 sailing races across 30 classes and 2,500 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors drawn from both Ireland and overseas.

In the unlikely event of a cancellation of the regatta due to Covid-19, a full refund of entry fees will apply, the organisers say.

Published in Volvo Regatta

No less than four national keelboat titles will be decided on Dublin Bay this July as more classes than ever opt to run their championships as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

In total 11 class championships are now being sailed as part of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour-based regatta that will be split across two separate weekends as a COVID-19 measure.

From the keelboat fleets, Beneteau 31.7 and 211s along with Ruffian and Shipman classes will all race for national honours while Dragons will race for their East Coast Championship and SB20 race their 'Westerns'.

The SB20 Western Championship is being stage as part of Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 Photo: AfloatThe SB20 Western Championship is being staged as part of Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 Photo: Afloat

In the dinghy divisions, the GP14s,  Fireballs, RS400 and RS200 will all fight for separate Leinster titles.

Fireball Leinster honours are up for grabs at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 Photo: AfloatFireball Leinster honours are up for grabs at Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 Photo: Afloat

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

The Shipman class will sail for National Championship honours at Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: AfloatThe Shipman class will sail for National Championship honours at Dun Laoghaire Regatta Photo: Afloat

11 Class Championships ready to race at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021:

  • Beneteau 31.7 National Championship
  • Beneteau 211 National Championship
  • Shipman National Championship
  • Ruffian National Championship
  • Dragon - East Coast Championship
  • GP14 Leinster Championship
  • Fireball Leinster Championship
  • SB20 Western Championship
  • RS400 Leinster Championship
  • RS200 Leinster Championship
  • Royal Dee Irish Sea Offshore Championship

The 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire event was hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 498 boats in over 34 classes, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 290 races on five different courses were staged over four days.

For 2021, in order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant, a new regatta format will comprise the One Design Championship specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta's 'Early Bird' entry will close on 31st March. All fully paid entries received by 31st March will be automatically entered into a draw for a Helly Hansen Performance Sailing bag or a VDLR voucher to the value of €100.

Ireland's biggest regatta held every second year on Dublin Bay has been split in two this year as a means of reducing numbers. The regatta is working extremely hard to ensure a Covid-19 compliant regatta shall be run over the two weekends in July.

The regatta will be active this month in promoting the new format to individual sailors and to Class Captains from the 25 classes taking part and they are anticipating a good uptake of entries.

The event – which typically sees a 500-boat fleet – has already seen 100 entered (76 one designs and 32 cruisers).

As Afloat previously reported, there has, in particular, been a great response from the GP14 dinghy class with 19 entries confirmed for an expected 25 for the class Leinster Championships being run as part of the Regatta.

The regatta will comply with all current Government Guidelines relevant and in the unlikely event this is not possible, all paid entrants will receive a full refund of their entry fee, the organisers say.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Dun Laoghaire's buoyant Flying Fifteen class is getting behind the new format Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 One Design event scheduled for July

With two boats already entered five months before the event, Class Captain Neil Colin of the DMYC is encouraging the Bay's Flying Fifteen sailors and those in other fleets around the country to put the Dun Laoghaire Harbour event in the diary. 

As regular Afloat readers will know, in order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant, a new regatta format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. 

Preparations are off to a flying start with nine of the expected 22 racing classes already declaring regional or national championships to be held as part of the biennial sailing festival.

The Flying Fifteens have two entries so far, Neil Colin's own FFuzzy from the Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club and Niall Meagher's Ffantastic Mr Ffox from the National Yacht Club.

Traditionally, the FFers are big supporters of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta with a fleet of 24 boats mustered for the 2019 event and NYC duo David Gorman and Chris Doorly won the overall prize for the best one-design performance of the event.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Royal Cork Yacht Club's inaugural Fastnet 450 Race winner Nieulargo is among the latest entries into July's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta

The Muphy family's potent Grand Soleil 40 is now entered into two key Dublin offshore sailing fixtures. The first being June's 280-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire-Dingle race.

Entry into July's VDLR Regatta means the top-performing south coast cruiser will be making a second trip to the East Coast a month later for the July offshore, a key Irish clash of the season. 

As regular Afloat readers will recall, in 2019, the IRC offshore class totalled 28-boats and 2021 is shaping up to be the same healthy number again with eight boats already signed up five months before the first gun.

It means more pressure for defending champion Seamus Fitzpatrick's  First 50, Mermaid. The Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper beat the Welsh J109 Mojito, an ISORA champion, for the VDLR title but this year, as Afloat reported previously, the competition looks even tighter with the arrival, among others, of the Ker 40, Arabella into the Dublin Bay scene. 

As well as Fastnet 450 Race success, the 2018 RCYC Boat of the Year also took Kinsale Yacht Club's own Fastnet Race title last year, making 2020 one of the most successful SCORA years for the Murphy clan.

VDLR Offshore fleet at January 15th

  • Arabella, Ker 40, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Niall Dowling
  • Jackknife, J125, Pwllheli Sailing Club, Andrew Hall Sam Hall
  • Mermaid IV, Beneteau First 50, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Seamus FitzPatrick
  • Black Velvet, Beneteau First 34.7, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Leslie and Ailbhe Parnell
  • Lively Lady, Beneteau First 44.7, Royal Irish Yacht Club Rodney & Keith Martin
  • D-TOX, X-35, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Patrick McSwiney and Kyran McStay
  • Nieulargo Grand Soleil 40 B&C, Royal Cork Yacht Club, Denis & Annamarie Murphy
  • WOW XP44 IRL, Royal Irish Yacht Club, George Sisk
  • (Double Handed), Silver Shamrock, Half Tonner, Howth Yacht Club, Conor Fogerty
Published in Volvo Regatta

230 visiting boats from a fleet of nearly 500 made up nearly half the 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta fleet and this year organisers are reporting strong visitor interest again for 2021’s COVID-formatted event on Dublin Bay.

Interest is coming both from the one design and IRC divisions, six months ahead of the first gun.

The first 2021 entry was received from Northern Ireland, Jay Colville’s First 40, Forty Licks.

Colville, a regular visitor to the Bay, was a runner up in 2019’s Class Zero of the ICRA National Championships also held on Dublin Bay. The Royal Ulster YC and East Down YC entry performs well across the wind range and also finished second at VDLR 2019.

IRC Cruiser Racing at VDLR 2019 RegattaIRC Cruiser Racing at VDLR 2019 Regatta. In 2021 an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) will cater for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

Confirmed from across the Irish Sea are IRC visitors, Ruth Adams Charisma 22, ‘HRT’ from West Lancashire Yacht Club and Jonathan Fawcett’s She 31 ‘She Too’ from Wales.

As Afloat reported earlier, VDLR’s offshore class will also have some UK interest with the arrival of the Cowes-based Fast 40, Arabella, sailing under the burgee of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Although the 230 yachts from outside the bay area took away only 11 trophies in 2019 (up from seven in 2017), the bulk of the Dun Laoghaire Regatta silverware stayed in Dublin. Such early UK entries this time however, might be an indication of more international interest in the regatta and a bigger raid on the Irish prizes in 2021?

New format regatta for 2021

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

The 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire event was hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 498 boats in over 34 classes, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 290 races on five different courses were staged over four days.

For 2021, in order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant, a new regatta format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

Strong early VDLR entry

In liaising with classes, organisers estimate entry numbers are 'very good' and 'on a par with 2019', so it looks like both VDLR weekends will have a strong entry by the close of the early bird entry discount at the end March.

Published in Volvo Regatta

A positive 25 one design entries received so far into ten divisions of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2021 has been welcomed by organisers as the combined Dun Laoghaire clubs regatta rolls out its new COVID-compliant format event that splits the regatta between two weekends next July.

The early entries received seven months before the first gun are a sign of the regatta’s importance across the Irish Sea with entries already in from across Ireland and Northern Ireland and the UK.

Beneteau 31.7s

Royal Ulster Yacht Club’s John Minnis and crew will travel from Belfast Lough again in Final Call for the Beneteau 3.17 national championships that is being staged as part of the Regatta running from 2 to 4th July. Minnis was runner-up at the 2019 VDLR event.

The 31.7s are just one of nine class championships being held as part of the regatta.

The Dublin Bay based Beneteau 31.7 Levante. The class will race for national championships honours as part of VDLR 2021The Dublin Bay-based Beneteau 31.7 Levante. The class will race for national championships honours as part of VDLR 2021

Dragon East Coasts

The Dragon’s will race for east coast honours and one of the first entries in is Kinsale’s Tenacious skippered by Anthony O’Neill. The Dragon helm is in charge of the West Cork club’s Sovereign’s Cup regatta that will be held the week before the Dun Laoghaire event.

GP14s will race for Leinster honours on Dublin Bay in JulyGP14s will race for Leinster honours on Dublin Bay in July

GP14 Leinsters

Curly Morris, the President of the International GP14 Class, based at East Antrim Boat Club will contest the GP14 Leinster Championships as part of Dun Laoghaire. The dinghy class was one of the first to sign up for the new format event. A fleet of over 20 is expected.

Sigma 33s

Sigma 33 campaigner David Marchant is coming from Waterford Harbour to join the Dublin Bay fleet that usually attracts strong Scottish interest. 

Sigma 33 racing at VDLR 2019Sigma 33 racing at VDLR 2019

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

The 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire event was hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 498 boats in over 34 classes, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 290 races on five different courses were staged over four days.

For 2021, in order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant, a new regatta format will comprise the One Design Championship specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

Strong early VDLR 2021 entry

As Afloat reported previously, in liaising with classes, organisers estimate entry numbers are 'very good' and 'on a par with 2019', so it looks like both VDLR weekends will have a strong entry by the close of the early bird entry discount at the end March.

Published in Volvo Regatta

The defending Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta offshore champion is among the first six entries into that division for July’s regatta, a class that looks set to become one of the biggest fleets of the biennial event again.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, Seamus Fitzpatrick's victory in the First 50, Mermaid came in the final races of the 28-boat IRC offshore class in 2019 when the Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper beat the Welsh J109 Mojito, an ISORA champion, for the VDLR title.

Niall Dowling’s Ker 40 Arabella joins the VDLR offshore fleet

This July, Fitzpatrick can expect more competition in the form of club-mate Niall Dowling’s Ker 40 Arabella that is joining the VDLR offshore fray for the first time. London based Dowling took both line honours and the overall win in Wicklow’s Round Ireland Race in 2018 with the bigger Ker 43 Baraka GP and is set to be back on Irish waters next July 8.

Ker 40 ArabellaKer 40 Arabella (ex-Pace) racing on her home waters of the Solent in the UK's FAST 40 race circuit. Photo: RORC

Royal Irish Beneteau Entries

Three different Beneteau models are already entered for VDLR’s offshore class that, as predicted by Afloat, looks likely to be the type of racing most appropriate in 2021. As well as the Royal Irish champion First 50, other RIYC Beneteau’s are Leslie Parnell’s Beneteau First 34.7 and Keith and Rodney Martin’s Beneteau First 44.7, Lively Lady.

J125 Jackknife returns

Andrew Hall's J125 Jackknife competing in the 2019 VDLR event Photo: AfloatAndrew Hall's J125 Jackknife competing in the 2019 VDLR event Photo: Afloat

Another strong offshore entry returning to Dun Laoghaire Harbour is Andrew Hall's J125 Pwhelli-based Jackknife. This regular Irish visitor only narrowly missed out on the 2019 ISORA overall title and was a late favourite into the 2019 Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race.

Two-handed class

As well as a buoyant offshore class, VDLR has also initiated a new two-handed offshore class, a move that has been warmly received by short-handed sailing exponents such as top Irish Figaro sailor, Tom Dolan. 

New format regatta for 2021

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

The 2019 Volvo Dun Laoghaire event was hailed an enormous success both afloat and ashore for a combined fleet of 498 boats in over 34 classes, the biggest on the Irish Sea. Over 290 races on five different courses were staged over four days.

For 2021, in order to facilitate social distancing and be Covid-19 compliant a new regatta format will comprise a One Design Championship (2nd – 4th July 2021) specifically tailored for sailors in the one-design keelboat and dinghy classes. This to be followed by an Open Cruiser Championship (8th – 11th July 2021) catering for the full range of Cruiser Handicap classes.

Strong early VDLR entry

In liaising with classes, organisers estimate entry numbers are 'very good' and 'on a par with 2019', so it looks like both VDLR weekends will have a strong entry by the close of the early bird entry discount at the end March.

Published in Volvo Regatta

Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta organisers are reporting entries are 'streaming in' for next July's new two-weekend format big sailing event on Dublin Bay

Changes to the split the regatta over two weekends to ensure COVID regulation compliance have been given a thumbs up from competitors but changes don't stop there with other innovations including the addition of a new two-handed IRC class also well received

In an end of year shout-out to competitors, organisers say enter before 31 December 2020  to be automatically entered into an Early Bird Draw to be in with a chance of winning one a VDLR Hospitality Vouchers to the value of €100. Vouchers may be redeemed against Food & Drink during VDLR 2021 at your allocated base club.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

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