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Displaying items by tag: Waterways Ireland

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and waterways users on the Shannon Navigation that restrictions around the construction of the new pedestrian and cycleway bridge in Athlone will continue until the end of next month.

Additionally, the first section of the bridge will be floated downstream from Wansboro Field on a large pontoon from Tuesday 30 to Wednesday 31 August.

Two tugs will be manoeuvring the 18 sqm pontoon, and two safety boats will be on the river during the bridge moving operation.

In preparation for the bridge moving operation, the three upstream sections of the new Waterways Ireland jetty at the railway bridge will be removed from Thursday 25 August.

All power and water to the remaining sections of the jetty will be disconnected for safety reasons from this date, and the red navigation markers at the railway bridge will also be removed.

No vessel will be allowed to moor on this jetty from 8pm on Monday 29 August until 8pm on Wednesday 31 August.

Masters of vessels are advised to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the works and to follow the instructions of safety craft and personnel in the area, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that diving operations will be conducted on the floating breakwaters in four locations between Lough Ree and Limerick from Thursday 11 August until next Friday 19 August.

Masters of vessels are requested to proceed with additional caution in the vicinity of the diving operations taking place at Ballyleague on Lough Ree, Castle Harbour in Portumna and Garrykennedy on Lough Derg, and Limerick city.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that eight small green navigation markers will be installed at the Hexagon Shoal in Lough Ree from Monday 1 August for a trial period.

Four of these markers will be installed on the north side of Marker 615, with the rest installed on the east side of that marker.

Waterways Ireland also advises boaters to always use an up-to-date navigation guide when boating on the Shannon Navigation.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland wishes to advise all masters and users of the Shannon Navigation of navigation and mooring restrictions in Carrick-on-Shannon to facilitate the Carrick Rowing Regatta on Sunday 31 July.

The regatta, hosted by Carrick-on-Shannon Rowing Club, will be held on a 500-metre stretch of water immediately south of the town bridge commencing at 9am and finishing at around 6pm.

Craft wishing to make a through passage will be facilitated approximately every two hours during the course of the regatta.

Only vessels of an overall length of 22ft/6.8m or less are currently permitted on the floating jetties until the completion of the regatta. This is necessary in the interest of marine safety and to facilitate the laying of the competition course.

Vessels berthed from 4pm on Wednesday 27 July will be required to remain in place until racing finishes on Sunday.

Masters are advised to proceed at slow speed and with due caution and to take note of advice from course marshals when passing through the area.

Published in Inland Waterways

Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal restoration has been officially initiated with a contract signing in Clones, Co Monaghan this morning (Monday 25 July).

The contract was signed by Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh and John Pentony, managing director of Jons Civil Engineering Company Ltd in the presence of Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.
 
The project, which is due to go on site in August 2022, will involve the development of a new marina, two new access bridges, repairs to an existing masonry arch bridge and a sustainable water supply.

It will also include approximately 1km of restored canal and towpath, with a looped walk and an amenity area on the route of the 180-year-old Ulster Canal in Clones.

The amenity area will include car parking, bus/trailer spaces, a service block and picnic area and will be connected to the town and the existing playground. This phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2023. 
 
The Ulster Canal Redevelopment Phase 2 is a substantial investment of €20m in funding under the Programme for Government. It is supported by €8m in funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, €6m in funding from the Shared Island Fund and €6m in funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Works will be undertaken by Jons Civil Engineering Company Ltd. The project will be managed by Waterways Ireland and implemented by Doran Consulting.
 
Minister O’Brien said: “This new amenity — between Clones and Clonfad — will further showcase our waterways heritage and its value to the island. The redeveloped canal is sure to be a welcome draw for locals and visitors alike, enhancing the local area and providing economic opportunity.”
 
Minister Heather Humphreys said: “As somebody who lives only a few miles out the road, I am absolutely delighted that the contracts have been signed today on the long-awaited restoration of the Ulster Canal in Clones.

“The Ulster Canal is a flagship cross-border project and I am delighted to support the development of this unique amenity with almost €6million in funding from my Department. The Ulster Canal will bring huge tourism and economic benefits not just to Clones and Co Monaghan but to the entire Border region.”
 
McDonagh also welcomed the development: “The Ulster Canal is a major link in our waterway network. Phase 2 will see substantial restoration of the canal basin near the historic Canal Stores in Clones and will provide a water-based recreational amenity area there. The Ulster Canal Greenway is also in development and will, in time, complement the canal restoration project.”
 
Work on the Ulster Canal began in 1841 and within the year it was open to commercial traffic. The navigation combining river and canal was circa 93km long, passing through Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan, Tyrone, and Armagh. The last trading boat using the canal was in 1929 and it officially closed in 1931.
 
Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2020. It includes some 2.5km of new river navigation along the River Finn between Quivvy Lough and Castle Saunderson. The work programme involved the dredging of the River Finn, construction of a new lateral canal and navigation arch at Derrykerrib bridge and the installation of a new floating jetty at Castle Saunderson.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all users of the Royal Canal that a kayaking and watersport event will take place in Ballynacargy Harbour in Co Westmeath from 9am to 4.30pm next Monday 18 July.

Masters of other craft are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash and note any directions issued by the stewards.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels on the Grand Canal that the jetty serving Lock C6 beside the Charlemont Luas over-bridge in Dublin City centre is closed until further notice in order to effect repairs.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels on the Royal Canal that the Canoe Polo Club Championship will be taking place in Mullingar Harbour this weekend, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July between 8am and 5pm each day.

Masters of craft are requested to proceed at slow speed and with minimum wash and note any directions issued by the stewards. The harbour should also be kept clear of moored vessels during this time, adds the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has advised masters of all craft that emergency channel maintenance operations are taking place on the Shannon-Erne Waterway between Lock 1 at Corraquill and Aghalane Bridge.

The works commenced yesterday, Thursday 7 July, and are expected to continue for two weeks, the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways says.

During this operation, mechanical plant will be working onboard a floating pontoon moored in the channel. The navigable channel will remain open and masters should proceed past the works with caution.

Masters and other users are asked to comply with safety signage and heed all instructions from safety personnel who will be in the area.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels on the Shannon Navigation that the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland’s (IWAI) Lough Derg Rally will take place from this coming Saturday 9 to Sunday 16 July and will visit the following locations:

  • Saturday 9 July: Dromann
  • Sunday 10 July: Dromann
  • Monday 11 July: Mountshannon
  • Tuesday 12 July: Mountshannon
  • Wednesday 13 July: Anchor Out
  • Thursday 14 July: Terryglass
  • Friday 15 July: Terryglass
  • Saturday 16 July: Terryglass

Masters of vessels should be aware that a significant number of vessels will be participating in the rally. For more details see the IWAI website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Page 1 of 47

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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