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Displaying items by tag: Waterways Ireland

Waterways Ireland has provided an update for masters and owners regarding canal boat passage arrangements in and out of Dublin city for the 2022 boating season.

Movements in or out of the city on its inland waterways will continue to be organised by prior arrangement to take place as a single movement in one day.

Passage will be organised and assisted for craft if they have the valid permit(s) and arrangements in place with the Waterways Ireland inspectorate. Some flexibility may be required on dates/times of travel to align with staffing and other considerations.

In order to plan the necessary lock assistance for movements east of Lock 12 on either canal, masters are required to contact the Eastern Regional Office at [email protected] or +353 (0)1 868 0148 prior to making passage.

At time of making contact, masters should provide the following details:

  • Length, beam, water and air drafts of craft (provide approximates if don’t have exact dimensions)
  • Permit number and expiry date of current canal permit
  • Contact details for making arrangements

On the Grand Canal, a minimum of two days’ notice prior to intended passage must be given and, with the exception of pre-arranged events, a maximum of two boats per day will be taken through the locks, travelling either east or west.

Due to periodic anti-social activity along some of canal route into Dublin, boat passage will generally not be arranged in certain weather conditions and at weekends when less support is available. This can be planned for at time of making contact and suitable arrangements for passage made.

On the Royal Canal, repairs and upgrades continue to Spencer Dock Sea Lock, so boat passage (including Newcomen Bridge lifts) will be on a reduced schedule.

In addition, there will be no boat passages permitted through Locks 2 and 4 on Whitworth Road from next Tuesday 12 April for two weeks due to gate repair, gate measurement and associated works. Sections of towpath on the south side of the canal also require closure during this time.

Masters are asked to note that bridge lift dates are pre-set and as listed below, and normal restrictions will apply. Two weeks’ notice in advance of these is required; and lock assistance, bridge lift operation and sea lock passage will then be organised accordingly:

  • Sunday 1 May, 9am-1pm (Liffey Low Water at 0620, 1839)
  • Saturday 4 June, 9am-1pm (LW @ 0915)
  • Tuesday 21 June, 11am-1pm (LW @ 1156)

Masters and owners are also reminded to ensure that they have the following before making the passage through the city locks on either canal:

  • adequate fuel on board
  • competent and adequate crew to operate the boat and locks (minimum crew of 3)
  • a lock key on board their boat
  • mooring lines of adequate length to handle vessel through a lock (approx. 15m length)
  • no known mechanical problems with their boat

Waterways Ireland reserve the right to postpone passage to another day if all of these are not in place.

Lock passages can be arranged in the boating season from now until the end of October, subject to any other restrictions that may be advised by Notice from time to time.

Also note that aquatic weed is generally more prevalent as the season progresses which can hamper passage.

Boaters will be facilitated as far as practicable although Waterways Ireland cannot guarantee that passage will be possible on every planned date. Early contact will greatly assist planning and facilitate the making of the necessary arrangements.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels and water users on the Shannon Navigation that Tarmonbarry Lock in Co Longford is closed until further notice due to emergency repair works.

An alternative route via the Camlin River is available. Masters are advised to check their air draft prior to undertaking passage on this inland waterway due to the low bridge on the N5 road.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland reminds masters of vessels on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway that the winter mooring period for these inland waterways ended last Thursday 31 March.

Shannon Navigation Bye-Law No 17(3) now applies, such that vessels should not berth in the same harbour for longer than the statutory period of five consecutive days nor more than a total of seven days in any one month.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has issued advisories for masters on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland over two angling events in the area taking place next weekend.

On Lower Lough Erne, the Ulster Trout Angling Championship will take place on Saturday 9 April.

Fishing boats will launch from Rossigh slipway for the competition which runs from 9am to 7pm.

Meanwhile, on Upper Lough Erne the Predator Fishing Challenge will take place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April.

Boats in this event will launch from the private slipway at Watermill Lodge, with fishing to take place from 9.30am to 5pm.

For both events, all masters of vessels on these inland waterways are asked to keep wash/wake to a minimum when passing vessels in the respective areas.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels on the Royal Canal that due to persisting mechanical issues with Begnagh Bridge that necessitate repairs, the lift bridge can only be operated manually on a limited fixed schedule until mid-June.

The dates of operation are approximately every two weeks apart, as follows:

  • Friday 15 April at 10am
  • Thursday 28 April at 10am
  • Friday 13 May at 10am
  • Friday 27 May at 10am
  • Friday 10 June at 10am
  • Friday 24 June at 10am

Prior notice must be given two days in advance to the water patroller in Clondra on 087 915 1400.

Published in Inland Waterways

The 5.5km Ballyconnell-to-Bellaheady Recreational Trail, a partnership venture between Cavan County Council and Waterways Ireland, was officially opened last Friday (25 March).

On hand for the launch were Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys with Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr Clifford Kelly and Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh, among others.

The new 5.5km trail along the banks of the Woodford River on the Shannon-Erne Waterway also provides connectivity to the existing Woodford Village Walk, a key amenity in the UNESCO Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark.

The project, which will ultimately form part of a broader 54km greenway along the old Cavan-to-Leitrim railway line, received €684,289 in funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Additional match funding was provided by Cavan County Council and Waterways Ireland.

Welcoming the opening of the new trail, Cllr Kelly said: “This trail is a wonderful addition to our local tourism product and enhances one of our greatest resources – our stunning natural landscape and our abundant waterways.

“Every 1,000 tourists that visit Cavan help support 14 jobs. The tourism and hospitality sector employs some 3,200 people in Co Cavan and projects such as this will contribute greatly to the recovery and future growth of the sector in the coming months and years”.

In addition to today’s opening, Cavan County Council’s Paddy Connaughton noted that work has recently completed on a second recreational trail along this route: a 6km trail from Belturbet to Corraquil, which was also funded through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme to the value of €500,000.

For more information on the Shannon-Erne Blueway, visit bluewaysireland.org. For more on things to do and places to stay in Co Cavan, visit thisiscavan.ie.

Published in Inland Waterways

New research from Waterways Ireland has found that more than 640,000 trips have been taken on the Royal Canal Greenway since it opened in March 2021.

The €12m, 130km amenity crosses Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford and is a joint initiative between Waterways Ireland and the local authorities in those areas.

It is the longest greenway in Ireland, running from Maynooth in Co Kildare to Clondra in Co Longford along a former towpath for barges on the inland waterway.

The greenway features 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts along its route. High-profile attractions include Carton House in Maynooth, Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre — one of the largest prehistoric roads in Europe — and Center Parcs in Longford. The 165km self-guided National Famine Way also travels largely along the greenway.

The Royal Canal Greenway also forms part of EuroVelo 2, a 5,000km “Capitals Route” that passes through Ireland, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus and Russia.

Visitors can choose to complete the entire 130km flat, off-road trail in one go, or explore the shorter designated routes between the 14 connecting access points and towns, which range from 6km to 15km.

Waterways Ireland appointed Tracsis in 2021 to undertake a validation exercise on the data from physical counters in place along the Greenway and to undertake a consumer survey.

The research found that the amenity has returned a dividend of €17.2m to the business community in its first year of operation, returning the investment in the project in eight months. The economic dividend was based on a weighted average visitor spend of €27.

The research also found that across the four counties involved, 17 new businesses have opened and 13 confirmed that they have pivoted or expanded to provide for greenway customers.

Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh said: “We are delighted that the Royal Canal Greenway has been an outstanding success in its first year.

“We acknowledge the commitment of our partners in Longford, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath county councils in delivering this greenway and that of local communities and businesses, which have helped to make it a success by creating new tourist and recreational opportunities.

“We look forward to welcoming more domestic and international visitors in the coming years.”

Acting chief executive of Kildare County Council, Sonya Kavanagh noted: “In the first half of 2021, people’s movements were restricted by COVID measures and so it was very fortuitous that we were able to open the Royal Canal Greenway during this time.

“Local communities now use the greenway for regular off-road accessible recreation, and it continues to attract new and return visitors.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises masters of vessels that safe practices should be exercised when connecting to power bollards in harbours along Ireland’s inland waterways.

The overloading of bollards will cause the circuit breaker to trip, resulting in a loss of power to the bollard — and in a worst-case scenario, it may cause an electrical fire.

Electrical sockets, cables and connections should be designed for outdoor use. Indoor electrical sockets and connections are not suitable for use on jetties.

Any malfunctions with the electrical system should be reported to Waterways Ireland. No person should open the power bollards or main switchboards, nor tamper with the electrical system in general.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

New lock opening hours have been introduced on the Shannon Navigation as the 2022 boating season gets under way.

The new times have been agreed and implemented following a lock-keeping review process. The primary objectives of this review were to:

  • improve the work/life balance of the lock/bridge keepers;
  • help future-proof lock keeping on the Shannon Navigation;
  • increase operational efficiency within the region; and
  • continue to provide a high level of service to vessels travelling on the navigation.

As of last Monday 14 March, locks on the Shannon Navigation will be open from 9.30am to 6.30pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and 9.30am to 6pm on Sundays. From next Friday 1 April to the end September, weekday and Saturday hours extend by an hour to 7.30pm.

In October, weekday and Saturday hours will be 9.30am to 6.30pm. And for the winter season from 1 November this year to 13 March 2023, hours will be reduced to 9am to noon on weekdays and Saturdays, and 9am to 11am on Sundays.

Opening times for Portumna Bridge have also changed. Until and including next Thursday 31 March, the bridge will open six times on weekdays and Saturdays (10am, 11am, 12.40pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm) and five times on Sundays (10am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 4pm, 5pm).

From Friday 1 April to the end of September, there will be an additional opening at 6pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and 11am on Sundays.

And over the winter season from 1 November, there will be only three openings on weekdays and Saturdays (9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am) and two on Sundays (9.30am, 10.30am).

As the boating season commences, Waterways Ireland reminds masters of vessels and waterways users that COVID-19 continues to be present within the population, and urges continued vigilance and appropriate precautions to prevent its spread while using the inland waterways.

In this context, Waterways Ireland says toll-free passage will continue for the 2022 boating season on the Shannon Navigation.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises all masters of vessels and water users on the Shannon Navigation that essential repair works will be carried out to the floating moorings in Carrick-on-Shannon from this coming Wednesday 23 March. There will be restricted access to the jetties while these repair works are ongoing.

Published in Inland Waterways
Page 6 of 48

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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