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Displaying items by tag: Wicklow

 Operations Manager at Wicklow lifeboat Station since 2004, has retired after 27 years volunteering with the RNLI.

Des joined the RNLI Wicklow committee in 1993, becoming vice chairman in 1995 and taking charge of all fundraising for the branch with support from the Ladies Guild.

Des was chairman of the appeal committee who raised funds for the provision of a new inshore lifeboat and an extension to the boathouse to house the new lifeboat in 1996.

The appeal was so successful that the target figure was reached with 6 months still to run. In all £64,000 was raised by Des and the Committee, which covered the cost of the D Class lifeboat Inbhear Deas and the extension to the boat house.

In 2001, he was awarded the bronze badge for his services to fundraising. Three years later, he took over the new position of lifeboat operations manager – formerly honorary secretary – from the retiring Kevin Desmond. Fundraising then became separate from Operations.

In 2016 Des was awarded inscribed binoculars in recognition of his long service to the RNLI. As lifeboat operations manager, Des was responsible for all operational activities at the station and over the years has seen the arrival of a ‘state of the art’ Shannon Class lifeboat and the retirement of the last Tyne class boat in the RNLI Fleet. Over the last year Des has ensured Wicklow Lifeboat Station remained operational at all times during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Wicklow RNLI Press Officer, Tommy Dover said: ‘We would like to thank Des for his commitment to Wicklow Lifeboat Station over the past 27 years and we wish him all the best on his retirement. Unfortunately, due to the present Covid-19 restrictions we were unable to give Des a proper send off, but the crew hope to meet up for a farewell pint with him in the not too distant post Covid future.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat had a midweek launch to assist two sailors on a 14-metre yacht with engine failure off the Wicklow coast.

The Shannon class lifeboat set off shortly after 1pm on Wednesday 9 September and located the yacht 20 minutes later, six miles north of Wicklow Harbour.

Conditions on scene had a moderate sea state with northwesterly Force 4 winds.

A towline was quickly established and the yacht was towed back towards Wicklow harbour, where the two sailors were landed safely ashore at 2.30pm.

The crew on the callout were coxswain Ciaran Doyle, mechanic Brendan Copeland, David O’Leary, Carol Flahive, Ian Heffernan and Andrew Carlin.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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It was a long night at sea for Arklow RNLI on Tuesday evening (4 August) as its volunteers launched to assist three people on a yacht in difficulty in the Irish Sea some 25 miles off the Co Wicklow town.

The yacht was intercepted just north of the Arklow Bank amid swells of up to five metres, and its crew were suffering from fatigue and sea sickness.

Worsening conditions meant the yacht was not able to make headway either by sail or its own engine tower, so it was taken under tow by the lifeboat to Wicklow Harbour as the safest and shortest option — eventually arriving at 1.15am, more than six hours after launch.

Lifeboat coxswain Brendan Dillon commented: “Given the prevailing conditions at sea, this could have ended very differently.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow all-weather RNLI lifeboat launched shortly after 12:45 pm today (Saturday 1 August) following a Coast Guard launch request, to assist a 14-metre ketch with four people onboard near Greystones.

The drifting yacht was located 30 minutes later by Coxswain Doyle and the volunteer crew three miles south of Greystones harbour.

The engine had failed and there was not enough wind to use the sails to get to shore, so the skipper contacted the Coast Guard for assistance. Conditions on scene were calm with good visibility.

A towline was quickly established, and the yacht was towed into Greystones Marina, where the three adults and a child were landed safely ashore.

The crew on the call out were (2nd) Coxswain Ciaran Doyle, Mechanic Brendan Copeland, Carol Flahive, Paul Sillery, Mark Kavanagh and Peter Byrne

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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A 20ft sailing yacht with two people onboard was brought to safety by Wicklow RNLI this afternoon (Sunday 12 July).

The inshore lifeboat launched at 11:45 am with Graham Fitzgerald (helm) and crew Alan Goucher and John Stapleton to reports of a small yacht in difficulty.

The yacht was located four minutes later one mile east of Wicklow harbour, weather conditions at the time were described as sea state slight with force three southerly wind.

Volunteer crew member Alan Goucher was transferred onto the yacht to assist the two sailors after they experienced problems with the mast and their outboard engine failed.

A towline was established and the yacht with two sailors was brought safely alongside the East pier at Wicklow harbour at 12:15 pm.

Second Yacht in Difficulty off Wicklow

This was the second callout for Wicklow RNLI volunteers over the weekend. On Saturday evening Wicklow all-weather lifeboat launched shortly after 7 pm under the command of Coxswain Nick Keogh, to join Arklow lifeboat and the Dublin based Coast Guard helicopter ‘Rescue 116’ in a search for a yacht in difficulties.

The initial reports suggested the yacht's position was nine miles south between Wicklow head and the Arklow wind farm.

Wicklow lifeboat was stood down by the Coast Guard and returned to station at 7:45 pm after the stricken yacht was located by Rescue 116 near Courtown and assisted by Arklow lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Skerries RNLI volunteers towed a jet ski with a man and woman on board to safety after they broke down near Barnageeragh beach in North Co Dublin.

Shortly after 5pm yesterday evening (Friday 26 June), the volunteers launched the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat following a 999 call to Dublin Coast Guard from a jet ski that had broken down.

They located the casualty in shallow water near a large rocky outcrop between Barnageerah and Balbriggan.

The man and woman were taken on board the lifeboat while the jet ski was taken under tow, and they were returned safely to the slipway at the lifeboat station in Skerries.

Speaking about the callout, volunteer lifeboat press officer Gerry Canning said: “You never know when something is going to go wrong, so we’d like to remind anyone going to sea to carry a means of contacting the shore to call for help.”

Elsewhere, Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety on Thursday afternoon (25 June) after their 12-metre vessel developed mechanical problems off the Wicklow coast.

The alarm was raised after the vessel which was fishing for whelk broke down and lost all propulsion.

Crew on the all-weather lifeboat Jock & Annie Slater located the stricken vessel about nine miles north of Wicklow Harbour, and towed it back to the harbour where it was brought safely alongside the South Quay.

Published in Jetski

Portrush RNLI’s lifeboats aided in the rescue of a young man who fell 30 feet onto rocks on the north coast last night (Wednesday 10 June).

Both the inshore and all-weather lifeboats were launched as a precaution due to the nature of the incident, after reports that the man had fallen at Port-Na-Happle just off the Convent Walk, a popular scenic coastal path in Portstewart.

Volunteer lifeboat crew member Dr Colm Watters, who is a consultant at Causeway Hospital’s emergency department, was transferred ashore to assist the local coastguard with the treatment of the casualty before he was passed into the care of the NI Ambulance Service.

Lifeboat operations manager Keith Gilmore said later: “We had the opportunity to do some training with our coastguard colleagues last year and this has paid off in terms of our joint working procedures.

“We are fortunate to have a volunteer with Colm’s expertise on crew and this was invaluable in this incident. We wish the casualty well and hope he has a speedy recovery.”

Earlier in the day, Wicklow RNLI brought three fishermen to safety at lunchtime after their 12-metre vessel got into difficulties off the Wicklow coast.

The alarm was raised earlier in the morning after the fishing boat’s propeller got fouled in ropes near the Codling Buoy.

Crew of the all-weather lifeboat Jock & Annie Slater located the drifting fishing vessel 14 miles east of Wicklow Harbour and quickly established a tow. The boat was safely tied alongside the South Quay at 12:30pm.

Wicklow RNLI brought four fishermen to safety yesterday evening (Monday 27 April) after their vessel got into difficulties off the Wicklow coast.

The all-weather lifeboat Jock and Annie Slater put to sea shortly before 7pm under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew, following a launch request from the Irish Coast Guard.

The alarm was raised after the skipper of the fishing vessel made contact by VHF radio to report that a rope was fouled in the vessel’s propeller and they had lost all propulsion.

The lifeboat crew located the drifting fishing vessel 30 minutes after launch, nine miles north-east of Wicklow harbour. Conditions on scene were calm, with light wind and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established, and a course was set for Wicklow Harbour where the fishing vessel with its four crew was brought safely alongside the South Quay as darkness fell shortly before 9.30pm.

The lifeboat crew on the callout were coxswain Nick Keogh, mechanic Brendan Copeland, Tom MacAulay, Carol Flahive, Connie O’Gara and Matt Doyle.

Published in Fishing
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Wicklow RNLI held its annual Service of Remembrance on New Year’s Day (Wednesday 1 January) in memory of all deceased lifeboat volunteer members, sailors from the town and all those associated with the sea from Wicklow.

The ceremony began with a short religious prayer conducted by Fr Donal Roche and Rev Jack Kinkead, who blessed the flowers and wreaths.

After the blessing, coxswain Nick Keogh and the lifeboat crew took the floral tributes out into the bay and placed them on the water.

A minute’s silence was also held in memory of all the former members of Wicklow lifeboat who have risked everything to save the lives of others ever since the RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1857.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Wicklow RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat put to sea at 1.20pm on Saturday afternoon (16 November) after being tasked to assist a whelk fishing vessel in difficulties.

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Nick Keogh and a volunteer crew, was alongside the drifting vessel half an hour later, some 10 miles south east of Wicklow harbour.

A rope had been fouled in the vessel’s propeller while whelk fishing and it had lost all propulsion.

Weather conditions on scene had a moderate sea state, with winds north-westerly Force 4 and good visibility.

A towline was quickly established and the fishing vessel was towed into Wicklow Harbour, where the three fishermen were landed safely ashore and the boat was secured alongside the south quay at 4.30pm.

The crew on the callout alongside Keogh were mechanic Brendan Copeland, David O’Leary, Lisa O’Leary and John Stapleton.

Published in Fishing
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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.

©Afloat 2020

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