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World tourism bosses and cruise line operators will be headed to Galway next month for high-powered talks aimed at transforming the city into a global destination port.
The Connacht Sentinel reports that execuives from Fáilte Ireland, the Galway Harbour Company and Galway Chamber of Commerce will meet a delegation that will include Jamaica's head of tourism and some of the world's largest cruise line operators.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed €200 million redevelopment of Galway Harbour - which will increase berthing space to accommodate cruise ships - has received approval to submit a planning application to An Bord Pleanála.
Galway West Deputy Brian Walsh, who helped push forward the development plan and will also meet the delegation at the end of September, said that the Galway Harbour Company has set a target of 50 cruise ships a year - which could bring in an extra €40 million annually to the local economy.
The Connacht Sentinel has more on the story HERE.

World tourism bosses and cruise line operators will be headed to Galway next month for high-powered talks aimed at transforming the city into a global destination port.

The Connacht Sentinel reports that execuives from Fáilte Ireland, the Galway Harbour Company and Galway Chamber of Commerce will meet a delegation that will include Jamaica's head of tourism and some of the world's largest cruise line operators to discuss attracting business to the redeveloped port.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the proposed €200 million redevelopment of Galway Harbour - which will increase berthing space to accommodate cruise ships - has received approval to submit a planning application to An Bord Pleanála.

Galway West Deputy Brian Walsh, who helped push forward the development plan and will also meet the delegation at the end of September, said that the Galway Harbour Company has set a target of 50 cruise ships a year - which could bring in an extra €40 million annually to the local economy.

The Connacht Sentinel has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour
Two recent letters in The Irish Times serve as a "reminder of the high value of sailing to the social and economic health of Ireland".
Enda O Coineen - who helped bring the Volvo Ocean Race to Ireland - writes on Saturday last of the "shame" of becoming "quayside bystanders" that many felt welcoming the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl to Dublin when Ireland's youth ocean sail training scheme is being ended due to a 100% budget cut.
Echoing his sentiments, Peter Vine asks: "Is it not time to acknowledge that this maritime nation can benefit enormously by nurturing sailing and a love of the sea among our young people?"
Vine argues that efforts towards a "new viable Tallship for Ireland deserve individual, corporate and Government support". Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Two recent letters in The Irish Times serve as a "reminder of the high value of sailing to the social and economic health of Ireland".

Enda O Coineen - who helped bring the Volvo Ocean Race to Ireland - writes on Saturday last of the "shame" of becoming "quayside bystanders" that many felt welcoming the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl to Dublin when Ireland's youth ocean sail training scheme is being ended due to a 100% budget cut.

Echoing his sentiments, Peter Vine asks: "Is it not time to acknowledge that this maritime nation can benefit enormously by nurturing sailing and a love of the sea among our young people?"

Vine argues that efforts towards a "new viable Tallship for Ireland deserve individual, corporate and Government support". Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Published in Tall Ships
This weekend's Tall Ships Races in Waterford could bring in up to €35 million to the local economy, according to Fáilte Ireland.
Gerry Breen of Fáilte Ireland also told The Irish Times that the event would complement the new Viking Triangle development in the city, which is hoped to be a major tourist attraction.
Des Whelan, chairman of the Waterford Tall Ships Race 2011, said the official website had registered nearly 200,000 hits, and hotels in the city are almost completely booked out.
Opening the weekend's festivties this evening are a fashion show on board the Russian sailing ship Mir, and a special concert by Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry.
The first of three impressive fireworks displays will also light up Waterford's skies at 10.30pm tonight.

This weekend's Tall Ships Races in Waterford could bring in up to €35 million to the local economy, according to Fáilte Ireland.

Gerry Breen of Fáilte Ireland also told The Irish Times that the event would complement the new Viking Triangle development in the city, which is hoped to be a major tourist attraction.

Des Whelan, chairman of the Waterford Tall Ships Race 2011, said the official website had registered nearly 200,000 hits, and hotels in the city are almost completely booked out.

Opening the weekend's festivties this evening are a fashion show on board the Russian sailing ship Mir, and a special concert by Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry.

The first of three impressive fireworks displays will also light up Waterford's skies at 10.30pm tonight.

Published in Tall Ships
BoatTest.com has posted a guide to getting the best long-term value from your next boat purchase.
With boat buyers increasingly seeing their purchases as personal assets and investments for the future in this tough economic climate, making the right choice is more important than ever.
'Long-term value' is the key phrase. It's not just about price, but fitting the needs of the owner, and depreciating less than the average boat in the class - even after many years of enjoyment.
The site reminds boat buyers to remember the difference between 'type' and 'class' when comparing models, and its ten-point guide breaks down everything you need to know when choosing a boat for enduring value.
Read the BoatTest.com guide to long-term value in boat buying HERE.

BoatTest.com has posted a guide to getting the best long-term value from your next boat purchase.

With boat buyers increasingly seeing their purchases as personal assets and investments for the future in this tough economic climate, making the right choice is more important than ever.

'Long-term value' is the key phrase. It's not just about price, but fitting the needs of the owner, and depreciating less than the average boat in the class - even after many years of enjoyment.

The site reminds boat buyers to remember the difference between 'type' and 'class' when comparing models, and its ten-point guide breaks down everything you need to know when choosing a boat for enduring value.

Read the BoatTest.com guide to long-term value in boat buying HERE.

Published in News Update

Ireland has the largest maritime area-to-land mass in the European Union, but derives only 1% of GDP from the maritime sector. At a time when the economy needs every benefit it can get this figure is startling, particularly when compared to countries with other extensive coastlines, such as Norway where the figure is 20%, Denmark where it is 11% and even the UK which has increased its figure to 5%.

Despite being an island nation with a strong dependency on the sea, the Irish maritime economy is still in its infancy, both in terms of investment and of recognition.

Once again the importance of the sea was shown in the pre-Christmas weather problems. When air transport again failed the public, the ferries continued to operate. When road transport needed salt for gritting to keep roads open, it was ships which brought the salt to Ireland.

How many times do I have to challenge the ignorance and stupidity of the State, of Government, towards the sea? How many times do I have to remind the public of how dependent we are on the sea as an island nation?

Though still considered a low priority by Government, the maritime sector is worth €3 billion to the nation and supports 440,000 direct and indirect jobs. According to the Marine Institute in the "SeaChange Programme," this could be increased by at least 50%.

In Cork the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre which is part of UCC's Environmental Research Institute and has been working out of the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island has changed its name and is planning to move to a new maritime research facility. It has become the "Coastal and Marine Research Centre".

For over ten years the CMRC has been promoting the use of integrated coastal zone management as a means of achieving sustainable development in the use of coastal and marine resources, including marine ecology, seabed mapping, coastal processes, remote sensing, geology and geomatics.

A new maritime research facility is planned at Ringaskiddy, adjacent to the National Maritime College, part of the announced intention to establish a Maritime and Energy Research Campus and Commercial Cluster. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Bord Gais and the UCC Glucksman Foundation contributed funding, together with €7.5m. from the Higher Education Authority. As part of the National Ocean Energy Strategy, it will "bring together on one site the people, their ideas and the infrastructure to support the development of ocean energy," according to MERC Chairman, Peter Coyle. "Our aim is to produce innovative technical solutions to support the development of the Irish maritime sector."

This will include ocean energy opportunities, such as wave power where Irish companies have been leading the way. Shipping, logistics and maritime transport, marine recreation, maritime security research and maritime space applications are amongst other aspects of research work to be undertaken in Ringaskiddy.

Valerie Cummins, who led the Coastal Marine Resources Centre over past years has been appointed Director of MERC and is being replaced as Director at the newly re-named Coastal and Marine Research Centre by Jeremy Gault.

This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
Page 2 of 2

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

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

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Afloat 2020

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