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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: photos

#MarineWildlife - RTÉ News has posted some of Nigel Beers-Smith's wonderful photographs documenting Ireland's first native white-tailed eagles for over 100 years, one of which was found dead recently in shocking circumstances.

As The Irish Times reports, the male white-tailed or sea eagle was last seen on the eastern shore of Lough Derg in January before it was found dead from gunshot wounds in a remote part of Co Tipperary following a tip-off from the public.

The eagle was one of two reared by the nesting pair spotted on Bushy Island in Lough Derg nearly two years ago - marking the first time in over a century that white-tailed eagles had fledged in Ireland.

Minister for Arts, Hertiage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said he was "shocked" by the crime, which is a "significant blow" to the sea eagle reintroduction programme started in 2007.

“It is absolutely incomprehensible that someone would shoot one of these magnificent birds but even more shocking is that one of the first two Irish-bred eagles has been shot only seven months after leaving the nest," added reintroduction project manager Dr Allan Mee.

The project has already suffered from poisoning incidents, such as last year's discovery of two dead white-tailed eagles in Kerry and West Cork - both the result of consuming suspected tainted carrion.

The Irish Times has much more on the store HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#SURFING - Irish surf classifieds website Surfseekers.ie has compiled some stunning images from March's world-class surfing conditions.

From the biggest rollers in years off Mullaghmore Head in Co Sligo to the Cliffs of Moher and even as far south as Kerry, Ireland has seen some of its best surf in a long time - and things are certainly looking up for an exciting summer on the waves.

Published in Surfing

#KITESURFING - Photographer Luis Faustino has captured some stunning shots of Dublin kitesurfer Rob Clarke in action off Dollymount Strand.

"Dublin is quite windy, especially near the sea, in the bay," writes Faustino. "It's natural to see kitesurfers in many places and one of my favorite spots is Bull Island."

Find more of Luis Faustino's Dublin Bay kitesurfing photos HERE.

Published in Kitesurfing
The Irish Independent reports that some 100 bottlenose dolphins have made a new home off the Donegal coast in the past week.
The pod of bottlenoses - a rare treat in Irish waters compared to the near ubiquitous common dolphin - has been spoted by boaters and wildlife enthusiasts in the inner Donegal Bay, between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head.
Patrick Lane of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the bottlenose often swims closer to the shore than its more common counterparts, making it much easier for people on shore to catch a glimpse.
The Irish Independent has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

The Irish Independent reports that some 100 bottlenose dolphins have made a new home off the Donegal coast in the past week.

The pod of bottlenoses - a rare treat in Irish waters compared to the near ubiquitous common dolphin - has been spoted by boaters and wildlife enthusiasts in the inner Donegal Bay, between Rossnowlagh Beach and Doorin Head.

Patrick Lane of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the bottlenose often swims closer to the shore than its more common counterparts, making it much easier for people on shore to catch a glimpse.

The Irish Independent has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Arriving at the Royal Cork Yacht Club yesterday for the final day of the O'Flynn Exhams Autumn League there wasn't a puff of wind to be felt writes Claire Bateman. The Club Burgee hung limply and the general consensus of competitors on the marina was that there wouldn't be any wind. However, lo and behold as the boats went out into the harbour wind was blowing from the south and spirits (not the Halloween Spooks) lifted immediately. PHOTO GALLERY HERE.

Race Officer David O'Brien in Admiral Paddy McGlade's Sabrone anchored off Whitegate and set a course a course for the Red Fleet out to the mouth of the harbour starting Class Two first and this was great as they were followed by the 1720s and in turn by the higher rated boats of Classes Zero and 1. This made for a great intermingling of the fleets in the harbour. Starting just after the top of the tide and with a southerly breeze this was a help to the boats on the beat as they tacked to and frow some favouring the western shore but the majority favouring the eastern shore. Conditions got a bit lumpy with the wind over tide and steeped up by a ground swell. There were a couple of showers but considering the summer like conditions that had been enjoyed for the series nobody was going to bother about this. After each shower cleared there was the most amazing light on the fleets and rainbows added more punch to the colour of the spinnakers.

In race 2 there was an incident on the line in Class 1 when there was a coming together of Mary O'Keeffe's Tux and Wan and Eric Waterman's Saxon Senator resulting in Senator's retiral. Also in the Red Fleet there were six boats disqualified for sailing the wrong way through the finish line – perhaps more reading of the Sailing Instructions required!!

Race Officer Richard Leonard in Pascal Healy's Capta Ventum anchored off Cuskinny to sail the Green Fleet on the laid courses. Richard, perfectionist that he is, complained bitterly that the wind had shifted some 20 degrees after the start and when sailing multi fleets particularly on a short course it would be extremely difficult to shift the marks. Nevertheless he got in two good races.

In Class 3 there was very keen competition between Ian Travers in Bandit and the Kenefick O'Brien favourite Tiger and they shared a first and second each on the day. However, Tiger triumphed overall by a winning margin of 2 points after 10 races. Newcomer to racing Fergus Coughlan in Whyte Knight had two wins on the day in Class 3 ECHO ensuring his overall andpopular win in this class.

IN Class 4 ECHO Michael Murphy in Shelly D created his own bit of sailing history when sailed his boat to victory in this class. He had sailed Shelly D in the October League for 31 consecutive years and received a a tremendous ovation for his efforts. However, in Class 4 IRC there was no stopping Alan Mulcahy in Sundancer from taking the overall prize with 7 wins and 2 seconds.

In White Sail 1 IRC Tom and Conor McNeice in Minx 111 had two thirds yesterday and this was enough to give them the overall win in the class. The Carroll Bros. In Chancer had two wins yesterday but ended up seond overall.

In White Sail 2 IRC Clive Doherty's Phaeton made a late challenge winning both races and this was enough for overall victory over Roy Hanan's Plumbat.

The prizegiving took place in a packed dining room after a very enjoyable meal. The prizes were magnificent, and were presented by Richard Neville, Managing Partner from the excellent sponsor O'Flynn Exhams Solicitors, aided by Admiral Paddy McGlade and Regatta Director, Rear Admiral Ronan Enright. Irene O'Donovan also a partner from the sponsor company, was present with her husband Pascal Healy who had provided the committee boat for the laid course and who were both on board for the series.

A most successful series was enjoyed by all and sundry and not forgotten in the acknowledgements were the club volunteers who had given freely of their time and effort to make the event the memorable Autumn League that it was.

Published in Royal Cork YC

After the publication of the MCIB investigation report into the sinking of Asgard II the dive team lead by Eoin McGarry have released further photos of the wreck, showing different aspects of the boat including new shots of the hole in the hull. 

asgardholediver

The "hole" in Asgard's Hull as it looked in July 2010 on the starboard bow, the long plank that was in the MCIB report pictures has fallen down and can no longer be seen. The view of the hole is harder to get now as the hull is listed to starboard and the seabed is silting up on the starboard bow and scouring on the port aft quarter and stern

pump

The salvage pump used. It is located midships on the starboard side

books

A selection of nautical reading material still remarkably intact. The photo of the bookshelf is taken in the absence of the roof/deck of the navigation room. This is directly forward of the helm, the door out of the navigation room was just to the left of the books as you look at them

Click this link for all Afloat's coverage of Asgard II's sinking, and the plans to raise, dive and replace her

Raise the Asgard - Afloat's 2008 online petition

Published in Asgard II

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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