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Displaying items by tag: renewable energy

An Irish renewable energy consortium that has built the world’s strongest tidal blade has teamed up with an Alaskan community to provide 100 per cent of its electricity needs from its local river.

As Times.ie reports today, technologists based at ÉireComposites in Indreabhán, Connemara are working with US-Irish partners Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) to build the second of two river energy systems for the residents of Igiugig in Alaska.

A single river generator system comprising two turbines is already providing some 50 per cent of the village’s electricity needs.

The Igiugig community of about 70 people is located about 200 miles south-west of Anchorage.

ORPC Director of European Operations James Donegan credited the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for funding the design of the “RivGen” turbines.

The system was installed with support from the US Department of Energy and the European Commission.

“Working with the Igiugig village council was ideal, as this community currently pays about ten times the normal cost of electricity,” Donegan explained.

The system has been so successful that a second is under construction, and this will ensure the village has 100 per cent of its electricity needs, he said.

The “RivGen” turbine system also holds the record for the longest operating current energy converter in the US, according to ÉireComposites chief executive officer Tomás Flanagan.

His staff visited Alaska for the first turbine deployment several years ago, and are now working on the second system for the community.

ÉireComposites has also built the world’s strongest tidal blade, which has been tested in the large structures testing laboratory in the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway.(NUIG)

Prof James Goggins of NUIG said that a static load equivalent to over 100 tonnes or the weight of ten double-decker buses was applied to the tidal turbine blade.

This was the highest load to be reported ever in the world, Goggins explained.

Read more on Times.ie here

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Seven offshore renewable energy projects have been designated as ‘Relevant Projects’ by the Ministers for Urban Development and Climate Action and approved for transition to the upcoming new marine planing regime.

These are offshore wind projects that either applied for or were granted a lease under the Foreshore Act 1933, or offshore wind projects that are eligible to be processed to receive a valid grid connection offer.

The seven projects that have been approved include two by Innogy Renewables, at Bray and Kish Banks; two comprising the Codling Wind Park off Co Wicklow; Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta’s Skerd Rocks scheme off Connemara; and the North Irish Sea Array and Oriel Wind Farm, both off Co Louth.

The approval aims to further the objectives of the Climate Action Plan, which commits to increasing our offshore wind capacity to 3.5GW as part of our overall ambition to reach 70% renewable energy by 2030.​

Urban Development Minister Damien English said: “I am pleased to announce a way forward for these offshore renewable energy projects which will now be determined under the planning regime to be introduced in the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, 2020.

“Under this new marine planning regime, these projects will apply for final development consent to An Board Pleanála which will provide further opportunities for public consultation on the individual projects.”

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton added: “This now sets out a clear development path for these offshore wind projects which will play a key role in decarbonising our electricity system.

“This is a clear example of the Government’s determination to deliver on our climate and renewable energy ambitions to deliver 70% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.”

The announcement means that these projects can continue to work and update a number of aspects to put them in a position to apply under the new marine planning regime, once enacted, which will be introduced by the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill 2020.

Published in Power From the Sea

The Aran Islands were this week among six offshore communities across the European Union to publish their plans to transition to clean energy, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Teo (CFOAT) helped develop the transition plan that was published in tandem with the Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum held in Croatia from 20-22 November.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the local energy co-operative has set an ambitious target for the islands to be self-sustainable for energy generated from the waves, wind and sun by 2022.

CFOAT manager Avril Ní Shearcaigh said the plan “acts as a road map for the islands as we pursue our goal of carbon neutrality by 2022, and reflects the enthusiasm and drive of our community to be more sustainable and self-sufficient”.

That drive to become “energy independent” took on a new urgency in 2016 when Isis Meáin and Inis Oírr lost their connection to the national grid for several weeks.

Emergency generators were shipped in after almost 400 residents were left without power for four days by the undersea cable fault.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

Seán Canney, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, has confirmed the policy principles that will underpin the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton’s announcement to cease new exploration for oil offshore Ireland.

This announcement, in an address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit on 23 September, came on foot of advice received from the Climate Change Advisory Council on what the future of oil and natural gas offshore exploration should be in the context of the recently published Climate Action Plan.

The council noted that the plan envisages a major shift away from oil combustion within heat and transport sectors towards renewables in the coming decade. Therefore, the council advised that the exploration for, and recovery of new offshore oil reserves, is not compatible with a low carbon transition.

The council further advised that the continued exploration for and extraction of new offshore natural gas reserves can be consistent with a low-carbon transition.

Gas is considered to be a transition fuel. This is particularly the case for Ireland, the Government says, where we do not have nuclear power, hydro power at scale or geo-thermal power, which other countries can use to provide back-up for wind and solar power.

The Government asserts that natural gas, as the lowest emitting fossil fuel, will provide the best electricity back up in 2030 when Ireland reaches 70% renewable electricity.

The minister will commission an Energy Sustainability and Security Review which will consider the role of fossil fuels during the transition. It will also consider the role that other technologies can play.

Minister Canney confirmed yesterday (Wednesday 30 October) the following principles in relation to petroleum exploration in the Irish Offshore:

  1. All future licencing rounds in the currently closed area offshore (Atlantic Margin, 80%) will be for natural gas only and not oil.
  2. All new licence applications in the currently open area (Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, coastal areas, 20%) will be for natural gas only and not oil, applicable from the day of the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton’s announcement on 23 September.
  3. All applications and authorisations in place before the announcement was made will not be affected by the decision.

The minister has asked the department to prepare a policy statement which will set out:

  • The basis for the underpinning principles in the broader context of the Government’s Climate Action Plan;
  • The future development management framework for the exploration and production of gas, as a transition fuel, in Ireland’s offshore; and,
  • The role of natural gas in ensuring Ireland’s energy security.

“These principles underpin the Government’s decision for no new oil exploration offshore Ireland. They provide further clarity on the implementation of this decision and are consistent with the Climate Action Plan published by Government on 17 June 2019,” Minister Canney said.

“The Climate Action Plan puts Ireland on a trajectory to meet our 2030 target for carbon emissions, which is consistent with achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Minister Bruton added: “Over the next decade, we will rapidly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as we move to 70% renewables.

“The Government sought advice from the Climate Advisory Council on exploration in the context of this transition and has accepted that advice to ban new oil exploration off Irish coastal waters. Today we agreed the terms of that ban.”

Published in Coastal Notes

Island life, in all its challenges, also harbours opportunity for the transition to renewable energy — and the people of the Aran Islands are putting that into practice.

Juliette Gash reports for RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland from the Galway Bay island group, where the local energy co-operative set an ambitious target to be self-sustainable for energy generated from the wind, waves and sun by 2022.

While they may not hit 100% by that date, they have made progress that outs the rest of Ireland to shame.

But that should be no surprise when Ireland’s island communities have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to green energy — particularly Cape Clear in West Cork, which until 1993 had the world’s first integrated wind energy system.

Listen to the full RTÉ Morning Ireland report below:

Published in Island News

Seven renewable energy projects are benefitting from a significant funding injection following investment by the Marine Institute’s industry-led awards, as reported last month on Afloat.ie.

With the aim of driving innovation in the marine sector and accelerating renewable energy breakthroughs, funding of up to €200,000 was awarded to each of the research projects to be conducted by indigenous companies, with some including university partners.

Speaking at the funding announcement, Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said: “The diversity of renewable energy projects benefiting from this funding demonstrates the innovation and expertise that we are developing in Ireland in this sector.

“From research on the impact of floating platform technology to subsea micro-piling to hybrid solar and wind energy devices, the commercial opportunities of these projects are very exciting. We are committed to supporting marine enterprises in Ireland to drive Ireland's blue economy.”

Gavin & Doherty GeoSolutions is being awarded €199,957 over two years for their research project in partnership with University College Cork that will involve a geological, geotechnical, sediment and morphodynamic assessment of designated areas of the Irish seabed.

Predictive sediment transport modelling, validated against field data, will be used to characterise future seabed changes and to quantify the risk for future potential offshore wind developments in the Irish sea.

The outcomes of the project will support developers in efficient design, installation and maintenance planning of offshore renewable assets and will reduce the risk associated with future wind farm developments in the Irish Sea.

Two projects in the area of floating energy platforms were also successful in their research funding applications.

Solar Marine Energy will receive €195,465 over two years, in partnership with UCC, to progress how solar energy can be harnessed on a floating platform to power an electrolysis unit to produce Hydrogen in an electro-fuel form while using battery storage for the release of power as and when required.

Solar Marine Energy Ltd (SME) is one of the first companies to design, engineer and manufacture cost-competitive floating solar energy products in its Floating Solar Panels, in accordance with maritime industry best practice.

To make floating wind a commercial reality, further technology innovation is necessary. The Eureka-Sea Wind project proposed by Marine Materials Ireland Ltd (MMI) will also receive €199,816 over two years to develop reliable and efficient floating wind turbine technology based on a novel concept that reduces cost and weight.

Based in Ireland and the USA, Resolute Marine Ltd has developed a successful Oscillating Wave Surge Converter (OWSC) flap system.

Now with a funding boost of €199,955, Resolute Marine will bring the OWSC from concept to robust design that is optimised for locations in the developing countries and islands targeted for commercial installations of RML’s innovative wave-powered desalination systems.

This project is set to advance the Irish wave energy industry and provide jobs for three additional highly trained experts in the fields of hydrodynamics, ocean engineering and project management.

Subsea Micropiles is being awarded €199,902 for research on the design and temporary installation of two demonstration micropile anchors.

The anchor frames will represent structures that would support the foundations of offshore wind turbines or hydrokinetic energy converters. The two anchors will be load tested both horizontally and vertically and the results compared with design predictions.

This type of micropiling technology for subsea environment provides a real and cost-effective alternative to current subsea micropiling models.

Use of robotically installed micropiles in the subsea environment represents important innovation and potential cost saving for marine renewable energy projects.

Fish farmers are actively searching for renewable energy sources to replace the diesel consumption, which causes concerns in relation to emissions and increases risk of oil spills when transporting diesel to the feed aquaculture barges.

Wind and solar generation on fish farm cages currently do not meet the power needs and can be fundamentally challenging and particularly high maintenance, when mounted so close to the ocean itself.

Wave energy, especially when coupled with the existing mooring system, is seen as a very appealing solution.

Exceedence and TfI Marine secured €199,532 in funding to research and develop a revolutionary 1kW Inline Gator system. The Inline Gator will harness the natural power of the waves by converting the motion of the fish cage into electricity thereby mitigating the need for fossil fuels.

W1DA Experience Ltd is also being awarded €198,763 in funding for the Marine EcoPowa Project in partnership with the University of Southampton and UCC.

The project aims to create a new generation of medium power (12-15KW/20-30HP) environmentally–friendly marine propulsion and energy regeneration systems that will replace what is currently termed as “outboard motors”.

The potential financial benefits to boat users in Ireland are significant, potentially costing less than half that of petrol and diesel motors over a 10-year lifetime.

The Marine Institute says it is committed to assisting industry-led development through knowledge transfer, capacity building and research to enable optimal decision making and planning to best leverage Ireland’s natural marine resources sustainably and efficiently.

This investment in marine enterprises is a key output of the Marine Institute Strategic Plan 2018-2022: Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services, guided by the Government’s integrated marine plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth as well as the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017–2021.

Increased economic growth and job creation from small and medium-sized enterprises based in Ireland is a key component of several national strategies and regional development plans. Funding for these seven renewable research projects is being provided by the Marine Institute and the Government, co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Published in Power From the Sea

#SeaPower - The University of Limerick (UL) has unveiled a unique €2 million underwater robot adapted to inspect, repair and maintain marine renewable energy (MRE) facilities.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) through its Research Infrastructure Programme, the ROV Étaín can operate in challenging wind, wave, and tidal conditions.

Speaking at the launch of the robot at Limerick city docks yesterday (Thursday 26 April), Minister of State Pat Breen said: “Internationally, the offshore renewable energy sector is set to rapidly grow which will help to reduce carbon emissions and arrest climate change. 

“Ireland has the best wind and wave resources in Europe and it is vital that as an island nation we invest and engage in research in the area of marine energy technology. Therefore, I'm delighted to today launch this ROV which will support Ireland's growing offshore renewable energy sector.”

Researchers at UL’s Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems (CRIS) have enhanced a commercially available ROV system (Forum Energy Technology’s Comanche ROV) with UL-developed advanced control software (OceanRings), precision navigation and flight control, state-of-the-art robotic imaging and sonar systems and fully automated manipulator systems.

These advanced features allow the robot to operate in the challenging environment of ocean renewable energy to support inspection, repair and maintenance operations.

Prof Daniel Toal, director of the Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems at UL, explained why the ROV Étaín was developed. 

“Operation support in the MRE sector usually occurs on floating infrastructures so conditions are regularly beyond the capability and operating limits of commercial ROV technology. This means new smart ROV systems capability is necessary and that is what our team at UL has developed and launched today.”

UL’s Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems is part of the University College Cork-led SFI national Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI).

The MaREI robotics lab at UL leads operations support engineering projects with industry partners such as Shannon Foynes Port Company, ESB, Ireland’s National Space Centre, SonarSim, Teledyne, Resolve Marine, CIL, IDS Monitoring and among others.

“The advanced robotics technology developed at UL will be crucial in supporting the burgeoning marine renewable energy sector,” said UL president Dr Des Fitzgerald. “It will also play a significant role in reducing the cost of installing and maintaining large-scale offshore energy generation infrastructure. 

“As the worldwide marine renewable energy sector grows, UL's research contribution in this area will have even greater impact. I am particularly happy to see this advanced UL technology being developed, trialled and launched in Limerick city docks. 

“The UL robotics base at the docks is just one of our commitments to grow and maintain strong links between the campus and the heart of Limerick city, with strategic partners like Shannon Foynes Port Company.”

Speaking about the project, Dr Ciarán Seoighe, deputy director general of Science Foundation Ireland, said the new ROV “will enhance our understanding of subsea exploration and marine renewable energy, placing Ireland at the forefront of advances in environmental research that are crucial to our country's future.”

Published in Power From the Sea

#Windfarm - The world’s first floating windfarm is now generating power for Scotland, according to BBC News.

Afloat.ie previously covered the Hywind Scotland project, backed by Norwegian energy giant Statoil, which comprises a series of giant wind turbines tethered to the seabed off the coast of Aberdeenshire.

The 6MW, 175-metre-tall turbines in this pilot project are said to generate enough energy to power as many as 20,000 homes.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the windfarm this week, saying it “underlines the potential of Scotland's huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.”

Recently a tidal power station in the far north of Scotland announced it had broken the world record for electricity generation, as The Independent reports.

The company behind the MeyGen project say they generated 700 megawatt hours of energy in the month of August from its more than 250 turbines installed on the sea bed in the Pentland Firth between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

Published in Power From the Sea

#powerfromthesea - Harland and Wolff, the former giant of shipbuilding in Belfast is meeting demands from new contracts and is currently hiring a range of staff, it has emerged.

As the Belfast Telegraph writes, the marine and engineering firm is hiring between 10 and 20 workers across a range of fields, as it ramps up fresh wind farm projects.

It's hiring a range of new posts to meet work demand for new projects which it's undertaking over the next few years.

Jobs include tower crane operators, pipe fitters and fabricators, planners, structural engineers, accountant and surveyors and welders.

It's understood the new posts relate to the company winning a major contract at the end of last year, to build 24 huge steel foundation jackets for an offshore wind farm company.

The project is expected to last for around 18 months.

Standing at 65 metres tall, and weighing more than 845 tonnes, the three-legged steel jacket structures are almost as prominent on the Belfast skyline as the famous Samson and Goliath cranes. At the time, the firm said the work could support 200 jobs.

To read more these developments at the Queens Island facility, click here.

Published in Power From the Sea

#HolyheadDeep -  Two Swedish-based companies have engaged in a joint project to invest in Wales’ transition to renewable energy.

Minesto and Stena Line will build an assembly hall in the Port of Holyhead, which Minesto will utilise in their upcoming rollout of the company's unique technology to generate clean electricity from the ocean.

Both companies have signed an agreement in which Stena Line has committed to building an assembly hall on their land at the north-west Welsh port. The assembly hall will be leased to Minesto and used for the upcoming rollout of Deep Green, Minesto’s unique technology for cost-effective electricity production from slowly flowing underwater currents.

Minesto’s first commercial power plant array will be installed in Holyhead Deep off the coast of North Wales. The joint-project companies invites the public for your opinion! so click here for more. 

The company recently announced plans to expand the project from 10MW to 80MW installed capacity. This expansion would allow Minesto’s power plants to supply as many as 80,000 Welsh households with locally produced, reliable and renewable electricity.

The assembly hall in Holyhead is a key part of this process, allowing both assembly and service and maintenance of the power plants to take place in the port.

“We are very pleased to have finalised this agreement with Stena Line. With its direct quay access for offshore transports to and from site we have secured a unique location that suits us perfectly. In the establishment of our technology, it is also crucial to work with professional and long-term partners such as Stena Line. We are two companies from Gothenburg, exploiting these ocean energy business opportunities together in Wales, which adds to the excitement”, says Dr Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto.

Stena Line has been active in Holyhead for many years, as owner of the port and through operating five ferry routes between Ireland and the UK. 

“This investment creates value for Stena Line in several ways and demonstrates opportunities in port operations linked to ocean renewables”, says Björn Petrusson, Chief Commercial Officer at Stena Line. “Our sustainability strategy has a clear focus on clean energy so participating in the development of new renewable energy sources is natural to us. This investment is good for our business and is also an investment in a better future for all of us”, Björn Petrusson concludes.

The assembly hall is scheduled for completion in June 2017.

Published in Power From the Sea
Page 1 of 4

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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