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The Royal Western Yacht Club of England has announced the rescheduling of its OSTAR TWOSTAR that was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID 19 virus, to a new date of May 9th 2021.

The 2021 race will continue to run between Plymouth England and Newport Rhode Island as before.

Ireland has previous success in the OSTAR Race through the pioneering efforts of Cork Harbour solo sailor Barry Hurley who took a class win in 2009 and more recently with Howth Yacht Club's Conor Fogerty who raced to success in 2017.

A new 2021 Notice of Race, Entry form and World Sailing 2020 - 2021 Offshore Safety Regulations for Cat 1 yachts can all be downloaded from the event website.

Published in Solo Sailing

#Laser - The Galway Advertiser is reporting that Galway Bay Sailing Club member Richard Hayes has completed a solo circumnavigation of Ireland by Laser dinghy.

Hayes sailed 54 days over three-and-a-half months since 27 May to complete the near 2,500km challenge last Friday 14 September in aid of heart and stroke charity Croí — and he is still raising funds for the remarkable effort online.

“This is one of the smallest boats ever to have circumnavigated Ireland and to have successfully done so without a support team on the water,” Hayes shared on Facebook of the achievement.

W M Nixon's Sailing On Saturday this weekend (22nd September) takes a detailed look at Richard Hayes’ great achievement, and other notable small boat voyages round Ireland

Published in Laser

#Kayaking - A German woman who circumnavigated Ireland by kayak in 2016 is taking the story of her remarkable global padding adventures on tour across Europe, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Freya Hoffmeister recently returned to Ireland to give talks in Dublin and Cork on her epic solo kayaking voyage around South America, which she undertook in sections over more than 30 months between 2011 and 2015.

Before that, she paddled around Iceland in what’s regarded as the ‘K2 of sea kayaking’, and took on New Zealand’s South Island that same year.

The speaker and endurance athlete also holds a circumnavigation of Australia among her host of achievements — with her next being the mammoth undertaking of North America, which will require kayaking through the treacherous Northwest Passage.

But as lofty as these goals might seem to the average human, Freya brings things down to earth in her motivational talks, on which the Irish Examiner has more HERE.

Published in Kayaking

#GuoChuan - Record-setting Chinese offshore skipper Guo Chuan has gone missing on a solo crossing of the Pacific, according to BBC News.

Guo Chuan had connections with Ireland as a crew-member on Irish-Chinese backed Green Dragon and became the first-ever Asian participant, with skipper Ian Walker in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race

US Coast Guard teams now suspended their search in the waters off Hawaii where Guo’s boat was spotted abandoned shortly after his support team lost contact on Tuesday morning Irish time.

Guo’s yacht, the Qingdao China, was reportedly seen from a search plane with its main sail snapped off some 1,000km off Oahu.

Rescuers boarding the boat later found his lifejacket among his belongings.

The experienced sailor had been attempting to break the speed record for a solo Pacific crossing, which currently stands at 21 days.

A year ago, Irish offshore sailor Jarlath Cunnane was among the first to congratulate Guo on a record transit of the North East Passage with a team on board his 26.5m trimaran.

China’s best-known sailor previously sailed around the world in a 12m yacht in 2013.

* The USCG has suspended the search:

UPDATE: COAST GUARD SUSPENDS SEARCH FOR MISSING CHINESE TRANS-PACIFIC MARINER
HONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday evening for a Chinese mariner who was unreported while sailing his 97-foot super trimaran across the Pacific.

Guo Chuan, 50, remains missing.

"Mr. Chuan was a professional mariner with a deep passion for sailing," said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. "Our thanks to our Navy partners who helped us search for this vessel in a timely manner so far from shore in an attempt to locate Mr. Chuan. Our deepest condolences go out not only to his family and friends but also to his racing team and the sailing community."

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules crews conducted six search patterns in the vicinity of the Quindao China and its charted course following notification of the situation Tuesday and into Wednesday. The USS Makin Island deployed an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter Wednesday once they were in range to attempt contact with Chuan. Their hails over the radio went unanswered and weather conditions prevented safe deployment of a rescue swimmer to the vessel. They followed up by deploying a rigid-hulled inflatable boat and crew to conduct a boarding of the trimaran Wednesday afternoon. The boatcrew confirmed Chuan was not on the vessel although his life jacket remains aboard.

Weather on scene was reportedly 23 mph winds, seas to 5-feet with good visibility and scattered clouds.

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 4,600 square miles over the two-day period.

Involved in the search were:
- HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) homeported out of San Diego
- Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crew attached to the USS Makin Island

The Quindao China remains adrift, the mainsail has been doused and the vessel has been marked. A broadcast notice to mariners alerting vessel crews in the area to the potential hazard to navigation has been issued. Chuan’s racing team is making arrangements to recover the vessel.

Tuesday morning, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from Maritime Rescue Coordination Center China personnel that the vessel Qingdao China, with one person aboard, had not been heard from for 24 hours prompting the response.
The Makin Island is an amphibious assault ship attached to the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that departed Naval Station San Diego for a scheduled deployment, Oct. 14, to provide maritime security operations, crisis response capability, theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the Pacific.

Published in Offshore

The DMYC in Dun Laoghaire are reminding sailors that online entry for its Kish race on Dublin Bay closes tomorrow at 19.00 on 24th September.

Looking at the weekend forecast – sailing tomorrow may will be for the heavy weather brigade, but Sunday shows some easing even though the WindGuru is predicting gusts in the low 20’s. Does it suggest a spin around the Kish on Sunday would be an ideal way to close out the season?

'The Kish might not be the Vendee Globe, but it still presents a challenge all sailors like', says DMYC's Neil Colin.

Published in DMYC
Tagged under

#Solo - Pictured above is the RIB that French sailor Christophe Maupaté will pilot solo in his quest to set a new Atlantic record from Bordeaux to New York.

Previously attempted by Ireland's own Enda O'Coineen, no one has yet completed a solo transatlantic voyage by RIB.

But as reported on Afloat.ie last December, Figaro veteran Maupaté has been planning his own crossing for some time, having plotted a 4,460-nautical-mile course that will take him from France via Ireland's East Coast, western Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland to the southern tip of Greenland and Canada's Maritimes towards the US – tracing the route of Lafayette's Hermione.

Now Maupaté's record attempt is just weeks away, launching from Bordeaux on Saturday 16 July with a stopover in Dun Laoghaire expected in the first few days.

Published in Solo Sailing

Having established himself as a daredevil of the sport of sailing, this latest stunt involves frequent Cork Harbour visitor Alex Thomson, on a kiteboard, chasing his IMOCA open 60 HUGO BOSS boat upwind and attaching himself via a rope to the top of the boat’s mast. The solo skipper then utilises the speed of the race boat to propel himself 280ft into the air, sending him surfing above the vast yacht. When Thomson reaches the peak of his flight, he detaches himself from the boat and expertly controls his descent back down, landing the kiteboard on the water in true Alex Thomson style, all whilst wearing a stylish BOSS suit.

Thomson is captured during the feat in a series of remarkable still images, as he kitesurfs more than twice the height of his HUGO BOSS mast, a height equivalent to a 25–story building.

With a passion for pushing himself to the limit – and having previously executed two other death-defying challenges out on the water - solo skipper Thomson was keen to complete the trilogy of stunts.

The Skywalk was carried out by Alex Thomson Racing, in partnership with sponsors HUGO BOSS and Mercedes-Benz. In total, 35 people were involved in the planning, co-ordination and execution of the stunt, including Alex Thomson Racing Operations Manager Ross Daniel, professional kite-surfer Susie Mai and kite-surfing coach Ray Kasper.

Having safely returned to dry land Thomson commented: “The previous two stunts that we carried out - The Mastwalk and The Keelwalk - were so successful that, as a team, we just knew we couldn’t stop there. We were all in agreement; we wanted to do something even bigger and better.

“I’ve always had a love for all things wind-powered so naturally a stunt which involved kite surfing was the next step. The idea of combining two of my favourite sports and executing something which, to our knowledge, had never been done before was really exciting.

“The team and I have been planning the stunt for a long time. There were lots of things that could have gone wrong. Perhaps most concerning for the team; was the prospect of an uncontrolled descent, causing me to come back down too fast. Water can be as hard as concrete if hit with enough velocity, so this was one of the most dangerous aspects of the stunt. But I had a brilliant team around me and, with their help; we managed to pull it off.”

“What’s next? Who knows?”

This is the third daring stunt to be unveiled by the 41-year-old yachtsman and his team. Videos of The Keelwalk – a challenge which involved Thomson walking along the orange keel of his racing yacht, whilst heeled over and sailing at high speed – and The Mastwalk – which saw the skipper climb the 30 metre mast of HUGO BOSS and dive from the very top into the water – have now been viewed by more than 4.5m people around the world.

Thomson will compete in the pinnacle event of the Ocean Masters race calendar – the Vendée Globe - later this year, a race which begins on November 6th. The non-stop, solo, unassisted, round the world race takes approximately 80 days to complete. In the last edition of the race, back in 2013, Thomson finished in third place. This time around he is determined to be the first Brit to win the prestigious title.

Published in Solo Sailing

County Meath's Thomas Dolan lies in the top half of the Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe fleet after Saturday's start from Douarnenez, France. The sole Irish competitor in the solo race is 19th from 45 and 30 miles behind the overall leader in the 4,000 mile race.

There has been a decided chance of scenery on Mini Transat îles de Guadeloupe. With the arrival of a front, rain and wind have joined the party whilst the boats reach speeds in double digits. Aboard the Minis, they dropped the VHF and naps to concentrate on sailing the boat. The men from the west came back strongly. This will be without Roman Mouchel, forced to return to port after breaking a finger. The sailors out to the West make their comeback. Romain Mouchel forced to return to port after suffering a broken finger.

The sailors who took the southern route could congratulate themselves again this morning on the perfect strategy, now need to look behind them , where the cavalry of the western group is closing in on them. When they are going no faster than an average of 6 knots, Davy Beaudart (Flexirub) who is thirty miles further west skims along at more than 12 knots, and trailing in his wake, the larger group from the circuit. At this rhythm, they should be in the vicinity of the DST cap Finistere by tomorrow morning.

In the west again
On board the Minis, the chatty conversations over the airwaves from the calmer hours have stopped . It ‘s now all about making the boats go more quickly, while knowing that the wind will ease off somewhat after this front has passed over. In this changeable sea, the competitors are mostly sailing under Code 5, the sail for a slightly lighter wind than a spinnaker. That urges on the leading boats , as everyone knows that each mile gained counts twice as much as soon as the wind dies down.

In the prototypes, there are variable fortunes : Alberto Bona (onlinesim.it) sees his throne wobble. Between Vincent Grison (Roll my Chicken) and Frédéric Denis (Nautipark) there is almost 10 knots of speed between them. It’s clear that the cards will be shuffled quickly. There are now about 50 miles’ gap between the leaders and Pilar Pasanau (Peter Punk) who is bringing up the rear in the prototypes .

In the series boats, can the leading trio of Julien Pulvé (Novintiss), Patrick Girod (Nescens), and Charly Fernbach (Le Fauffiffon Hénaff) fend off the acceleration by Yann Claverie (Map Product) who has played an intelligent game in the west ? He should also try to contain the advances of the ambitious Benoît Hantzperg (YCA Dhumeaux Secours Populaire), Ian Lipinski (Entreprise(s) Innovante(s)) et Tanguy Le Turquais (Terréal) who are all bowling along at 10 knots.

Eastern point for Roman Mouchel
The dream of all Mini-ists is to bowl along under a spinnaker. Romain Mouchel is deprived of that at the moment. The diagnosis, relayed by PSP Flamant, seems to confirm that the sailor has broken his finger and can’t therefore continue in his usual form. For now, Roman is heading towards Lorient before taking a final decision. WE’ll ahve to wait to find out if his taste for adventure will overtake his disappointment about not being able to compete for the leading positions. Whatever the decision, it will be his alone to take, He has about 20 hours at sea to mull over his choices that will be very difficult to take. The Mini transat may be fascinating, but it is often also cruel.

Pierre-Marie Bazin (Voiles des anges - 709 - prototype):
“There are around 20 knots of wind. I’m sailing in between 12 and 16 knots, that’s quick . The moments without any wind have been tough, especially because I didn’t make the right choices. It is a pleasure to sail like this. But the sea is choppy, it is a bit strange”.

Olivier Jehl (Zigoneshi-Wichard – 629 – prototype)
“It is great, it’s finally surfing! There are around 16 to 20 knots. I’m sailing in between 12-13 knots with peaks of more than 15 knots. I’m taking the direct route to Cap Finisterre, it looks like we are going to be in for a good sprint”.

Positions on the 20th September at 15 :00 (TU+2)
Prototypes (Eurovia Cegelec class) :
1 Alberto Bona – 756 – Onelinesim à 1059,5 milles de l’arrivée
2 Davy Beaudart – 865 – Flexirub à 0,6 nm
3 Michele Zambelli – 788 – Illumia à 2,1 nm
4 Jean-Baptiste Daramy – 814 – Chocolats Paries – Coriolis Composites à 2,4 nm
5 Fidel Turienzo – 304 – Satanas à 2,4 nm

Series (Ocean Bio-Actif class)
1 Julien Pulvé – 880 – Novintiss à 1064,1 milles de l’arrivée
2 Patrick Girod – 824 – Nescens à 1,2 nm
3 Charly Fernbach – 869 – Le Fauffiffon Hénaff à 2,3 nm
4 Sébastien Pébelier – 660 – www.mademoiselleiodée.frà 3,3 nm
5 Quentin Vlamynck – 728 – Arkema 2 à 4,7 nm

Published in Tom Dolan

#solosailing – This Sunday, 14 Corinthian sailors will set sail from Plas Heli, Pwllheli for Baltimore, south west Ireland. These single-handed boats of between 20 and 30 feet long are taking part in the Jester Baltimore Challenge; the course will take them around the notorious Fastnet Rock.

The Challenge is all about personal endeavor and self-reliance. It is a challenge for Corinthian sailors that involves the highest standards of amateur sportsmanship. To compete participants must be over 18, the length of the boat is less than 30 feet and each sailor signs a pledge accepting full responsibility for all their choices!

The longest Jester Challenge takes place every four years when sailors sail across the Atlantic from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island, about 3,500 miles. The Jester Baltimore Challenge is a shorter preparation event, covering 250 miles where the Jesters will join the Baltimore Pirate Festival before sailing another 250 miles, or more, returning to their home ports. In around a fortnight they can complete the course, enjoy the Festival and be back in time for work.

Since its inception the Jester Baltimore Challenge has launched from Plymouth, but Pwllheli sailor, Roger Fitzgerald, who has sailed every Jester Challenge since 2006 covering over 22,000 miles at sea, saw an opportunity to launch some boats at Pwllheli. The distance between Pwllheli and Baltimore is the same as from Plymouth to Baltimore but Welsh, Scottish and Irish sailors had the added challenge of sailing to Plymouth for the start. 3 local boats started from Pwllheli in the 2013 Challenge. This year a positive flotilla of 14 boats will be single-handedly sailed from Pwllheli to join the Plymouth fleet on route to Baltimore.

Roger Fitzgerald said: "As we've seen the growth in the numbers of boats starting at Pwllheli in the past two years we're hoping that more northern sailors will be attracted to this unique challenge. Pwllheli has such a great backdrop to start our journey. When you've been at sea for many days, or in my case many months, the beauty of returning to Cardigan Bay is something for all sailors to treasure!"

Stephen Tudor, chairman of Plas Heli Cyf, the new Welsh National Sailing Academy in Pwllheli, said: "It's great to see these little boats using our new visitor pontoons and using the Academy as a base for their sail to Ireland. The courageous sailors are starting their own adventure where it will be just them and their small boats battling against the elements. We hope that we can give them a sendoff to remember!"

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

#goldengloberace – To mark the 50th anniversary of the first solo non-stop circumnavigation under sail achieved by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston during the 1968/9 Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race, a new Golden Globe Race is set to start from Falmouth UK on June 14, 2018 – the same day that Knox-Johnston set out on his epic voyage 50 years before.

The announcement today is significant, marking the 46th anniversary of Robin's victorious return to Falmouth in 1969, as the sole finisher in the original Sunday Times event.

The 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Falmouth, England, sail solo, non-stop around the world via the five Great Capes and return to Falmouth. Entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Sir Robin in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite based navigation aids. Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 – 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 with a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge, similar in concept to Knox-Johnston's Suhaili.

Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, founder of this 2018 Race says: "The overriding aim is for a race where adventure takes precedence over winning at all costs; one where sailing skill and traditional seamanship, rather than modern technology and outside support, gets you round, and where the achievement truly belongs to the skipper."

McIntyre who completed his first solo circumnavigation in 1991 and more recently retraced Capt. Bligh's Bounty Boat voyage from Tonga to Kupang, West Timor in a similar open boat with minimal rations. He intends to compete in the Race with his Tradewind 35 Betty, one of 13 traditional production yacht types approved for this race.

Another entrant is British yachtsman and adventurer Chris Jacks from Liverpool. Last Autumn, he climbed the summits of 92 Wainwright mountains within 40 days – equivalent to climbing Mount Everest twice.

Two more sailors, one from Australia, the other from Germany, have so far expressed keen interest to compete and are currently finalising their plans. The 2018 Race is limited to a maximum of 20 entrants.

The challenge is pure and very raw for those who 'dare', just as it was for Sir Robin, navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston says: "I'm a great believer in the freedom of the individual. I think this race is a great idea, giving an opportunity for those who want to do something special with their lives. You can enter this race in an ordinary seaworthy boat and know that success will be down to personal drive and determination, and not to the biggest budget. I intend to be at the start with Suhaili to celebrate this anniversary and expect to be joined by two other yachts that competed in the original Sunday Times Race."

A prize purse of £75,000 has been budgeted for the 2018 Golden Globe Race, and all who finish before 15:25hrs on 22nd April 2019 (the anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's finish) will receive a Suhaili trophy and a refund of their entry fee.

Published in Solo Sailing
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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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