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In the UK, groups representing the country's freight and logistics industries have warned of significant gaps in the British government's border preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

Eight organisations, including the Road Haulage Association (RHA), are seeking an urgent meeting with ministers.

They have written to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who is overseeing the UK's Brexit preparations, to highlight fears the UK-EU supply chain "will be severely disrupted" from January if issues are not resolved.

The group wants a meeting with Mr Gove, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to discuss areas including IT systems and physical border infrastructure.

The letter states: "As key participants in the supply chain who will be required to deliver a functional operating border for GB and EU traders next year, we have visibility of the current state of preparedness which as it stands has significant gaps.

More from RTE News here.

Published in Ferry

#Weather - It's a poor start to the New Year as Met Éireann has issued a Status Yellow warning for small craft.

Southerly gales have developed this morning and will be continuing throughout the day in all coastal waters, with the strongest gusts expected on the Irish Sea.

For anyone who must be at sea today, be careful out there.

Published in Weather
Tagged under

#WeatherWarning - Cork and Kerry are currently under a Status Red weather warning from Met Éireann as wind speeds rise to as much as 85km/h with gusts threatening to hit an incredible 160km/h by this afternoon (Wednesday 12 February).

Meanwhile an Orange alert has been issued for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Limerick and Waterford and for mariners on all coasts, with gusts of up to 130km/h expected in the coming hours as the latest in an unusually persistent succession of storms sweeps in from the Atlantic.

And it seems no part of the country will be spared from the wind assault, with Status Yellow (for winds justing 100 to 110km/h) declared for most other counties.

TheJournal.ie reports that the high winds and seas will be accompanied by rain, sleet and snow, with thundery showers and spot flooding a possibility.

Published in Weather
Tagged under

#storm – Ireland is bracing itself for a fast aproaching southwest gale or strong gale at first this evening on coasts from Loop Head to Fair Head to Roches Point and on the Irish Sea according to Met Eireann. The state forecaster who has issued a status orange alert says northwest or cyclonic gale to storm force winds expected for a time tonight in the South Irish Sea. The forecast follows a Coastguard warning to the public to be careful on exposed westerly coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, and promenades.

West to Northwest gales are expected to develop later tonight and tomorrow morning on all sea areas; with winds increasing to strong gale force at times tomorrow afternoon on coasts from Wicklow Head to Loop Head to Fair Head and on the South Irish Sea.

Published in Marine Warning

Marine Notice No. 41 of 2013
Notice to all Shipowners, Fishing Vessel Owners, Agents, Shipmasters, Skippers, Fishermen, Yachtsmen and Seafarers
Air to Ground Live Fire Practices, Danger Area D1,
Gormanston Air Defence Range, Co. Meath.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has been advised by the Defence Forces that the "Flying Training School", Irish Air Corps, will conduct live Air to Surface firing practices on the following dates:

Ranges active from:

From 9 th September 2013 to 14 th September 2013 inclusive;
From 16 th September 2013 to 21 st September 2013 inclusive;
From 23 rd September 2013 to 27 th September 2013 inclusive.

Time: 08:00 to 17:00 Hours daily.

The danger area comprises the lands of Gormanston Aerodrome and the Air and Sea areas contained within a radius of 3 nautical miles centred on Gormanston Aerodrome with an additional area contained within a segment centred on Gormanston Aerodrome and bearing of 015º degrees true, through Mosney Railway Station and 106º degrees true, through Gormanston Railway Station seawards for a distance of 10 nautical miles.

Surface area to be engaged will be the beach area inside the 'D1' at Gormanston.

For the periods whilst the Range is active the sea zone within the danger area is excluded to all vessels. A Naval Service patrol vessel will enforce the exclusion zone. The exclusion zone 'D1' is indicated on British Admiralty Chart No. 44.

All vessels are advised that they are required to remain outside of the exclusion zone whilst the Range is active. All vessels in the area are recommended to carefully monitor the Radio Navigation Warnings that will be broadcast during the firing period.

Director General,
Irish Maritime Administration,
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport,
Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland.

For any technical assistance in relation to this Marine Notice, please contact:
The Marine Survey Office, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, tel: +353-(0)1-678 3400.
For general enquiries, please contact the Maritime Safety Policy Division, tel: +353-(0)1-678 3418.
Written enquiries concerning Marine Notices should be addressed to:
Maritime Safety Policy Division, Dept. of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leeson Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland.
email: [email protected] or visit us at: www.dttas.ie
15/08/2013

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under

Irish Water Safety has stressed the importance of vigilance and caution to avoid drowning tragedies during our current heat wave. Many people nationwide are enjoying trips to waterways nationwide however further tragedies are always a danger with water temperatures still so low in many bathing places.

Cold water and currents on open water require more energy than swimming in a pool.

Many people are not used to open water swimming at present so they should exercise great care if swimming especially as the water temperature is hovering close to a cool 10 degrees. All activities should include the wearing of a correctly fitting and well maintained lifejacket with crotch strap at all times when on or near water.

Vital water-safety advice...

Ireland is blessed with some of the most beautiful swimming locations in the world. This advice is designed to teach children and adults important water safety messages vital to these open-water environments. The rules of water safety may seem familiar, however people often take them for granted and risk their lives if not adhered to:

-      Wear a Personal Flotation Device such as a Lifejacket. Find out what device suits your needs at www.iws.ie.

-      Avoid unsupervised areas. Never swim alone or after dark and do not stay in the water too long as you risk hypothermia.

-      Stay vigilant abroad. The picture-postcard scenes at venues abroad can often mask hidden dangers. Beaches and swimming pools may not be guarded and warning signs may differ.

-      Learn swimming and lifesaving. Irish Water Safety has swimming and lifesaving classes for children and adults.

-      Take lessons when you try a new water sport. Start your lessons, if they're available, before your trip. Be sure you tell a responsible adult, where you plan to go.

-      Never go alone. You'll be safer and have more fun if you pair up with another adult for water sports. If one of you gets into trouble, the other can help - and call for additional help if necessary. Always wear a Personal Flotation Device.

-      Watch for changing weather. Be prepared to get out of the water and take cover if the skies look threatening.

-      Avoid alcohol. Water sports and alcohol don't mix. Tragically, alcohol is often a factor in adult deaths from drowning or injuries incurred in the water. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination - all essential for swimming and boating well and avoiding hazards in the water.

-      Watch children constantly. Children are irresistibly attracted to water. Take the time to protect your children from the dangers of water.

-      Lifejackets Checklist

Visually Check all lifejackets and buoyancy aids for the following deficiencies:

Ensure CO2 Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly

Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user

Check that their lights, if fitted are operating correctly

Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices if fitted are fully serviced and in date

Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight

Discard any faulty lifejackets by destroying them

-      In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.

Water-related tragedies happen in the blink of an eye and it is a tragedy that an average of 146 lives are lost to drowning each year. Make sure you return safely to shore - and ultimately back home - by playing it safe.

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under

#NEWS UPDATE - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises on a pipeline survey in the Celtic Sea next month.

PSE Kinsale Energy Limited will be commencing the survey of the 24" Gas Export Pipeline on 6 March 2012 using the Marine Institute vessel RV Celtic Voyager (call sign EIQN). The survey is expected to last 1 to 2 days, depending on weather conditions.

The survey will take place along the existing pipeline route in the Celtic Sea, between the shoreline at Inch Beach in Co Cork and gas platform 'Alpha'.

The RV Celtic Voyager will display appropriate lights and signals, and will be towing side scan sonar with cables of up to 200m long. A Radio Navigation Warning will be issued via the Irish Coast Guard (schedule Bravo, four times a day) prior to the vessel's arrival at the survey area. The vessel will also keep a listening watch on VHF Channel 16.

All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the RV Celtic Voyager and her towed equipment a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Further details for seafarers, including relevant co-ordinates, are included in Marine Notice No 7 of 2012, a PDF of which is available to read and download HERE.

Published in News Update

Ireland has battened down the hatches because of fears Hurricane Katia would wreak widespread havoc with storm-force winds and giant waves. The Coast Guard has issued a weather alert warning people to stay away from cliff edges. Boaters are also warned of the dangers of walking near exposed quays.

hurricane_katia

Hurricane Katia as seen from the space station

Published in Marine Warning

The Irish Coast Guard has advised members of the public to take care in the current severe weather conditions, particularly around the coast and in exposed areas.

Sea Activities
Avoid sea or water-based activities today if possible.

Cliff Walking
There is safety in numbers. Always let someone know when and where you are going, and when you are expected to return. Stay well away from cliff edges, both top and bottom. Don't attempt to rescue people or pets if they fell over a cliff edge. If assistance is needed dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in Marine Warning
The UK Coastguard is warning coastal visitors to check tide times after multiple incidents around the country where people have been cut off by the tide.

Coastguard coordination centres have dealt with at least eight different incidents this afternoon involving a total of 16 people who have become cut off by incoming tides at different places around the coast.

In Pembrokeshire, six people were rescued from the water by Little Haven RNLI lifeboat at Setlands Beach near Broad Haven and at St Dogmaels the Cardigan RNLI inshore lifeboat recovered a woman who was stuck thigh deep in mud.

Humber Coastguard was alerted to two people and their dogs trapped by a fast rising tide near Bridlington.  They were unsure of their location and as rescue units began searching for them, the couple were fortunately spotted by Hornsea Rescue lifeboat who recovered them from the water in a distressed condition.

Mike Bill, Coastguard Watch Manager at Humber Coastguard says,

"Coastguards are warning people at the coast to check tide times to ensure you are not caught out.  Talk about how the tides work with your family and make sure everyone understands how tides work and what the dangers are when walking at the coast."

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under
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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.

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