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Displaying items by tag: west cork

#RNLI - Baltimore RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew has responded to three callouts over the last four days.

The first of the three was a medical evacuation from Cape Clear on Friday (7 July).

A woman from the island was suffering from chest pains and needed to be transferred to the mainland, where she was met by a waiting ambulance at the lifeboat station.

The lifeboat was crewed by Kieran Cotter, Sean McCarthy, Cathal Cottrell, Aidan Bushe and Don O’Donovan.

The following night (Saturday 8 July), the lifeboat carried out another medevac, this time from Sherkin Island after man suffered a serious fall from a height and required medical assistance. 

The lifeboat crew were assisted on the island by a team led by Dr Jason from West Cork Rapid Response. 

The casualty was evacuated to Baltimore, where an ambulance was waiting at the lifeboat station for transfer to hospital in Cork. 

Crew on this callout were Kieran Cotter, Pat Collins, Jerry Smith, Don O’Donovan, Brian McSweeney, Jim Griffiths and Ronnie Carthy.

Finally, yesterday morning (Sunday 9 July) Baltimore RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched to go to the assistance of a RIB which had broken down off Cape Clear.

Mícheál Cottrell, a helm and crewman with Baltimore RNLI, was out with his sea safari boat on a tour with passengers when he happened upon the boat, with two people onboard, which was suffering engine problems.

Cottrell raised the alarm and Baltimore’s inshore lifeboat was requested to assist. 

The lifeboat took the boat in tow to Baltimore, where it was berthed safely and the lifeboat returned to station. 

Crew on the inshore lifeboat were helm Youen Jacob, David Ryan and Ryan O’Mahony. 

Shore crew in assistance at Baltimore Lifeboat Station were Declan Tiernan, Sean McCarthy, Rianne Smith and Marty O’Driscoll.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - It’s shaping up to be the start of a busy season for the volunteer lifeboat crew at Union Hall RNLI with two callouts in less than two weeks.

On Saturday 8 April, the inshore lifeboat launched at 12.14pm to Rabbit Island with reports of two sheep spotted on a low-lying cliff at the side of the island.

The crew went to the island to access the situation, and to eliminate the risk of members of the public trying to assist the sheep.

The volunteers went ashore and helped the sheep back onto the island, left them grazing and returned to Union Hall pier.

More recently, on Monday 17 April, Union Hall RNLI was requested by Valentia Coast Guard at 9.26pm to reports of two red flares spotted near Adam Island at the mouth of Glandore Harbour.

Launching five minutes later, the lifeboat crew proceeded to the scene and were joined by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 from Waterford and Toe Head/Glandore Coast Guard Unit, who also had their shore crew assist.

A thorough search was conducted of the inner harbour and islands at the mouth of Glandore Harbour. Nothing was found and Union Hall RNLI was stood down at 10.53pm.

Speaking following the callouts, Pamela Deasy, Union Hall RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer said: “As we approach the summer season we would remind everyone to respect the water and remember if you see anything suspicious or someone in trouble over the coming months, call 112/999 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#MarineWildlife - The first humpback whale sighting for the new season in Irish waters was made last week off the Beara Peninsula.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s (IWDG) Patrick Lyne was in prime position to witness the unmistakable tail fluke some 5km offshore from Beara in West Cork on the afternoon of Wednesday 5 April.

While not the first humpback sighted this calendar year — that honour goes to a giant spotted off Wexford in early January — it’s still considered the first of the 2017/18 ‘large whale season’.

The sighting also continues a trend of earlier arrivals for Ireland’s regular humpback visitors over recent years, with 2016’s first recorded only four days later and spotted just 4km away.

Last Wednesday was a bumper day for marine wildlife sightings off Co Kerry, too, where Nick Massett spotted at least a dozen minke whales between Ventry, Slea Head and the Blaskets.

Many of these locations feature in Colin Stafford-Johnson’s new BBC TV series Wild Ireland, as BBC News reports. The two episodes are currently streaming via the BBC iPlayer, where available.

In other cetacean news, researchers believe that whale strandings may in part be caused by exhaustion when cetaceans flee human-made noise in the ocean.

According to the Irish Independent, a study by marine scientists at UC Santa Cruz found that beaked whales startled by low-frequency sonar raise their energy consumption by almost a third, increasing demands on their limited oxygen supply while below the surface.

The news will be fuel to those who suspect human activity at sea plays a major role in increased cetacean stranding rates.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, 2017 became the worst year on record for whale and dolphin strandings by mid February.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rescue - Schull’s independent community lifeboat will soon join the Irish Coast Guard, as the Southern Star reports.

Established in 2005, the Schull Community Inshore Rescue Service will be officially renamed as Schull Coast Guard later this month after two years of talks on assimilating the West Cork volunteer rescue service with the national SAR agency.

A reception is planned to mark the change, details of which will be announced on the SCIRS Facebook page.

The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#Coastguard - Goleen Coast Guard raced to the rescue of a dog trapped on a coastal cliff face in West Cork yesterday morning (Wednesday 22 February).

As BreakingNews.ie reports, two coastguard climbers set up a rig to abseil down to the border collie, named Boo, who had slipped down the cliff at Castlepoint near Schull.

“All went according too plan and boo was safely brought back to her owners again,” said a Goleen Coast Guard spokesperson.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#RNLI - Castletownbere RNLI was requested to go to the aid of a 36m vessel with mechanical difficulties north of the Bull Rock off the coast of West Cork on Friday evening (16 December).

The lifeboat, under the command of deputy coxswain Sean Bawn O’Sullivan, was launched within minutes and located the vessel at anchor about one hour later.

The vessel, the Ocean Guardian, was on passage from Castletownbere to Burtonport when it contacted Valentia Coast Guard.

With light winds and a 3-4m swell, RNLI volunteers passed a tow rope to the crew onboard, and the lifeboat took the vessel under tow to Castletownbere.

When off Crow Head some time later, the tow rope broke and had to be reattached. The tow was then completed without further difficulty.

The vessel was berthed alongside the pier in Castletownbere at 2.30am yesterday morning (Saturday 17 December).

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Fishing - A small fishing vessel had a close call in West Cork this week when a much larger trawler powered past from Castletownbere with barely any room to spare.

According to the Irish Examiner, the crew of the Celtic Dawn were hailing pots offshore when the Spanish boat approached at speed, and appeared to be taking no evasive action.

Maritime law dictates that vessels such as the Celtic Dawn that are hauling static gear have the right of way, as The Irish Times reports.

And the captain of the smaller boat was not pleased about the situation.

“If it had been foggy, we would have been in trouble,” said Kieran Sullivan.

See video of the near collision below:

Published in Fishing
Tagged under

#RNLI - The Castletownbere lifeboat Annette Hutton was launched early yesterday morning (Saturday 20 August) when Valentia Coast Guard Radio requested assistance to a yacht in difficulties 45 miles south of Mizen Head in West Cork.

The 8m yacht with one person on board had left the Azores in early August and ran into difficulties in yesterday's severe weather.

The sailor, in his 60s, had been in regular radio contact with Valentia Coast Guard radio until yesterday morning, when his VHF radio was washed overboard. He activated an EPIRB to identify his location, raise the alarm and seek help.

The lifeboat, under the command of coxswain Brian O’Driscoll, was launched at 8am and located the casualty at 10.40am, some 50 miles south-west of Castletownbere. An Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter was also on scene. Conditions were described as gusting Force 8/9 winds with a 30ft swell.

Amid the challenging sea conditions, the yacht was taken under tow and the lifeboat proceeded slowly to Castletownbere. Early into the tow, the lifeboat crew became concerned about the wellbeing of the sailor and the crew managed to transfer him to the lifeboat.

With the damaged yacht in tow, the lifeboat returned to Castletownbere at 8.30pm, having been at sea for 12-and-a-half hours.

Last night the sailor thanked the Castletownbere lifeboat and all involved for "saving his life", saying: "Only for the lifeboat, things would have ended up very badly today."

Commenting on the callout, Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony O’Sullivan added: "The coxswain and crew are to be complimented on today’s rescue – they demonstrated skill, seamanship and endurance during what was a long and challenging day."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - A group of kayakers were brought to safety on Thursday night (18 August) by Union Hall RNLI after they got into difficulty during a night-time kayaking expedition off Castlehaven in West Cork.

The alarm was raised by one of the kayakers after two of the party became separated and the group requested assistance to make their way back to shore.

Union Hall RNLI's inshore lifeboat was launched at 10.45pm and proceeded to the scene, where they learned that the two kayakers originally thought missing had made it to safety on shore and the rest of the group requested assistance to get back to land.

It was decided to take the group off their kayaks and bring them onto the lifeboat before bringing them the short distance to Reen Pier.

The 15 people were helped onboard the Atlantic 85 lifeboat while their kayaks were towed back to shore.

"This was a large group for our inshore lifeboat to assist and our volunteer crew did well in ensuring that everyone was taken onboard quickly and safely," said Union Hall RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Kelleher.

"The weather conditions were challenging for the lifeboat crew to get from their base in Union Hall over to Castlehaven but thankfully conditions on scene were much calmer.

"With the call for help coming in quite early and the lifeboat crew on scene quickly, we were able to get the situation under control in a short time with everyone accounted for and safely brought ashore."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#WestCork - The body of a fisherman whose body was recovered off West Cork yesterday morning (Tuesday 16 August) has been named as Michael O'Brien of Ballydehob, according to The Irish Times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the alarm was raised on Monday evening (15 August) after the 69-year-old failed to return to Schull from a solo fishing trip. His empty punt was found a short time later in Long Island Bay.

After the search resumed yesterday morning, a local boat located O'Brien's body in the water west of Schull off Ballydevlin in an area known locally as Amsterdam Rocks.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under
Page 9 of 23

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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