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In what is being termed 'a major initiative' for young Irish sailors the Green Dragon Academy has been launched to use a second generation Volvo Open 70 and Ireland's entry in the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race as a platform to discover the next generation of Irish offshore sailors.

'Our mission focuses on the 18–30yr old Irish sailors who are looking to forge a career in this niche sector within sailing' says project director Cillian McGovern. 'The Green Dragon is an ideal platform from which to gain invaluable exposure to the level of seamanship required to sail at the highest level' he adds.

With only eight of this class in operation, six of which are currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, the opportunity presented, cannot be understated', says McGovern.

At present, the boat has been hauled out of the water in Alicante and is being serviced in advance of the upcoming sailing season.

Late in 2011, the Green Dragon left Galway, where it had been safely stored for two years, and was sailed to Rotterdam. From there, it was loaded onto 3 trucks and travelled 270+ miles through Germany to Frankfurt where it was Volvo's showpiece at the Frankfurt Motor Show. After the motor-show, it was sailed to Alicante via Southampton, Cascais and Cadiz.

The highlight of which was a 24-hr between Cowes and Finisterre at an average speed of 19knots, with a crew of 8 sailors, all of whom were under 30.

The Green Dragon was present in Alicante for the Legends Regatta, enjoying a healthy duel with Telefonica Black before the Spanish boat, crewed by Olympic sailors pulled away.

The Legends Regatta was of great benefit to the young Irish sailors on board who gained great knowledge from the Whitbread/Volvo Legends on board, notably: Joe English, Bouwe Bekking and Jerry Kirby, not to mention, leading Open 60 designer, Merf Owen from Owen Clarke Design.

The forthcoming sailing season will see the Green Dragon Academy sail to Lisbon for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover, sail to Dublin and train out of the Royal Saint George Yacht Club before sailing to Galway for the Grand Finale of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Published in Youth Sailing

#ISAYOUTHNATS – Success on Friday 13th was not about luck but about consistency in the very light and variable winds which, once coupled with the strong tidal flow, made for a second mentally taxing day of racing at the ISA Mitsubishi Youth Nationals, raced on Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire.

For the very top tier Irish sailors among the armada of 285 competing boats in the six different classes, selection for July's Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships - to be hosted on these same waters - may be the ultimate goal from this four day championships which finishes on Sunday, but today most were keeping thoughts of rivalries and outcomes at the very back of their minds.

Clean starts were essential in order to make the best of the gains which were often to be found on the left of the first legs, but the brisk tides were dimension which was always important, as was staying in the best of the wind pressure which rarely topped 6 or 7 knots.

They may both be taking each race step by step, one at a time but in the Laser Radial Men's Class, the selection rivalry between National YC's local ace Finn Lynch and Strangford Lough's Robbie Gilmore is one of the tightest and most engaging of the Championship so far.

After today's three races, Lynch still holds the upper hand by a matter of just three points but he had to stage a comeback in the third contest today to scrape a ninth which is currently his discard score.

Gilmore also posted three top ten finishes – a 5,8,9 to Lynch's 3,8,9 - in the 68 boat international fleet to lie second overall as both of the Irish sailors head New Zealand's third placed Andrew McKennzie who is already selected for the worlds.

" I had a good day, three top 10's a 3,8,9 and so I am happy enough with that." Commented Lynch, " I could have done better. I think a clear start – it was different in every race – was essential, I had two good starts but in the third race I had to play catch up. I was happy with my speed though. It has all been pretty good so far allround."

So far at this regatta it has seemed two cornered duel between the Irish Sailing Association Academy's Laser Radial duo, but Lynch cautions that such thoughts are not a concern at this stage:

" The rivaly is not just with Robbie, there are a bunch of good Irish guys but so I am not thinking about anyone in particular, maybe if we get to the last race. But I am not thinking anything about selection or rivalries just now. " " We are on the same squad. We are close but we have been sailing together for a lot of years, in Toppers before this, so it is a good rivalry."

" I really have not thought too much about the Worlds being here to be honest, it is race by race day by day for me." Concludes Lynch.

Gilmore summarised:

" It was tough out there, very tough on the mind, you having to think a lot with a very light breeze and very strong current which added another variable to it all. I am just happy that I was consistent enough, I had a fifth and ninth and an eighth.

It is all good fun, we have trained all winter together and are pretty equal. I don't mind the conditions. I would rather have a little more breeze than today.

In both of the first two races the left side of the course seemed to pay a lot on the first beat and I missed out on that. But on the second race I made a good comeback on the second beat and then came back to ninth.

Such consistency appeared more elusive in the 420 Class where the French duo Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Saipan lead the Chilean duo Nadja Horwitz and Franisca Fuentes after a 3,6,1 today.

Even on their home waters the Irish pairings at times struggled to keep their scores all in single figures today. Howth YC duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove returned to shore long faced after a disappointing 18th in their third race, even believing they would no longer be top of the Irish nationals fleet, but they retain that honour by a single point.

" We really did not have a good day." Reported helm Dickson, "We went the wrong way a couple of times. In every race the left paid and a couple of times we did not go far enough left. If you wanted to be in the top three in each race then you really had to invest a lot in the left. We had a bad last race but are still in the hunt."

The French leaders admit they are more used to finding light wind speeds in the choppy conditions of their native English Channel or 'Le Manche' off their native le Havre.

" It was not easy the wind was shifty and irregular, and usually the pressure was coming in from the left of the course." Said Pirouelle, "It was complicated tactically and so making a good start was essential. But we had good speed and that let us mostly do what we wanted tactically. We got a second, sixth and first. It is more choppy at home off Le Havre. It will be interesting here in July I am not sure that this weather is representative of what we will see, but it is interesting to learn the current."

In the Laser 4.7 Class, Welsh helm Matt Whitfield has eked out a a seven points lead with Baltimore's Mark Hassett the top Irish sailor in third after four races.

A perfect scoreline of three wins from three starts in the RS Feva's sees Conor Totterdell and Conor Maguire from the host clubs now with a comfortable overall lead while in the Topper fleet it is Liam Glynn of Ballyholme YC who leads by a single point after four races from National YC's Nicole Hemeryck.

The big Optimist fleet is split between Championship and Trials fleets. Peter Fagan of the National YC has a three points margin over the pursuing Kinsale duo of Michael O'Suilleabhain on 8pts and Michael Carroll on 9pts. The Trials are being lead by Royal Cork's Douglas Elmes who has won two of their three races.

ISA Mitsubishi National Youth Championships DAY TWO RESULTS:

420 Class after 4 races inc 1 discard:

1 G Piroulle/V Sipan (FRA, SNPH) 11pts, 2 N Horowitz/F Fuentes (CHI) 11pts, 3 J Poret/L Chevet (FRA, SNPH) 12pts. Irish: 8th: R Dickson/S Waddilove (Howth YC) 32pts, 10th P Crosbie/G Roberts (Royal Cork YC) 33pts, 11th A Hyland/B Staunton (Royal St. George YC) 35pts.

Laser Radial after 4 races inc 1 discard:

1 F Lynch (IRL, National YC) 19pts, 2 R Gilmore (IRL, Strangford Lough

YC) 22pts, 3 A McKenzie (NZL, Tamkai YC) 23pts, 4 C O'Regan (IRL, Kinsale YC) 26pts, 5 S Guilfoyle (IRL, Royal Cork YC) 27pts.

29er Class after 5 races inc 1 discard

1 T Rippey/A Munro (NZL/Tauranga YC) 6pts, 2 J Hawkins/C Thomas (GBR, Restronguet SC) 7pts, 3 O Bowerman/M Peach (GBR/Hayling Island SC) 9pts.

Laser 4.7 Class after 3 races:

1 M Whitfield (GBR/Penarth YC) 8pts, 2 R Auger (FRA/CN Claouey) 15pts,

3 M Hassett (Baltimore YC) 18pts

RS Feva Class after 3 races:

1 C Totterdell/C Maguire (IRL/Royal St George YC, National YC) 3pts, 2 N Henry/I Cahill (IRL/Royal St George YC) 8pts, 3 D Johnston/L Flynn-Byrne (IRL/Howth YC) 11pts.

Topper Class after 3 races:

1 L Glynn (IRL/Ballyholme YC) 7pts, 2 N Hemeryck (IRL/National YC) 8pts, 3 D Power (IRL/Waterford Harbour SC) 11pts

Optimist Championship Class: after 3 races:

1 P Fagan (IRL/National YC) 5pts, 2 M O'Suillebhain (IRL/Kinsale YC) 8pts, 3 M Carroll (IRL/Kinsale YC) 9pts

Optimst Trials, after 3 races:

1 D Elmes (IRL/Royal Cork YC, Waterford Harbour SC) 8pts, 2 R Coumane (IRL/Royal Cork YC/Kinsale YC) 14pts, 3 H Durcan (IRL/Royal Cork YC) 17pts.

Published in Youth Sailing

#JUNIOR SAILING – Laser, Feva, 420, Optimist and Topper fleets competed in the first sailing regattas on Dublin Bay at the weekend when The Royal St. George Yacht Club staged the the RSGYC Junior Spring Open. (Full results downloadable as attachments for the seven fleets below). Dublin Bay Dolphins accompanied the juniors for both days of the competition.

Howth's Richard Hogan won the 37-boat Optimist division even though the National Yacht Club's Daniel Raymond finished on the same overall points. Hogan's consistency paid off discarding his fourth place scored in the first race to count five individual podium results.

Over 100 dinghy sailors contested one of the season's first events on Dublin Bay with six races and ideal sailing conditions in Scotsman's side on the southern shore of Dublin bay. The event turned out to be a great curtain raiser to next month's Mitsubishi Youth Nationals and July's ISAF Youth World Championships.

Waterford's Dougie Power won the 16-point Topper fleet from Carlingford's Conor O'Farrell by a two points. Third was Courtown's Keving Harrington.

In the double handed classes there was only a six boat turnout in the RS Feva's which was won by the National Yacht Club's Conor Totterdell.  Malahide visitor Cara McDowell won the 420 class from Kate Lyttle of the host Club.

Two courses were run in the bay, whilst there was also a harbour course for the more junior of the Optimist sailors.

In the Laser 4.7 it was Conor O'Beirne from the George who won (counting four firsts and two seconds) followed by Helen Cooney from the NYC and Stephen Craig from the RSGYC. In the Radial class it was an all George affair with James Eggers followed by Frank Devlin and Sarah Hyland.

12 other clubs participated in the event – from Strangford and Carlingford going north to Wexford and Waterford going south including two sailors from Baltimore in West Cork. The Royal St. George now see the regatta as annual event now in the club calendar.

 Full results below downloadable as word docs



Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

#WESTLIFE – Sailors for this year's Mitsubishi Youth Sailing National Championships in April not only get the chance to win a place on the Irish team for the Dublin Bay Youth Worlds in July but now 'Early Bird' entries get a chance to sing along with pop group Westlife this summer too.

Enter the Dun Laoghaire event by March 16th and your name is in the hat for the Croke Park gig on June 22nd as Royal St. George organisers have two tickets to give away. Enter online here.

Published in Youth Sailing
Tagged under

#SAILOR OF THE MONTH – Sophie Browne of Tralee Bay and Royal Cork is Independent "Sailor of the Month" for January after taking the Silver Medal in the Girls Division in the Optimist Worlds in New Zealand. She added it to the Gold in the Girls, and fourth overall, which she won from an enormous fleet in the last major European regatta of 2011, at Palma, Mallorca in December.

oppie sophie

Sophie in action abroad in Palma (top) and at home


It's some going when you're just fourteen. Sophie is back at school now, trying to make up for lost study time. But if she gives it the same total dedication she put into each sailing campaign during recent years, she'll sail into a good leaving cert in due course.

Dedication is the name of the game, and the Browne family in Tralee are a byword for it. Normally, the adjudicators for the Sailor of the Month are very reluctant to make the award to the most junior helms. They grow up so quickly, there's something ephemeral about it all.

But even at only fourteen, there's nothing ephemeral about Sophie's success. Other kids may think too much about the glitzy side of championships, but Sophie Browne is well aware of the sheer hard work and unglamorous dedication which goes into that podium place.

After the big regatta in Palma in December, the European Optimist squad went out to New Zealand with high hopes. But the pre-Worlds and the Worlds were salutary experiences. Thoughtful observers were well aware of the rising talents of southeast Asia, and South America too, as well as New Zealand and Australia, but for most it was a daunting learning experience.

It's Singapore which is most clearly setting the pace. Kimberly Lim from the vibrant city-state was both top girl, and the new world champion. Sophie Browne was second in the girls, but was back in 13th overall. Yet she was still one of the best of the Europeans – the top British sailor, for instance, was back in 21st.

It's the first time a 14–year old helm has taken the monthly sailor title. We've had younger sailors sharing a title as crews on a Mirror dinghy, but this is the first driver. And we're certain sure it won't be the last we'll hear of Sophie Browne of Tralee Bay in international sailing.

#YOUTH SAILING – The Dublin Bay 2012 Youth world sailing championships sponsored by Four Star Pizza looks set to break the record for the most numbers of countries attending. The full list of 33 countries entered into the regatta so far is at the end of this post.

To date 102 nations have competed at previous ISAF Youth Worlds and that number is set to grow at Dublin Bay 2012 after Georgia, Madagascar and Qatar reserved equipment for the regatta.

Alongside the new trio, the Youth Worlds is set to welcome back Macedonian sailors, who have only made one appearance, which came in 2010 as well as Tunisian sailors whose single Youth Worlds appearance came in 2001.

The 2012 Youth Worlds will take place on Dublin Bay, based at Dun Laoghaire.

The horse-shoe shaped bay, open to the east and approximately six miles cross, allows for fair racing. The winds are predominantly driven by the North Atlantic weather systems passing over the country resulting in a prevailing south westerly breeze giving a range of sailing conditions. Dublin Bay is subject to tide and although the speed of the current is not excessive it is often of tactical importance. The size of the bay is capable of accommodating large fleets and multiple courses.

The Royal St George Yacht Club (RSGYC) will host the 2012 championship in association with its neighbouring clubs, the National Yacht Club (NYC) and the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC).

Open to competitors aged under 19 in the year of the championship (i.e. for Ireland, under 19 on 31 December 2012) in the events and equipment listed below (all supplied), the Youth Worlds occupies a unique place in the sailing calendar. Simply getting to the championship is a major achievement for most as entry is limited to one boat per nation, per event, meaning sailors first having to win through their national qualification series.

Countries entered in to Dublin Bay 2012 to date:

1 Australia

2 Belgium

3 Bermuda

4 Brazil

5 Chile

6 Colombia

7 Croatia

8 Czech Republic

9 Denmark

10 France

11 Georgia

12 Great Britain

13 Ireland

14 Isarael

15 Italy

16 Japan

17 Korea

18 Lithuania

19 Macedonia

20 Madgascar

21 Malaysia

22 Netherland Antilles

23 New Zealand

24 Peru

25 Poland

26 Portugal

27 Qatar

28 South Africa

29 Spain

30 Switzerland

31 Thailand

32 Tunusia

33 United States

#DUBLINBAY2012 – The organisers of Dublin Bay 2012, the ISAF Youth Worlds bound for the capital's waters in July kicked off the new year with an announcement of a title sponsor today. It's a fair achievement in the current climate and one that is being saluted across the Dun Laoghaire waterfront tonight.

ISAF Youth Worlds

Brian Craig, Chairman, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship 2012 ('Youth Worlds') is pictured with Annalise Murphy, Olympic sailor (Laser Radial Class) and Michael Holland, Chairman, Four Star Pizza at the announcement of Four Star's sponsorship of the event taking place in Dublin Bay this Summer.

The Youth Sailing World Championship announced Four Star Pizza as the title sponsor of the prestigious event that is coming to Ireland for the first time this Summer.  It will take place in Dublin Bay from Thursday 12th – Saturday 21st July.

400 sailors aged 16 – 19 years of age, accompanied by 150 coaches, from 60 nations representing six continents will sail in the Championship. 250 boats (including Laser Radials, 420's, RS:X's, SL16's and 29ers) will be raced by these sailors. It is expected that 10 Irish sailors will qualify to take part in the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. Entries have already been received from twelve nations including Brazil, UK, Georgia, Denmark, US, Belgium, France, Thailand, Macedonia, Croatia, Finland and Korea.

Speaking at the announcement of the sponsorship, Brian Craig, Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship Chairman said, 'After a competitive bidding process, Ireland is honoured to have been chosen to host this much celebrated event which is renowned for providing the world with its first glimpse of future sailing stars. We are equally honoured to welcome a great brand like Four Star Pizza as title event sponsor. Their investment will help us enormously in promoting the event and in turn promoting the very best in youth sailing in Ireland and across the world."

Also commenting on the sponsorship, Michael Holland, Chairman, Four Star Pizza said, "The Four Star Pizza network across Ireland which includes 37 outlets is delighted to have secured this sponsorship. This deal with help us to continue to leverage the Four Star Pizza brand which has a loyal following especially amongst 18 – 24 year olds so a partnership on a youth sailing event of this scale is a perfect fit for us. Four Star will do everything it can to support the organisers in making this a memorable and unique World Championship and making Ireland proud to have hosted it in 2012.'

The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship was first held in Sweden in 1971, has taken place every year since. The last three Championships were held in Brazil, Turkey and Croatia respectively. Throughout its history, the ISAF Youth Worlds has visited over 20 nations, covering every continent, and over 100 different nations have competed. Fifteen of the sailors who won medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are past medalists at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. France is currently the most successful nation, winning the ISAF Nations Trophy on a record 10 occasions and holding a record 62 medals: 20 Gold, 27 Silver and 15 Bronze.

Tomorrow's all Ireland sailing championships has been postponed again due to a high wind forecast

Following a meeting with the PRO and club Sailing Manager the conclusion was reluctantly reached that sailing would not be possible tomorrow (Saturday 26th). Weather forecasts for Saturday are predicting winds 30/40 knots, this is well in excess of the safe limit for the fleet of boats being provided by RSGYC. Met Eireann have Gale Warnings in effect for the weekend.


Outlook for a further 24 hours until 0600 Sunday 27 November 2011: Gale or strong gale force south to southwest winds veering west to northwest overnight. Rain or showers, heavy at times.

The decision is to POSTPONE the regatta until Saturday December 3rd as the winds seem to moderate from the middle of the week.

A change to the Notice of Race will be made to this effect.

Published in Youth Sailing

Recently crowned British National champion Finn Lynch from Co. Carlow is looking to add the World title to his list of achievements this summer. At the British nationals he beat a staggering 323 boats to take the title. Currently at the 124boat fleet in the Worlds he is lying joint 2nd after 6 races. More HERE


Published in Topper
22nd July 2010

Top Five Start for O'Dowd

Fresh from a top ten finish at the ISAF Youth Worlds, Dun Laoghaire sailor Matthew O'Dowd has started the Radial Youth World Championships in Largs with a second place finish.

The Laser fleet numbers some 210 boats, and has been split in three for the initial group stages. O'Dowd's second place in his 70-boat group puts him in fifth overall and sets a good tone for the rest of the regatta.

The Worlds, held in Largs, Scotland, lost its first day to light airs and had to wait until late in the afternoon yesterday to get racing in, whena steady, building northerly breeze trickled down the Clyde this afternoon allowing racing to commence. 

The conditions were far from what the senior Radial fleet experienced at their world championship the previous week when gusts of 40kts swept through the fleet, but adequate enough to allow the 320 competitors to enjoy the first tactical race of the series.

Sailing on ‘home waters’, it was good to see 16-year-old GBR sailor Elliot Hanson demonstrating why he is one of the hot favourites here this week. Hanson finished sixth on these same Clyde waters last week at the Laser Radial World Championships.  A former Topper UK national and world champion he benefited from the leading Hungarian’s windward mark-rounding error, and enjoyed a good race with Matthew O'Dowd (IRL), to win the one and only race of the day on the Boys’ course. Tadeusz Kubiak (POL) was also on top form winning Blue fleet, while Matthew Mollerus (USA) has made his intentions clear by winning the Red fleet.

On the girls’ course, set further to the north of Cumbrae, the situation was equally exciting with Julia Vallo Arjonilla (ESP) winning the first race in the Blue fleet and finishing third in Race 2 which puts her in a leading overall position. Pauline Barwinska (POL) snatched a win in Yellow fleet when Marketa Audyova (CZE) who crossed the line first, was deemed OCS.

Barwinska, fresh from competing at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Turkey is another race sharp sailor who showed she’s a real force to be reckoned with. She’s only been competing at international level for one year, so today’s result has given her a massive boost. The Japanese girls are also on top form with Manami Doi, and Momoko Tada taking wins in the second races (Yellow and Blue fleets).

Elliot Hanson (GBR): “We had quite tricky conditions to start with because the wind was up and down. I was second round the windward mark and then managed to chop and change with Matthew Odowd until the last run when I just managed to pull away. We started off with the most wind of the day at 12kts from the north generally. There were more pressure changes than shifts. The key today was to keep the speed up and reach the first windward mark in a decent position. But I think staying in the highest pressure was the key factor of the day. Some of the other British sailors did well today too and Cam Douglas – who was at the ISAF event, and John Currie who was second at the Youth Trials – are definitely two I’ll be watching out for this week.”


Full results from the event are HERE.


Published in Youth Sailing
Page 20 of 21

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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