Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Power From The Sea
Galway In Sights Of Wave Energy Firms Seeking Atlantic Power
#SeaPower - The power of the Atlantic Ocean will be put to the test next year as firms are in discussion to place wave energy devices in Galway Bay. The Irish Independent reports that the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland…
Exploration Licences Granted in Atlantic Margin Licensing Round
Minister for Natural Resources, Fergus O'Dowd, today announced the timing and outline of the next Atlantic Margin Oil and Gas Exploration Licensing Round. The full detail of the Round will be announced after a review of oil and gas fiscal…
Arklow Marine Launch 19m Offshore Wind-Farm Service Vessel
#WFSVlaunch- A third offshore Wind-Farm Service Vessel (WFSV) was launched in late September from Arklow Marine Services boatyard. The 19m newbuild vessel is the first of a new design which is intended for the upcoming Round 3 offshore sites for…
Wind-Farm Service Vessel Completes Another UK Based Charter
#WindFarmCraft – Wicklow based Island Shipping's 17 metre Wind-farm Service Vessel (WFSV) Island Panther has completed another charter in the North Sea. Island Panther had been working out of Hartlepool for a solid 75 days and recorded a 100% reliability.…
Russians Propose Tidal Power Dam For Strangford Lough
#PowerFromTheSea - Scenic Strangford Lough could be the site of an ambitious tidal power plant - if a proposal by a Russian energy firm comes to fruition. The Belfast Telegraph reports on what it calls the "bizarre plan" to construct…
Energy Chief Challenges Ireland to Become Global Maritime Leader
#powerfromthesea – A large crowd of 130 people gathered at the National Maritime College of Ireland for the Annual IMERC Conference to discuss how disruptive innovation can help Ireland realise its ocean potential. A disruptive innovation is an innovation which…
Belfast Harbour’s New Wind Terminal to Bring Huge Rewards
#DONGenergy - Belfast Harbour's new wind terminal assembly facility has created a fantastic opportunity for further inward investment, according to the head of one of the companies making turbines in the city. Keith Anderson, chief corporate Officer of ScottishPower, was…
Novel Catamaran Design Could Be Big Saver For Offshore Operations
#NewDesign - A new catamaran designed for servicing offshore drilling and energy platforms could help work crews get to where they're needed safety in some of the roughest seas. Wired's Autopia blog reports on the SHC Wavedancer, a proposed catamaran…
French Naval Defence Giant to invest €130m in OpenHydro
#OpenHydro- A French naval defence and energy-company, DCNS, has agreed a €130 million investment in OpenHydro, an Irish hydro-power firm. The Paris-based giant, which among its activiities includes building submarines, yesterday outlined its expansion plans for OpenHydro, a tech company…
Sea Power Projects Could Be Good for Marine Wildlife Says Report
#POWER FROM THE SEA - Marine-based renewable energy projects could be introduced without a damaging impact on marine wildlife, according to a new briefing paper from Friends of the Earth. Business Green reports on the paper from the environmental campaign…
Irish Ports to Capitalise on Offshore Renewable Energy Services
#ports – The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) says Irish Ports are in a good position to captialise on the growing demand for offshore renewable energy services. Last month Afloat reported that both Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources…
Haughey's Son Seeking Investors for Ocean Energy Project
#POWER FROM THE SEA - Conor Haughey is seeking €3 million investment in new wave power technology inspired by his father's attempts at making his private island self-sufficient, as the Sunday Independent reports. Haughey, son of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey,…
Buoy Takes Front Seat Row at Ocean Energy Conference
#OCEAN ENERGY – As previously reported the fourth International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) which concludes tomorrow at the Convention Centre Dublin, is where an Irish Lights buoy has been deployed facing the venue's prime river frontage, writes Jehan Ashmore.…
Offshore Wind Energy is the Future – Dublin Ocean Conference Hears
#oceanenergy – Both Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte TD and the Chairman of one of the world's leading developers of offshore wind energy, Eddie O'Connor of Mainstream Renewables has spoken of Ireland's unique position as a leader of…
Dublin Hosts Ocean Energy Conference
#POWER FROM THE SEA - The fourth International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) begins tomorrow Wednesday 17 October at the Convention Centre in Dublin's Docklands. Over 750 international experts and world-leading companies in ocean energy will gather in Ireland’s capital…
Key to Harnessing Ocean Energy is 'Evolution, Not Revolution'
#POWER FROM THE SEA - Martin McAdam of Aquamarine Power talks to The Irish Times about his company's efforts to harness power from the sea. The Edinburgh-based firm has spent a number of years and some £60 million (€74.5 million)…

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

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating