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IberBlue Wind, a joint venture focused on the development of floating offshore wind farm projects, is commencing operations in Spain and Portugal with the aim of becoming one of the leading players in the offshore market off the Iberian Peninsula.

The company presented its strategic plans for the market today in Madrid. Its three backers - Global Irish company Simply Blue Group and the Spanish companies Proes Consultores and FF New Energy Ventures - have collectively extensive international experience in renewable project development. Thanks to this alliance, IberBlue Wind has the capacity to take on all phases of floating offshore wind farm development.

Simply Blue Group is a global developer of floating offshore wind farms with projects in Ireland, UK, US, Poland, and Sweden. Simply Blue Group currently has a pipeline of 10GW of projects under development. As part of its growth strategy, the company is now expanding into the Spanish and Portuguese markets.

Proes Consultores is the specialised engineering and architecture division of the Amper Group, with broad experience in the marine and coastal engineering sectors. Proes Consultores offers engineering, industrial and technological services and has participated in the design of Kincardine, a floating wind project in Scotland. Proes is one of the companies integrated into the Amper Group, a multidisciplinary group that also counts amongst its subsidiaries, Nervión Offshore, a global leader in the construction and assembly of offshore wind farms.

The third member is FF New Energy Ventures, a leader in the development, construction, and operation of solar photovoltaic and renewable energy plants in Spain, which has incorporated offshore wind energy into its portfolio. It is currently developing solar PV, wind and BESS projects in Spain and Portugal, having so far created a portfolio of 2 GW between the two countries, with more than 0.5 GW with connection rights already secured.

Supported by the alliance of these three leading companies, IberBlue Wind will participate in the public auctions for offshore sites off Spain and Portugal and will undertake the early development and design of the projects in advance of the construction and commissioning of wind turbines. To this end, its aim is to develop around 2 GW of floating offshore wind capacity off the Iberian Peninsula, comprising wind farms each of 500MW or more.

Initially, IberBlue Wind will focus on two strategically selected regions. In Spain, it will start in Andalusia, where it aspires to lead the promotion of offshore wind energy as a new economic engine for the region; and Galicia, one of the communities with the greatest potential for this form of renewable energy. In Portugal, IberBlue Wind will focus on the central and northern parts of the country where there is an excellent wind energy resource.

Iberian offshore wind market leadership potential

During the launch, Adrián de Andrés, Vice President of IberBlue Wind, highlighted "the potential for Spain and Portugal to become world leaders in offshore wind generation, as both countries have excellent wind resources, a long history in coastal engineering and first-class public works".

IberBlue Wind can play a key role in delivering this goal because, as De Andrés said, "we can leverage our knowledge and experience acquired in floating offshore wind projects in Great Britain, Ireland and elsewhere, in the Iberian market.” In his speech, the Vice President also called for the Spanish government to be "more ambitious" in the tendering of offshore wind farms. In this context, he stated that the generation capacity of these facilities in Spain could reach more than 10GW in the long-term future.

This generation capacity is much higher than initially envisaged in the Roadmap for Offshore Wind and Marine Energy Development, which has set a target of between 1 and 3GW by 2030. The current draft of the Marine Spatial Plan assigns a space for offshore wind that only covers 0.8% of the available maritime space along its 8,000km of coastline; a density that he described as "conservative" if one considers that leading countries such as Scotland already allocate around 2.5%.

Regarding Portugal, Adrián de Andrés considers that its legislation "is ready to provide exclusive maritime space for wind energy, although a regulation is needed to establish the procedure for the auctioning of these development rights". In Portugal, which has 987 kilometres of coastline, the government has committed to producing 8GW of ocean renewable energy in the coming years, almost double the 5.6GW of current onshore wind power generation capacity.

Offshore energy, under discussion

The presentation also included the round table "Offshore wind: the challenge of blue energy in the Iberian market", with the participation of Juan Ramón Ayuso, Head of the Wind and Offshore Energy Department of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE); Tomás Romagosa, Technical Director of the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE); Antonio Sarmento, President of WavEC Offshore Renewables of Portugal and Dorleta Marina, Portfolio Director of IberBlue Wind.

The experts analysed the current legislative context in Spain and Portugal and explained the main challenges facing the sector in the coming years.

About IberBlue Wind

IberBlue Wind is a joint venture developing offshore floating wind farm projects for the Iberian market. The partners are Simply Blue Group, a leader in offshore floating wind energy globally, and Spanish companies Proes Consultores, the engineering division of Grupo Amper, and FF New Energy Ventures (FF NEV), a developer of renewable projects. IberBlue’s objective is to help Spain and Portugal position themselves as leaders in this field of renewable energies.

Using its knowledge of the market and its extensive experience in the area of offshore wind farm development, IberBlue Wind will take advantage of the greater intensity of offshore wind to generate clean and efficient electricity from renewable sources.

To this end, IberBlue Wind aims to develop around 2GW of offshore wind energy capacity off the peninsula comprised of wind farms each of 500MW or more.

Published in Environment

Energy ministers linked to the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) and the European Commission have pledged a “significant increase in their collective ambition” in the deployment of offshore renewable energy.

Nine NSEC countries, including Ireland, which met in Dublin today under the Irish co-presidency, agreed on what they describe as “aggregate, non-binding offshore renewable energy targets for the maritime area of the entire NSEC region”.

The nine NSEC countries have agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050.

This will represent more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition to reach 300GW by 2050.

The NSEC is a regional non-binding and voluntary EU cooperation framework which aims to advance the development of offshore renewable energy in the geographical area of the North Seas, including the Irish and Celtic Seas.

The nine NSEC countries have agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050The nine NSEC countries have agreed to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy by 2050

It is associated with a political declaration adopted in 2016, and members including Ireland are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission.

The group reiterated their commitment that cooperation within the NSEC will be the framework for achieving their increased offshore ambitions.

Commenting at the meeting, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan said that “in Ireland alone our sea area is seven times our landmass”.

“The North Atlantic and North Sea comprise some of the windiest locations on the globe. It is our greatest collective resource of continuous energy and it is momentous that we have agreed today to be ambitious in our targets, as a collective,”he said.

“ Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the consequential energy price shock and security of supply crisis has shown us how crucial it is that we move away, as quickly as possible, from our reliance on expensive and ransomed fossil fuels,”Ryan said.

“ It has also shown us how important unity across the European Union has been in responding to this crisis. When it comes to realising the potential of offshore wind, again, it is best that we work in unity, that we set agreed targets, and that we operate as a collective,”he said.

“With this approach, we can provide assurances to householders and businesses – in our own countries and across Europe – that firstly, Europe will be energy independent, and secondly, that these new renewable energy sources and resultant hydrogen from our seas will be fairly shared and, critically, will be affordable,” he said.

EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson said that the commitment is “a great example of the kind of regional cooperation that the Commission envisaged in our Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy”.

“It is impressive that the target agreed by nine NSEC countries constitutes more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition we outlined two years ago. The green energy transition has only become more urgent since Russia's invasion of Ukraine,”Simson said.

“The acceleration of renewables deployment is one of the three pillars of the REPowerEU Plan to end our dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Increasing renewable energy will not only help to improve the sustainability of our energy sector, it will improve our security of supply and the affordability of energy – two challenges that we are facing in the EU at the moment,”Simson said

The EU ambition of achieving 300 GW of offshore wind by 2050 is as set out in the EU strategy for offshore renewable energy.

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Oceanographers at Bangor University in Wales are calling for research into the environmental impact of turbulence caused by tidal flow past floating deep-water wind farms.

New research is needed to fully understand how locating varying types of wind turbines could affect not only the seabed, but the waters, and everything they contain, according to Dr Ben Lincoln of Bangor University.

Britain leads offshore wind energy production globally, with current power generation meeting one-third of the national demand (~10GW), and floating wind in deep shelf sea areas has been identified as a major route in the “net zero” goal.

A current target to produce 50GW by 2030 is an increase of 67% on the target set just 12 months ago.

However, Dr Lincoln and fellow researchers notes that offshore sites at a depth of over 50 metres are very different in nature to shallow coastal sites used so far.

They say that with an additional 20,000 wind turbines set to be built in British water, there is a need to ensure full awareness of the positive and negative effects their presence could have on the surrounding environment.

“Our shelf seas are fully mixed during winter, but during summer months the deeper regions stratify, with a warm surface layer overlying the cooler water below,”Dr Lincoln has said in a statement.

“ This triggers a phytoplankton bloom which can be seen from space and forms the base of the marine food chain, supporting fish, seabirds and whales,”he explains.

“ During summer months following the spring bloom, phytoplankton growth is supported by nutrients stirred up from below by turbulence associated with wind and tides. This turbulence also mixes oxygen down to the deep water, where it is required for other key biological processes,”he notes.

A diagram shows the potential impact of wind infrastructure mixing in stratified water. Flow past the floating foundations show a wider area of possible mixing between the surface and deep waters behind the tethered turbines sited in the deeper water and beyondA diagram shows the potential impact of wind infrastructure mixing in stratified water. Flow past the floating foundations show a wider area of possible mixing between the surface and deep waters behind the tethered turbines sited in the deeper water and beyond

“Environmental assessments for the shallow shelf seas have focused on wildlife using or living within the affected areas. The difference with the deeper seas is that the fundamental functioning of the seas themselves could be affected,” Lincoln says.

“Turbulent mixing determines the timing and rate of the food supply on which marine ecosystem and key species rely. Flow past deep water wind farms will introduce ‘anthropogenic’ or man-made turbulence, and increase mixing,”he says.

“ This fundamental change could lead to significant regional impacts, which must be assessed. However, impacts are not necessarily negative, with the potential to enhance productivity and offset the impact of increasing stratification due to climate change,”he says.

“There’s no doubt that this growth in renewable energy is essential to meet global 2050 net zero commitments,” he says.

More details are in a research paper: Anthropogenic Mixing in Seasonally Stratified Shelf Seas by Offshore Wind Farm Infrastructure, published in Frontiers.

Published in Power From the Sea

Master mariner Capt Robert McCabe has been appointed to chair the Government’s first seafood/offshore renewable energy working group.

The two-year appointment was confirmed by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien.

Delays in establishing the working group had led to recent warnings by fishing industry representatives that both sectors could be on a “collision course”.

Capt McCabe has extensive maritime experience in a variety of senior roles during a 35-year career with the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL).

He served as first master of the ILV Granuaile, before later being appointed to several management positions in CIL, including assistant inspector, deputy head of marine, head of marine, and director of operations and navigation.

He has also served as the president of the Irish Chamber of Shipping and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICoS), and is a current member of a number of marine bodies, including the Nautical Institute and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Mr O’Brien said that the seafood/offshore renewable energy (ORE) working group has been established to “facilitate discussion on matters arising from the interaction of the seafood and offshore renewable energy industries, to promote and share best practice, and to encourage liaison with other sectors in the marine environment”.

He said that Capt McCabe brings extensive knowledge of both the seafood and ORE sectors, having previously worked with both in relation to maritime navigational safety.

“His work has enabled him to gain an extensive knowledge of the Irish coast and maritime activity across all sectors, and he brings a record of effective delivery of offshore engineering and navigation safety projects, which will prove valuable within the setting of this group,” he said.

‘’I’m delighted to appoint someone of Robert’s vast experience and capability to this position. Throughout his career, Robert has demonstrated the type of qualities that this group requires, working with diverse marine groups to achieve win-win solutions by showing leadership, drive and determination to succeed,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I also note that his specific expertise in safety at sea will prove extremely beneficial to the work of the group as the group progresses,” he said, wishing him “the best of luck”.

The appointment has been welcomed by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan and Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

Published in Marine Planning
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Rosslare is the latest Irish port to make its pitch as a hub for offshore renewable energy.

Hot on the heels of Ros-a-Mhíl and Galway port, Rosslare Europort wants to highlight its role in the multi-million euro energy sector.

Port owner Iarnród Éireann is to host an event on Friday, April 22nd, where it will discuss its role as “Ireland’s gateway to Europe”.

It will also present its vision for the southeast and its location as an offshore renewable energy hub.

Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade and Rosslare Europort general manager Glenn Carr will welcome speakers, including director of Ireland South East Development Office, Alan Quirke and Wind Energy Ireland head of policy, Niall Goodwin.

Dr Karen Hennessy, head of the Wexford Campus of Institute of Technology Carlow, will also participate, along with Iarnród Éireann’s assistant director of new works, Ciaran Browne.

Published in Rosslare Europort

While Killybegs harbour is synonymous with the fisheries sector a new video released by Ronan Renewables shows just how the County Donegal port is increasingly catering to the renewable energy sector.

While home to a large portion of the Irish fishing fleet in the winter months, the port is also ideal for affordable import/export and storage for a range of industries.

With open Atlantic ocean access, Killybegs harbour also offers 24/7 ships agency, stevedoring and storage facilities at its 300m pier of 12m draft.

Ronan Group Renewables, headed by Sligo sailor Conor Ronan, who operate out of Killybegs, are directly and indirectly responsible for 200 MW of installed capacity across its onshore assets.

Check out the video below.

Published in Power From the Sea

The Department of Transport has published a Policy Statement setting out the strategy for commercial ports to facilitate offshore renewable energy activity in the seas around Ireland.

The document will also assist Ireland’s commercial TEN-T ports in applying for EU funding to develop new infrastructure.

It’s part of a series of Government measures to prepare for a massive expansion of offshore renewable energy (ORE), including the passing last week of the Maritime Area Planning Bill.

The Programme for Government set a target for 70% of electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2030 and for 5GW of offshore wind by 2030. The Climate Action Plan published on 4th November 2021 (CAP 21) has since increased the target to up to 80% renewable electricity by 2030.

Both plans also set out how Ireland will take advantage of the potential of at least 30GW of floating offshore wind power in our deeper waters in the Atlantic.

Given Ireland’s increased ambition in ORE and pending a review of overall national ports policy, the Department of Transport — in conjunction with the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) — conducted an assessment of the options for Irish State ports to facilitate the ORE sector and assist in Ireland achieving its emission reduction targets.

On receiving the recommendations of that assessment, the Minister for Transport has decided that a multi-port approach will be required.

A number of ports will be required to provide facilities for the different activities at several locations around the country and at different times for the various phases of the fixed and floating ORE developments.

The department says this will maximise the economic benefits at both regional and national level in terms of job creation and new SME enterprises in areas such as engineering, fabrication, transport and logistics, and other technologies.

Touting Ireland’s ORE resources as “one of the best…globally”, the department adds that there is very significant potential in utilising these resources to generate carbon-free renewable electricity and in time develop an export market in green energy.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said: “Offshore renewable energy developments will typically require both large-scale port infrastructure for project deployment and smaller-scale port facilities to provide ongoing operation and maintenance services.

“Around the Irish coast, ORE projects will develop in several phases. To meet Ireland’s target of 5GW by 2030, it is clear that more than one port will be required. This will mean new jobs and new businesses in and near our ports, to support the development of offshore wind at various locations, beginning on the east coast and expanding to the west coast at a later stage.

“This approach is best suited to deliver the offshore renewable energy targets set out in the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan 21, and to position Ireland to take advantage of the economic opportunity created by the roll out of both fixed and floating offshore wind in Irish waters.

“This Policy Statement makes it clear to the offshore industry that the Government is committed to the provision of port facilities in Ireland for ORE developments, and I would encourage our TEN-T ports to apply for the EU funding that has recently been made available for this sector.”

A number of ports and private entities are already progressing plans to provide the facilities and infrastructure required to assist the ORE sector to develop in Ireland.

Plans underway include preparations for the provision of large-scale deployment facilities at Rosslare Europort and at Cork Dockyard facility (formerly Verolme Dockyard) located within the limits of the Port of Cork.

Drogheda Port is also proposing developing large-scale deepwater port facilities on the East Coast and Shannon Foynes Port Company and ESB are planning large-scale development within the Shannon Estuary.

Wicklow and Arklow have already entered arrangements with individual ORE project developers to serve as operation and maintenance bases.

The department also indicates that there will be opportunities for other ports such as the ports of Waterford, Galway, Bantry under the Port of Cork and the Fishery Harbour Centres of Ros an Mhíl, Killybegs and Castletownbere which are under the remit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Department of Transport says it will establish a ports co-ordination Group to coordinate port responses and maintain policy alignment.

A cross-departmental Offshore Renewable Energy Team, chaired by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, is being established to capture wider economic and business opportunities associated with the development of offshore renewables in Ireland. This will include the identification of supporting infrastructure development and supply chain opportunities as Ireland’s offshore wind industry is developed.

The full Policy Statement Facilitation of Offshore Renewable Energy by Commercial Ports in Ireland is available to read on Gov.ie HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

An Irish renewable energy consortium that has built the world’s strongest tidal blade has teamed up with an Alaskan community to provide 100 per cent of its electricity needs from its local river.

As Times.ie reports today, technologists based at ÉireComposites in Indreabhán, Connemara are working with US-Irish partners Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) to build the second of two river energy systems for the residents of Igiugig in Alaska.

A single river generator system comprising two turbines is already providing some 50 per cent of the village’s electricity needs.

The Igiugig community of about 70 people is located about 200 miles south-west of Anchorage.

ORPC Director of European Operations James Donegan credited the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for funding the design of the “RivGen” turbines.

The system was installed with support from the US Department of Energy and the European Commission.

“Working with the Igiugig village council was ideal, as this community currently pays about ten times the normal cost of electricity,” Donegan explained.

The system has been so successful that a second is under construction, and this will ensure the village has 100 per cent of its electricity needs, he said.

The “RivGen” turbine system also holds the record for the longest operating current energy converter in the US, according to ÉireComposites chief executive officer Tomás Flanagan.

His staff visited Alaska for the first turbine deployment several years ago, and are now working on the second system for the community.

ÉireComposites has also built the world’s strongest tidal blade, which has been tested in the large structures testing laboratory in the MaREI Centre at NUI Galway.(NUIG)

Prof James Goggins of NUIG said that a static load equivalent to over 100 tonnes or the weight of ten double-decker buses was applied to the tidal turbine blade.

This was the highest load to be reported ever in the world, Goggins explained.

Read more on Times.ie here

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Seven offshore renewable energy projects have been designated as ‘Relevant Projects’ by the Ministers for Urban Development and Climate Action and approved for transition to the upcoming new marine planing regime.

These are offshore wind projects that either applied for or were granted a lease under the Foreshore Act 1933, or offshore wind projects that are eligible to be processed to receive a valid grid connection offer.

The seven projects that have been approved include two by Innogy Renewables, at Bray and Kish Banks; two comprising the Codling Wind Park off Co Wicklow; Fuinneamh Sceirde Teoranta’s Skerd Rocks scheme off Connemara; and the North Irish Sea Array and Oriel Wind Farm, both off Co Louth.

The approval aims to further the objectives of the Climate Action Plan, which commits to increasing our offshore wind capacity to 3.5GW as part of our overall ambition to reach 70% renewable energy by 2030.​

Urban Development Minister Damien English said: “I am pleased to announce a way forward for these offshore renewable energy projects which will now be determined under the planning regime to be introduced in the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, 2020.

“Under this new marine planning regime, these projects will apply for final development consent to An Board Pleanála which will provide further opportunities for public consultation on the individual projects.”

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton added: “This now sets out a clear development path for these offshore wind projects which will play a key role in decarbonising our electricity system.

“This is a clear example of the Government’s determination to deliver on our climate and renewable energy ambitions to deliver 70% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.”

The announcement means that these projects can continue to work and update a number of aspects to put them in a position to apply under the new marine planning regime, once enacted, which will be introduced by the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill 2020.

Published in Marine Planning

The Aran Islands were this week among six offshore communities across the European Union to publish their plans to transition to clean energy, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann Teo (CFOAT) helped develop the transition plan that was published in tandem with the Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum held in Croatia from 20-22 November.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the local energy co-operative has set an ambitious target for the islands to be self-sustainable for energy generated from the waves, wind and sun by 2022.

CFOAT manager Avril Ní Shearcaigh said the plan “acts as a road map for the islands as we pursue our goal of carbon neutrality by 2022, and reflects the enthusiasm and drive of our community to be more sustainable and self-sufficient”.

That drive to become “energy independent” took on a new urgency in 2016 when Isis Meáin and Inis Oírr lost their connection to the national grid for several weeks.

Emergency generators were shipped in after almost 400 residents were left without power for four days by the undersea cable fault.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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