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Displaying items by tag: Offshore Wind Energy

Ireland has signed up to a European wind charter to develop offshore and onshore wind.

Part of the charter involves signing a voluntary “wind pledge” committing to deliver targets for 2024 to 2026, and pledging indicative targets for 2030 and after.

Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan, who signed the charter, said that it “reflects the ongoing coordinated effort and common vision across European countries to ensure the transition to clean energy is resilient, sustainable and goes hand-in-hand with industrial competitiveness”.

“With the wind energy sector facing some recent challenges, this is another example of the collective commitment that exists across Europe to deliver renewable wind energy targets,” he said.

The charter builds upon the recent European Wind Power Action Plan published by the European Commission last October, which aims to support EU companies in the wind sector and improve their competitiveness.

Renewable wind energy is seen as an important resource for Europe's decarbonisation plans and is potentially the largest domestic source of electricity that can replace volatile imported fossil fuels.

“Ireland is expecting to reach 4,812MW of onshore wind by year-end, and the State’s onshore wind sector will continue to be one of the leading cost-effective technologies to achieve its renewable electricity targets whilst awaiting the development of offshore wind,” Ryan’s department said.

The pledge’s indicative targets for 2030 and post-2030 “complements the recent publication by the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) of long-term plans by its members, including Ireland, towards the development of offshore wind up to 2040”, it said.

Ireland’s total offshore wind target for 2040 (including the Atlantic basin) remains 20GW.

Published in Power From the Sea
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Co-operation, mutual understanding and respect amongst all involved in offshore wind energy development is the best way forward for this island nation. It is a welcome and important step in this process and the protection of traditional fishing grounds that fishing representative organisations say they have been given a guarantee that they will be consulted and involved in the drawing up of the South Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan and they are satisfied with that.

This has emerged from consultations about the proposal by the Department, which was announced last July. It proposed wind energy development is in a marine space of about 8,600 square kilometres, stretching along the Cork coastline into Waterford and Wexford.

Eight major fishing organisations representing catching, fish-farming, processing, and inshore sectors - the Irish South and East Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, the National Inshore Fishermen’s Association, the South East Regional Inshore Fisherman's Forum and IFA Aquaculture –made a joint submission to the Department.

Proposed South Coast Maritime AreaProposed South Coast Maritime Area

John Lynch, Chief Executive of the Irish South and East Coast Fish Producers’ Organisation, told me: “We want to be involved. No fishermen is happy with ORE (offshore renewable energy) coming into their fishing grounds, but we have to be involved in what is going to happen and it appears that this is now accepted, which is important for the industry.”

Paul Gallagher of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications for Offshore Energy Long Term Strategic Planning, said: “The State, in co-operation with local communities and with consideration for other maritime activities, including fishing, seafood production and environmental protection, will determine the appropriate location for future offshore wind developments.”

Up to now the wind energy development industry has led the debate, calling for rapid planning decisions. Several of the development areas suggested are on traditional fishing areas, which could have huge, potentially damaging economic consequences for coastal communities and the seafood industry.

“I am happy enough that we will be consulted. This is only right for fishermen and the correct way to proceed,” John Lynch said. “Ireland’s seafood industry recognises that an orderly development of offshore wind energy is critical to the future relationship between the seafood and offshore renewable industries. That relationship is essential if the State is going to meet its targets for ORE development,” said Mr.Lynch.

Further consultation about the development will be held in the New Year. A date for the next statutory phase of the Draft DMAP will be finalised in early 2024 and communicated by the Department.

Published in Marine Planning

The ESB and Shannon Foynes Port have announced a funding collaboration for a €250k study at MaREI — the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine at University College Cork (UCC) — in the latest step towards helping Ireland to deliver floating offshore wind (FLOW) projects in the future.

Starting this month, the focus of the research will be to examine the requirements and identify potential sites for wet storage, which is the temporary offshore storage of floating offshore wind turbines in suitable areas prior to installation.

This is a key requirement for facilitating floating offshore wind, which will be a fundamental technology in Ireland reaching its offshore renewable targets.

Research will take place over two phases. The first phase will consist of understanding the key conditions and constraints associated with the development and identification of suitable wet storage sites, while phase two will focus on the technical challenges of designing sites in terms of the optimum layout and mooring configuration.

The aim of the study is to identify and inform considerations for the future FLOW industry that are required at an economic, environmental, societal and policy level in Ireland and also, to set a benchmark for best international practice through close academic and industry collaboration.

Ronan O’Flynn, ESB programme director for Green Atlantic @ Moneypoint said: “We understand the importance that floating offshore wind projects are going to play in both Ireland achieving its ambitious renewable energy targets and ESB delivering on our commitment to reach net zero by 2040.

“Research such as this, carried out by our partners MaREI and supported by Shannon Foynes Port, will help the entire industry to better understand what is required for crucial wet storage facilities that will allow floating offshore wind projects to be delivered at scale.”

‘This project will be an important enabler for the emerging floating wind energy sector in Ireland’

Pat Keating, CEO at Shannon Foynes Port said: “Our partnership with the ESB on funding this research will help underpin understanding in the key area of wet storage, in which [the] Shannon Estuary will be a major provider of as we go about harvesting the unprecedented opportunity for not just our region and State arising from floating offshore wind.

“Because of the estuary’s existing deepwater ports at Foynes and Moneypoint, wet storage space and available land for large-scale industrial development, we are one of few locations in Europe that can manufacture floating turbines at the scale necessary for commercialisation.”

Dr Jimmy Murphy, funded investigator in MaREI and senior lecturer in the School of Engineering in UCC, said: “This project will be an important enabler for the emerging floating wind energy sector in Ireland and will allow strategic planning decisions to be made related to the efficient deployment of floating windfarms.

“MaREI has a track record of research and development in floating wind and welcomes this collaboration with ESB and Shannon Foynes Port to address the challenge of identifying potential wet storage locations and optimising design layout.”

Ireland’s offshore wind energy potential arising from our Atlantic seaboard winds is among Europe’s leading renewable energy opportunities, the partners suggest.

With a maritime area more than seven times the size of its landmass, ideal wind conditions and strategic location on the Atlantic Ocean's edge, floating offshore wind generation has the potential to deliver up to 30 gigawatts of energy by 2050 — six times more than current domestic electricity demand.

MaREI will provide the research expertise along with the various tools required for the study which is aligned with their core research principles. ESB and Shannon Foynes Port will provide funding support and industry knowledge for the study which is in line with ESB’s Net Zero by 2040 strategy and Shannon Foynes Port’s Vision 2041 masterplan.

Published in Power From the Sea

The Government’s promise of consultation and involvement of the fishing industry in the development of offshore wind farms is not being delivered on according to South East Coast fishermen, who claim that consultation and discussion, which was promised, has turned out to be a “cosmetic approach” for public relations purposes, without meaningful engagement.

The Chief Executive of the Irish South and East Coast Fish Producers’ Organisation, John Lynch, a fishing boat owner himself, says that “picking the site for a wind farm is one thing, but picking the actual location of the turbines is another and of great importance for fishermen and the fishing grounds.”

John Lynch is Chief Executive of the Irish South and East Coast Fish Producers’ OrganisationJohn Lynch is Chief Executive of the Irish South and East Coast Fish Producers’ Organisation

"Picking the site for a wind farm is one thing, but picking the actual location of the turbines is another"

It was very interesting, at the World Ocean Day Conference, in discussion with representatives of environmental organisations, that they expressed concern to me about the same topic as fishermen - an emerging maritime spatial squeeze affecting all marine users.

Kilmore Quay Harbour and marinaKilmore Quay Harbour and marina

On this week’s Podcast, John Lynch says that the fishing industry is willing to engage with wind farm developers on the way forward, but it “must be meaningful engagement, not just being told about plans without our concerns being listened to.”

“Promises were made, but so far, the fishing industry has been offered nothing, nothing, and this is not what was indicated,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of marine spatial squeeze. We will have massive squeeze in the Irish Sea particularly.”

He is my Podcast interviewee this week. Listen to the Podcast here.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) is to host its second annual seafarers’ conference on the theme of offshore wind and the fishing industry in Limerick next February.

The hybrid event is sponsored by Simply Blue Group, the offshore wind energy developer, on the theme “Thriving Fishing, Thriving Offshore Wind, Thriving Ports”, and will run during the Skipper Expo.

Speakers at the event on February 23rd, 2023 in the Castletroy Park Hotel will include BIM interim chief executive officer Caroline Bocquel, Wind Energy Ireland chief executive Noel Cunniffe, State Chief Surveyor Brian Hogan at the Marine Survey Office, and Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) project co-ordinator Norah Parke.

Topics for discussion will include exploring what the fishing industry needs to thrive; the policy regime for renewable energy; implementation of the Government’s future skills needs report; the ecosystem impacts of offshore wind farms; and the future for Ireland’s fishing ports.

Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said he was “enthused to see the conference appended to The Skipper Expo as it provides an ideal forum within which seafarers and offshore wind developers can meet and discuss a coexistent future”.

“To ensure a sustainable seafood industry in parallel with Ireland meeting its climate action targets, the protection of biodiversity and the building of the necessary skills to achieve all of this, I encourage delegates to co-create solutions towards a sustainable, safe, and secure future for all,”he said.

Simply Blue Group director of external affairs and stakeholder liaison Captain Brian Fitzgerald said that “if ever Ireland needed its mariners and coastal communities to work together to co-create a sustainable future, it is now”.

“Let this Conference be a place to have an open and frank discussion on the challenges ahead, while enabling our ability to plot our own course and navigate towards a sustainable future for the next generation,”Fitzgerald said.

NMCI head of college Cormac Gebruers said the college was delighted to “get on the road” and host the 2023 Seafarer Conference in Limerick in association with The Skipper Expo.

“Preparing for Ireland’s future maritime skills needs most especially in the offshore wind sector is a central consideration for the NMCI. We very much look forward to discussing this with Ireland’s seafarers,”he said.

Published in Power From the Sea

An environmental group has expressed fears that the Government is prioritising industry-funded offshore wind and wave energy projects over its international commitments on marine protected areas.

As The Times reports, the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has questioned why legislation is already advanced on designating marine areas for renewable energy, but has omitted provision for marine protected areas (MPAs) as originally promised.

Under the Government’s Climate Action Plan, 70% of Ireland’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy by 2030 and it says least 3,500 MW (megawatts) of this will come from offshore wind.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney welcomed Shell’s return to the Irish energy market through offshore energy.

The multinational, which developed the controversial Corrib gas project in Mayo, has acquired a 51% share in Irish company Simply Blue Energy’s floating wind farm in the Celtic Sea.

Offshore renewable projects will be regulated by a Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, currently before the Oireachtas.

The IWT says this Bill was meant to provide also for MPAs to protect sensitive habitats beyond the 12 nautical mile limit, but says this was omitted and separate legislation will now be required.

An advisory group report published this week by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien confirms there is no definition of an MPA in Irish law and this is a “gap which needs to be addressed”.

The current Programme for Government (2020) includes a commitment to expand Ireland’s network of MPAs to 10% of its maritime area as soon as is practical - and to meet a higher target of MPAs constituting 30% of its maritime area by 2030.

“Our fear is that wind farms will be approved offshore, and MPAs then “fitted in-between”, IWT project officer Regina Classen says.

The provisions of the Wildlife Acts, as amended, are limited in terms of their geographic scope, applying only to the foreshore, the advisory report says.

It says that while it is “at one” with the aim of protecting biodiversity in crisis, creating a sustainable future, and meeting climate change challenges, implementation will be “contentious”, there could be trouble ahead if it is not correctly handled.

The approach has to be “in a manner respectful of the needs of people and communities, as well as to the environment of which they are a part”, it warns.

The report doesn’t recommend locations of proposed MPAs, but summarises relevant thinking about designating these sea areas in an Irish context - and recommends how the existing small network in Irish waters could be expanded..

The group was chaired by Prof Tasman Crowe of the UCD Earth Institute and involved 20 experts in life and ocean sciences, marine socio-economics, maritime culture, governance and legislation.

A spokesman for the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said that in line with Programme for Government commitments, it “ intends to begin developing legislation on the identification, designation and management of MPAs this year”.

This would be “ informed by the extensive public consultation to come and the resulting information”, the spokesman said, adding that five months would allow for extensive consultation.

Read more in The Times here

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The photomontage published in Afloat a week ago of 60 'supersize' wind turbines planned for Dublin Bay should raise substantial debate about the impact of offshore wind farms on Irish waters and the activities in them – sailing, leisure marine, fishing and commercial.

There are so many proposals now being forward, with billions of Euros involved, in response to the Government's stated intention to drive forward wind energy, that it becomes challenging to keep track of them all. "Public consultation" is promised, but what does that exactly mean and how effective is this process?

The proposal for the Kish and Bray Banks is about six nautical miles offshore, so for many leisure mariners that might not seem to be considered as a major issue, or problem. However, the 60 turbines would be 310 metres in height - over a thousand feet - pretty substantial on the seascape.

Dublin Array: Likely view from Dún Laoghaire towards Sandycove and out towards the Kish Bank.Dublin Array: Likely view from Dún Laoghaire towards Sandycove and out towards the Kish Bank.

The Arklow Bank Wind Park, as it's called, is also six miles offshore. Phase 2, for 76 turbines, is under public consultation and there is a lease area 27 km long and 2.5 km wide.

The developers of these and other projects have initiated public consultation. Projects are promoted as essential for energy and environmental purposes, but there is less, if any, reference in publicity to the profits.

So what does "consultation" mean?

Too often, as a journalist, it seems to me that "consultation" is seen by developers as a necessary process to be gone through, indicating that the public has been consulted. But with what effect? Is debate sufficiently focused on the effects on leisure, sailing, fishing, commercial, marine life, species? Is there not a need, in response to the proliferation of proposals, for more widespread debate and more intensive focus, practical discussion and a wider, co-operative approach and not only through the State process administered and controlled by officialdom >

In this regard, I have been talking to the man who has bought Crosshaven Boatyard in Cork Harbour to set up a business "to service the future needs of offshore wind farms." Pearse Flynn of Green Rebel Marine has set up a "strategic partnership" with Fisheries Liaisons Ltd., to develop communication "with the wider marine and fishing community as development of offshore wind farms picks up pace." It seems an interesting approach to "consultation."

Listen to him on the Podcast below.

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Cork harbour could become central to Ireland’s development as an international centre for hydrogen energy technology, a new offshore wind blueprint by the Eirwind consortium forecasts.

As The Irish Examiner reports today, Ireland could be exporting bulk hydrogen as part of an offshore renewable expansion.

The Eirwind strategy to 2050 identifies a number of challenges, and calls for Government commitment to specific incentives, marine planning legislation and “transparent” decision-making.

Eirwind is an industry-led, collaborative research project involving University College Cork (UCC) which has been working on a 30-year strategy for harnessing offshore wind energy.

It describes floating offshore wind technology as a “game changer,” and the period 2020 to 2030 as a “defining decade” for investing in green hydrogen and grid reinforcement.

The new Programme for Government has raised a target of 3.5 gigawatt (GW) energy production from offshore wind to five GW by 2030, and specifies the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea for development. It also signals that 30 GW could be derived from the Atlantic coast.

The Eirwind blueprint identifies three “production zones” - the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea and Atlantic Coast- and is expected to recommend master plans for ports from Rosslare, Co Wexford round to Killybegs, Co Donegal,to support offshore wind and wave development.

The report identifies the fishing industry as “the primary stakeholder”,and is expected to recommend that a joint forum between the fishing and offshore wind sectors be established .

It says the recently completed Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, along with the related Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, need to be prioritised.

Eirwind, based at the MaREI centre in UCC is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, and companies include Brookfield, DP Energy, ESB, Equinor, Engie, EDPR, Enerco, Simply Blue, SSE and Statkraft.

More from the Examiner here

Published in Power From the Sea

Coastal communities have been given just three weeks to respond to a consultation on developing a network of offshore wind farms to meet Ireland’s climate targets.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton has given a closing date of July 1st for views on how to scale up renewable energy output through offshore wind.

Under the Government’s Climate Action Plan, 70% of Ireland’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy by 2030.

At least 3,500 MW (megawatts)of this will come from offshore wind, Mr Bruton has said, which is “enough to power over three million homes”.

“It is crucial that we put in place a model that allows us to scale up and realise the changes required,” Mr Bruton said.

A consultancy report, published by Mr Bruton, outlines four options - ranging from a “developer-led” scenario, where each project would design its own connection to a more centralised “plan-led” offshore transmission development with more State involvement.

There has been some surprise within the renewables sector at the report’s release and short timeline for consultation while Government formation talks are still in train – talks which could affect the climate targets.

The selected model will be aligned with Ireland’s new National Marine Planning Framework, and the development consent regime for the maritime area as set out in the Maritime Planning and Development Management legislation, he said.

The report by Navigant consultants, based in the Netherlands, examines how other European countries approach offshore grid planning and outlines four variants of “developer-led” and “plan-led” approaches that might suit Ireland.

Under the “developer-led” model, applied in Britain, developers would prepare requirements for consents, select and pre-develop wind farm sites, plan and build farms and transmission assets.

Under the “plan-led” model, a State body would select wind farm sites and undertake pre-development and offshore grid connections – a model applied in the Netherlands, and one which would give more responsibility to Eirgrid and ESB Networks.

Under three of the four options outlined, the offshore wind transmission assets are owned and operated by the developer, who manages and bears the risk of outages to its transmission assets.

The Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) chairman Peter Coyle said he welcomed the report’s publication as another example of Government commitment to renewable energy.

“This is going to set the rules for the game for the next 50 to 100 years, so the MRIA will be making a strong input to this consultation,” he said.

He noted that the Government had recently designated seven offshore renewable energy projects in the Irish Sea and outer Galway Bay “transition” projects.

Irish Wind Energy Association chief executive Dr David Connolly said that “identifying how offshore wind farms will connect to the grid is critical to ensuring we can build the 3,500 MW of projects needed to deliver the Climate Action Plan and to cut Ireland’s CO2 emissions”.

“It is essential that an effective model for the grid is partnered with a robust planning system,” he said.

“Passing the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, which will put in place a planning system for offshore wind energy, and giving An Bord Pleanála the resources to administer it, must be top priorities for the next Government if we are to build these projects in time,” Dr Connolly added.

Published in Power From the Sea
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SEFtec NMCI Offshore Ltd (SNO), a public / private joint venture between SEFtec Global Training Ltd and The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI), will be launched tomorrow at the National Maritime College, Co. Cork, by the Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Batt O'Keeffe.

This venture is a shining example of how to bring together state of the art public infrastructure, in the form of one of the world's most advanced maritime colleges, with private enterprise's expertise in not only offshore training, but in the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and service of training simulators for the global maritime industry.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe TD, who launched the public-private joint venture, said it would support jobs and the growth of the Irish offshore exploration and wind energy sectors.  'The future is bright for the partnership we are announcing here this afternoon. The maritime sector is a diverse and developing global industry that requires huge levels of skill and technical capability,' said Minister O'Keeffe.

Focused on supporting the successful and sustainable growth of the Irish offshore exploration sector, SNO has successfully secured the approval of the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO) for its programme of courses. In a sector that is completely focused on safety,OPITO has become the global industries focal point for skills, training and workforce development.

"SNO is very proud to have achieved its OPITO approval this year, the approval came about in a phenomenal time frame and this wouldn't have been possible without the combined efforts of both public and private joint venture partners. This will mean that we can service not only the growing needs of Ireland's offshore sector, but train for the global industry as well"  Conor Mowlds, Managing Director SNO Ltd.

SEFtec, an Irish SME with a global focus, commenced trading in 2004 and has quickly become one of the world's leaders in the provision of offshore simulation equipment. Based in a state-of-the-art facility in Cork it has diversified its activities from the design and fabrication of offshore training simulation equipment to training and already operates an OPITO centre in Kazakhstan.

The NMCI, a public private partnership between the Cork Institute of Technology, Vita Lend Lease and the Irish Naval Service was opened in 2004, represents a €60 million investment by the state in maritime training, and is one of the world's most advanced maritime colleges.

The future aim of SNO is to break into the offshore renewable energy sector, with the development of their Offshore Wind Energy Safety Training course (OWEST) ear marked for further development.  The OWEST course currently involves Helicopter Winching Techniques, Life Saving Appliances and Vessel Abandonment which is key training for anyone working on or near Offshore Wind Energy Sites.

See below for photos taken this morning at the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy of delegates on the OPITO approved BOSIET - Offshore Training Course, using the Helicopter Underwater Training Simulator

Published in Rescue