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Displaying items by tag: Offshore Energy

Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan has predicted that Ireland may be able to go “further, faster and bigger” in meeting and exceeding targets for emission reduction and renewable energy.

As The Times Ireland edition reports, Ryan told the Wind Energy Ireland annual conference that reductions in emissions in 2020 represented a “real achievement”.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that emissions from Irish power generation and major industrial companies fell by 6.4 per cent last year to their lowest level since the EU emissions trading system was introduced over 15 years ago.

Ryan welcomed the EPA recording of an 8.4 per cent drop in power generation emissions – attributed to the influence of renewable energy.

He noted that Ireland had set a 40 per cent target for renewables last year, and had actually met 43 per cent.

Referring to the 50 per cent reduction in emissions, and 70 per cent renewable energy by the end of this decade, Ryan said “I think we might be able to break through that....”

Development of offshore power would be a key part of this next stage, Ryan said.

Seven projects which already have consent would proceed, and auctions would then be held next year for new projects which come under the new marine area consent system, he said.

The new Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Bill – formerly titled the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill – is one of the Government’s “top three” priority pieces of legislation, Ryan said.

He said it would provide for a “ steady predictable phased routine process” of licensing and approving offshore wind.

A new national marine planning framework – equivalent to a marine version of the national spatial plan – is also due to be put on a statutory footing shortly.

A senior civil servant warned that the State needs to take a more “holistic” approach to managing offshore renewable to “learn from some of the things that happened onshore”.

Martina Hennessy, who is the principal officer with responsibility for offshore energy in Ryan’s department, said that “communication” was key, along with engagement with sectoral groups..

Ms Hennessy and Conor McCabe, principal officer with responsibility for marine planning in the housing department, said there would be a “use it or lose it” approach to marine area consents.

Measures would be taken to ensure there was no “hoarding” of consent areas, they said.

Read The Times here

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

Ireland’s push to develop offshore renewable energy doesn’t have to be at the expense of sensitive marine habitats, a Government advisor has said.

As Times.ie reports today, existing provisions “should be used” to protect vulnerable habitats and species pending legislation underpinning marine protected habitats (MPAs), Prof Tasman Crowe of University College, Dublin (UCD) has said.

Prof Crowe, who is chair of the Government’s expert group on MPAs, was commenting as Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien opened a six-month public consultation.

Members of the public have until July 30th to comment on the plan to expand Ireland’s marine protected area network.

MPAs are geographically defined maritime areas that provide levels of protection to achieve conservation objectives. Currently, about 2.14 per cent of Ireland’s maritime area is protected under the existing EU Birds and Habitats Directives.

The Programme for Government 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.

It says this is in line with the recently published EU Biodiversity Strategy, and commitments under a number of international treaties including the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

However, the Irish Wildlife Trust last month expressed fears that legislation to designate marine areas for offshore wind projects will be in place long before legislation on MPAs.

The environmental group also questioned why it took Mr O’Brien three months to publish a report produced by Prof Crowe’s group, which was submitted last October and released by the minister in January.

One of the key findings of Prof Crowe’s report – which does not propose specific MPAs - is that there is no enabling legislation for these protected zones.

Provision was to have been made for MPAs in the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, which is currently before the Oireachtas and which will allow for planning sectoral activities such as offshore wind and wave.

Prof Crowe acknowledged this week that while in other jurisdictions, it was common practice for the two frameworks – conservation and sectoral planning - to be developed at the same time, it was more appropriate that they should be considered separately.

Conservation is larger than a sectoral activity at sea in focusing on both ecosystems and interactions with the environment, he says.

Prof Crowe’s expert group report explains that MPAs do not have to mean cessation of all activity in a designated protected zone.

“MPAs can support economic activity associated with the sea; for example, by conserving areas of particular importance to marine ecosystems and ensuring that human activity is kept at a level that will sustain biological diversity, natural productivity, human health and well-being,” it has said.

“ MPAs can also help reduce the effects of climate change and ocean acidification by ensuring that marine ecosystems are healthy and resilient and that the marine environment can act as a natural carbon storage system,” it states.

Read more in Times.ie here

The public consultation is open here

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

The Government’s ambitious plans for renewable energy off the Atlantic coast should involve communities as active stakeholders and not just recipients of compensation, an island energy co-op has said.

Dara Ó Maoildhia, chairman of Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann, the Aran islands energy co-op, says his group is “campaigning hard” to ensure local communities will have a central role.

“One of our main ambitions is that the three Aran islands will have their own microgrid,” he told this week’s Wavelengths podcast.

Dara Ó Maoildhia, chairman of Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann, the Aran islands energy co-opDara Ó Maoildhia, chairman of Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann, the Aran islands energy co-op. Screenshot courtesy: Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileáin Árann 

The co-op is also collaborating in research on hydrogen energy, which may have applications for island ferries as well as businesses, transport and residences.

A consortium of islands led by Kerry’s Valentia Island Co-op and Rathlin, Co Antrim has been examining the feasibility of combining offshore wind with electrolyser technology to convert water to hydrogen.

Meanwhile, researchers at the NUIG Ryan Institute Energy Research Institute are also collaborating in a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca.

Dr Thomas van Rensburg of NUI GalwayDr Thomas van Rensburg

The NUIG team in the Green Hyslands project involves Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg, and they say it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year.

The NUIG team will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands. 

Dr van Rensburg also spoke to Wavelengths and you can listen below

Published in Wavelength Podcast

British boatbuilder Chartwell Marine has unveiled its bespoke 12m landing craft commissioned by a leading Dublin boat charter company to support large-scale offshore energy projects.

The aluminium vessel for Irish Commercial Charter Boats (ICCB) will be constructed at Arklow Marine Services, with a view to hitting the water this summer.

And according to Chartwell Marine, it sets the stage “for a rapid build-out of the Irish offshore fleet in the next few years, as new large-scale energy projects come online”.

The company says the “market-first” craft has been designed “to meet ICCB’s expanding operational requirements, including surveying, assisting with cable landing and transporting supplies and personnel to near-shore offshore installations”.

It will be powered by two OXE diesel outboard engines, plus room for a spare onboard, with the flexibility to replace these with electric outboard motors in future.

And its shallow draft, allowing it to operate in depts of just 0.8 metres, will ensure “maximum versatility in the shallow waters around the East Irish coast”.

ICCB director Eoin Grimes said: “We’re excited to help drive the development of the next generation of Irish offshore support vessels.

“Chartwell Marine’s vessel offers us unparalleled manoeuvrability and versatility, especially in the shallow waters around Ireland, which will be vital as we continue to diversify our offering to the offshore energy market.”

Published in Power From the Sea

#Jobs - RTÉ News reports that Kildare-based firm Cathx Ocean will create 50 jobs over the next two years after winning a contract to supply imaging systems for robot submarines.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton welcomed the deal with US company Bluefin Robotics as the latest in a series of international contracts for the Irish marine technology firm, whose products are used for underwater surveys particularly in the oil and gas industry.

The minister was speaking at a trade mission that coincided with the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, which saw a number of Irish companies secure new deals with American firms in the offshore energy sector.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Jobs

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