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Displaying items by tag: Offshore Wind

Communities along the coast of East Antrim and North Down in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to learn about proposals for the installation of floating wind turbines in that part of the Irish Sea, commonly known as the North Channel.

There will be local exhibitions on 31st May in Carnlough, 1st June in the Gobbins Centre, Islandmagee and 2nd June in Bangor.

As Afloat reported previously, meetings with fishing communities in Portavogie, Bangor and Larne have already occurred.

North Channel Wind says it is engaging with local communities to share information and gather feedback.

Fiona Stevens, Stakeholder Manager at North Channel Wind says the wind farms off the coasts of Antrim and North Down could be a game changer for Northern Ireland, bringing much improved energy security and the potential for Northern Ireland to become a net exporter of clean electricity.   “Offshore wind capacity is critical to NI’s target of reaching 80% renewable electricity by 2030 and zero net emissions targets,” says Mrs Stevens. “Department for Economy figures released last month show that Northern Ireland generated 51% of all electricity through renewables in 2022, so we are heading in the right direction, but still have a long way to go.”   

The North Channel Wind project has the potential to generate electricity equivalent to around 82% of NI’s total electricity consumption, based on 2022 figures. The project could potentially save over 2.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year compared to the equivalent generation by non-renewables, the equivalent of taking over 1.7 million cars off the road.

“There is a collective understanding at policy level that the climate and biodiversity emergency is upon us and that we must move to embrace new forms of clean electricity generation. One solution is to install and operate floating turbines in the North Channel,” she says, “which we aim to progress with the support of stakeholders through consultation and minimising the impact of the array on animals and natural habitats.   We are proposing wind farms on two sites: North Channel Wind 1 is off the coast of east Antrim, and North Channel Wind 2 is off Antrim's south-east coast and County Down's northeast coast”.

North Channel Wind is engaging with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, (DfE) Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in relation to the consents required.   

The project is backed marine engineering and offshore energy specialist SBM Offshore. The project would create significant local supply chain opportunities, including assembling the required steel floating devices, logistics, assembly, marine services, and construction. A community benefit fund will likely be linked to the project in the longer term.     

Mrs Stevens says: “We are in discussions with the Northern Ireland government, the grid operator SONI, the energy regulator UREGNI and The Crown Estate. Significantly, we have completed our site characterisation and submitted a scoping document to the Department of Environment and Agriculture (DAERA) in early May. This is the first step in applying for a marine licence to build offshore infrastructure. The scoping report will be available as part of the public consultation, and we welcome feedback.”

North Channel Wind information tells that the potential installed capacity of the combined wind farms is 1420 MW , and the total potential electricity generation is equivalent to approximately 82% of NI’s electricity consumption based on 2022 consumption figures. The potential carbon reduction is around 2.6 million tonnes per annum.

This series of community consultations is planned as follows:

  • 2pm – 8pm, 31 May: Glenlough Community Centre, Carnlough on the Antrim Coast north of Glenarm.
  • 2pm – 8pm, 1 June: The Gobbins Visitor Centre, Islandmagee on the Antrim Coast between Larne and Whitehead.
  • 2pm – 8pm, 2 June: Hamilton Road Community Hub, Bangor on the north Down coast.

More information on North Channel Wind

Published in Power From the Sea
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Concerns about whether Ireland has the port capacity to support the development of offshore renewable energy will be debated at an Oireachtas committee today (Tues, May 16).

The Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action will hear from representatives of the Port of Cork, Shannon Foynes Port Company and Rosslare Europort.

Committee Cathaoirleach and Green Party TD Brian Leddin said that the Programme for Government commits Ireland to install five gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 to achieve 80 per cent of electricity generation from renewable energy.

“ However, to ensure this is effective and efficient, we require our ports to have the capacity to utilise this renewable power,” Leddin said.

“The committee looks forward to hearing from the operators of Cork, Shannon-Foynes and Rosslare ports about their plans for developing the capacity to exploit the energy that will be generated by windfarms proposed off Ireland’s south and west coasts,” he said.

A study published last September by Wind Energy Ireland said that Belfast was the only port on the island of Ireland with the necessary infrastructure to construct offshore wind farms.

The study by Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions examined 13 ports and harbours.

The joint committee has 14 members, nine TDs and five senators. It will meet in Committee Room 3 at 11 am today Tues, and can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

Published in Power From the Sea
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Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney has announced plans to develop a National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind which will set out how Ireland can maximise the economic opportunity arising from the production of offshore wind energy (OWE).

Ireland’s offshore energy programme includes a target to deliver 5GW of OWE by 2030 and a further 2GW of floating OWE to be in development by 2030. The total target for OWE rises to at least 37GW by 2050. This forms part of the Government’s target to provide 80% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

In order to deliver the enterprise opportunities associated with these targets, the Government says a collaborative approach between State and industry is needed.

The National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind will be developed in consultation with the relevant Government departments, agencies and industry, with the objective of ensuring that Ireland fully captures the value of both the supply chain to deliver an OWE sector at scale and the routes to market for this renewable energy.

It is expected that the National Industrial Strategy for Offshore Wind will be published in the first quarter of 2024 and complement the suite of upcoming government policies led by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications through the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce.

Announcing the plan, Minister Coveney said: “The impact of recent geopolitical events on the European energy market has accelerated our decarbonisation ambitions and added real urgency to transitioning to clean, renewable energy.

“Ireland has an internationally recognised significant offshore wind resource which we are now beginning to develop. It is essential to ensure that our enterprise sector is ready to contribute to the delivery of offshore wind, while also maximising the economic benefit which will arise from the availability of abundant clean, renewable energy.”

The minister said the announcement “is an important step towards developing new, regionally dispersed economic opportunities based on offshore wind, and I very much look forward to working with colleagues across Government and industry over the coming months as we develop an industrial strategy that will deliver real long-term benefits to both the economy and society”.

Welcoming the strategy, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said: “Developing an offshore wind sector requires a whole-of-economy mobilisation, and an industrial strategy will provide a clear signal to international markets that across government, and indeed across Ireland; we are serious about this opportunity.”

Minister Coveney made the announcement on the eve of EirGrid’s auction for offshore wind project contracts this past week.

Codling Wind Park and three other projects were successful in this first auction of its kind in Ireland and all are expected to pursue their respective planning approvals.

Published in Power From the Sea

The ESB says it “remains committed” to the Oriel Wind Farm project after it was unsuccessful in yesterday’s offshore wind energy auction, as RTÉ News reports.

The proposed wind power array in Dundalk Bay — a partnership between the ESB and Belgian green energy supplier Parkwind — missed out on one of the four contracts awarded to offshore wind projects around the country in the State’s first such auction.

In a statement on Friday (12 May), the ESB said that “while the Oriel project was not awarded a contract in this auction round, Parkwind and ESB believe that it is a well-positioned project and will ultimately play its part in generating the renewable electricity we need. We will continue to progress the project and are actively investigating alternative routes to market.”

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed on this morning’s edition of RTÉ Radio 1’s Today programme that there will be “a second auction later this year and we will go on the same next year”.

Meanwhile, environmentalists have urged that Ireland must be “wise”, despite the huge potential of green offshore energy, and maintain an “open transparency approach” when it comes to monitoring the status of marine wildlife around such sites.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

Four offshore wind projects which were successful in the State’s auction results this week are expected to pursue their respective planning approvals.

The four projects – three on the east coast and one on the West – are predicted to generate 3GW if given final go-ahead.

The three farms in the Irish Sea are:

  • Kish Bank, some 11km off the coast of Dublin (500MW);
  • The Dublin Array, 10km from the coast between Dublin and Wicklow (824MW);
  • Codling Banks, the largest of the three, which is 13km off the Co Wicklow coast.

The Sceirdre Rocks project in north Galway Bay has also been approved. It was the subject of a number of objections in its foreshore license application on grounds of visual impact and potential disturbance to marine life and impact on fishing communities.

The remaining 2GW required for the Government’s target will be the focus of a phase-two auction.

Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan has welcomed the auction results, and the price secured of €86.05 per MW hour, which he has described as one of the “lowest prices paid by an emerging offshore wind market in the world”.

Published in Power From the Sea
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The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, has today welcomed the provisional results of the first offshore wind auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS 1). The results mark a breakthrough moment for Ireland’s offshore wind future.

ORESS is an auction-based process which invites renewable energy projects to compete against each other, by bidding as low as possible, in order to win contracts to provide electricity at the bid price for a twenty-year period.

The auction results have surpassed expectations, both in terms of the total volume of renewable energy procured and the low price at which it has been secured. The hugely competitive price secured — at an average of €86.05/MWh — is one of the lowest prices paid by an emerging offshore wind market in the world. For comparison, the average wholesale electricity price in Ireland over the past 12 months was in excess of €200/MWh. It is expected that this price will save Irish electricity consumers hundreds of millions of euros per year.

Over 3GW of capacity has been procured from four offshore wind projects, which will deliver over 12TWh* (Terawatt-hours) of renewable electricity per year. This is the largest volume of renewable energy Ireland has ever procured at auction — equivalent to over a third of Ireland’s entire electricity consumption this year and over a quarter of projected 2030 electricity demand. It is also enough to power over 2.5 million Irish homes with clean electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 1 million tonnes in 2030.

Welcoming the provisional results, Minister Ryan said:

“The provisional results of the ORESS 1 auction are not just a hugely positive story for Irish energy consumers, but for Ireland as a whole. The results are further evidence of what many of us have known for a long time; that we, as a nation, can develop and produce enormous quantities of clean energy – securely and at low cost.

“My Department is developing further offshore wind auctions to bring us closer to this energy-independent future, while also chairing the whole-of-Government Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce to maximise the benefits to the economy, local communities, and the environment.”

The results announced today are provisional and are subject to the normal RESS confirmation and State Aid processes, both of which are expected to be complete by mid-June, as per EirGrid’s published auction timetable.

Under the community benefit fund provisions of ORESS 1, the successful projects are required to make payments to local marine and coastal communities hosting offshore renewable energy projects. These communities will now benefit from over €24 million per year, beginning before construction and continuing for up to 20 years after a project begins to produce renewable energy.

Published in Power From the Sea
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EDF Renewables and Fred Olsen Seawind have welcomed Codling Wind Park’s success in Ireland’s first offshore wind energy auction.

Codling Wind Park is a 50:50 joint venture between EDF Renewables and Fred. Olsen Seawind. With an expected capacity of up to 1,300 megawatts (MW), it has the potential to supply the equivalent of over one million Irish homes with low-carbon, locally produced, low-cost electricity, and to save almost 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Earlier today, EirGrid provisionally confirmed that Codling Wind Park’s bid under the Offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (ORESS) has been successful, ahead of final auction results to be issued in mid-June.

Commenting on the successful bid, Codling Wind Park Co-Project Directors Scott Sutherland and Thomas Gellert said: “This is a great day in the fight against climate change, and for Ireland’s plans to become energy self-sufficient. With Codling Wind Park’s successful bid, Ireland’s largest Phase 1 offshore project of 1,300MW capacity, moves a considerable step closer to reality.”

“There is an immense wealth of low-carbon, potential power available in the seas around this country. Today’s successful auction results will increase confidence in Ireland’s ability to realise the opportunities of offshore energy. We look forward to working with the government, state agencies and most of all local communities to ensure that the significant benefits of Irish offshore energy can be delivered to the people of Ireland.”

Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Renewables UK and Ireland, welcomed the news as a positive step forward for the Irish offshore industry: “We’re delighted that Codling Wind Park has been successful with its ORESS bid. As the country’s largest Phase 1 offshore wind farm, Codling will be crucial to Ireland meeting its renewable energy targets and securing its energy supply.

“EDF Renewables is a major player in the global offshore wind market, and we’re committed to drawing on that international experience to support Ireland in capitalising on its immense offshore wind potential. Today’s announcement is an important step on that journey. Together with our joint venture partner we will build on this positive news and work closely with our project partners, the Irish Government, and other stakeholders to deliver on what will be one of the largest energy infrastructure investments in Ireland this decade.”

Lars Bender, CEO of Fred. Olsen Seawind commented: "We are very pleased with today's result, which proves the strong, experienced joint venture partnership and the good collaboration between the partners as well as with the supply chain. The success today is a significant testimony to all the hard work carried out by Codling Wind Park and the shareholder teams to reach this point. On behalf of the joint venture partners, we thank all involved and look forward to the journey ahead of us.

“As the largest offshore wind farm project in Ireland, considerable economic benefit will be brought to Ireland. We look forward to engaging further with local communities, government and supply chain in developing Ireland's offshore wind skills base and contributing towards Ireland succeeding in delivering on climate change targets."

Published in Power From the Sea

Results of Ireland’s first offshore renewable energy auction are expected to be published by EirGrid on Thursday (May 11).

The offshore Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction invites developers of renewable energy projects to compete for contracts providing electricity at a guaranteed price.

Offshore’s first RESS involves the seven offshore wind projects which were fast-tracked for marine area consents (MAC) last year – six in the Irish Sea and one the Sceirde rocks projects, in north Galway Bay.

The system is similar to the two onshore auctions which have taken place to date - RESS 1 in 2020 and RESS 2 in 2022, with a third due this summer.

Once companies are happy with the contract terms, they are obliged to apply for planning permission.

Offshore planning is being handled by the new Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA).

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has rejected the description of Ireland as a “laggard” in offshore wind energy.

He was responding to a University College Cork (UCC) report criticising what it identified as a lack of Government support for the offshore renewable sector.

The report, entitled “Innovation, Networking and Policy in the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector”, was compiled by the Cork University Business School in UCC.

It identified the main barriers for Irish companies in the sector as bureaucracy and regulation, insufficient support and engagement by government, along with a lack of funding.

Scientists, environmental and fishing representatives believe more research is required to measure the impact on marine habitats of offshore wind structures.

Published in Power From the Sea
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Ireland is among a group of eight European countries aiming to quadruple wind energy generation and develop “islands” linking offshore energy infrastructure.

As the Irish Times reports, the plans was outlined at a summit on Monday in the coastal Belgian city of Ostend, and extends from the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

Varadkar said Ireland was very glad to be part of the group, as there was a risk that "everything would happen in the North Sea, and we'd be kind of left out on a limb and then trying to connect in later," he told the newspaper.

“But this means as things get built out in the North Sea, we’ll be part of that,” he said. The North Sea is viewed as ideal for offshore wind as it is relatively shallow compared to the Atlantic.

Mr Varadkar told a press conference after the summit that Ireland aimed to build wind energy farms with the capacity to produce roughly five times the entire current national electricity demand.

He described it as a “huge economic opportunity”.

Read more in The Irish Times here

Published in Power From the Sea
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Three national marine events take place in Limerick next week, involving offshore wind energy, aquaculture and the fishing industry.

On the eve of the Irish Skipper Expo at the University of Limerick (UL), IFA Aquaculture is hosting its annual conference and annual general meeting at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel in Castletroy on February 23rd.

Separately, Simply Blue offshore wind developers are hosting the second annual Seafarers’ Conference with the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) at the Castletroy Park, Hotel, also on February 23rd.

The Irish Skipper Expo runs over two days at UL from Friday, February 24th-25th.

Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and newly appointed BIM chief executive Caroline Bocquel are keynote speakers at the IFA Aquaculture conference, which will hear about BIM support for the industry, the carbon footprint of the Irish aquaculture sector, licensing and marine protected areas (MPAs).

Ms Bocquel is also participating in the Seafarers’ Conference, on the theme “Thriving Fishing, Thriving Offshore Wind, Thriving Ports and Coastal Communities – Can We Do It?”

The in-person and online conference will hear from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research and Innovation Simon Harris by video-link.

Scientists, fishing industry representatives, offshore wind developers and consultants and Government officials will participate in the one-day event, which will focus on how the fishing industry and offshore wind can co-exist.

Over 140 companies and Government agencies will be participating in The Irish Skipper Expo, with the latest fishing vessel designs on display along with exhibits by the Irish Coast Guard, BIM and others.

Full details of all three events are on the links below

Published in Fishing
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How to sail, sailing clubs and sailing boats plus news on the wide range of sailing events on Irish waters forms the backbone of Afloat's sailing coverage.

We aim to encompass the widest range of activities undertaken on Irish lakes, rivers and coastal waters. This page describes those sailing activites in more detail and provides links and breakdowns of what you can expect from our sailing pages. We aim to bring jargon free reports separated in to popular categories to promote the sport of sailing in Ireland.

The packed 2013 sailing season sees the usual regular summer leagues and there are regular weekly race reports from Dublin Bay Sailing Club, Howth and Cork Harbour on This season and last also featured an array of top class events coming to these shores. Each year there is ICRA's Cruiser Nationals starts and every other year the Round Ireland Yacht Race starts and ends in Wicklow and all this action before July. Crosshaven's Cork Week kicks off on in early July every other year. in 2012 Ireland hosted some big international events too,  the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dun Laoghaire and in August the Tall Ships Race sailed into Dublin on its final leg. In that year the Dragon Gold Cup set sail in Kinsale in too.

2013 is also packed with Kinsale hosting the IFDS diabled world sailing championships in Kinsale and the same port is also hosting the Sovereign's Cup. The action moves to the east coast in July with the staging of the country's biggest regatta, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire regatta from July 11.

Our coverage though is not restricted to the Republic of Ireland but encompasses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Irish Sea area too. In this section you'll find information on the Irish Sailing Association and Irish sailors. There's sailing reports on regattas, racing, training, cruising, dinghies and keelboat classes, windsurfers, disabled sailing, sailing cruisers, Olympic sailing and Tall Ships sections plus youth sailing, match racing and team racing coverage too.

Sailing Club News

There is a network of over 70 sailing clubs in Ireland and we invite all clubs to submit details of their activities for inclusion in our daily website updates. There are dedicated sections given over to the big Irish clubs such as  the waterfront clubs in Dun Laoghaire; Dublin Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club,  the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the National Yacht Club. In Munster we regularly feature the work of Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.  Abroad Irish sailors compete in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) racing in the UK and this club is covered too. Click here for Afloat's full list of sailing club information. We are keen to increase our coverage on the network of clubs from around the coast so if you would like to send us news and views of a local interest please let us have it by sending an email to [email protected]

Sailing Boats and Classes

Over 20 active dinghy and one design classes race in Irish waters and fleet sizes range from just a dozen or so right up to over 100 boats in the case of some of the biggest classes such as the Laser or Optimist dinghies for national and regional championships. Afloat has dedicated pages for each class: Dragons, Etchells, Fireball, Flying Fifteen, GP14, J24's, J80's, Laser, Sigma 33, RS Sailing, Star, Squibs, TopperMirror, Mermaids, National 18, Optimist, Puppeteers, SB3's, and Wayfarers. For more resources on Irish classes go to our dedicated sailing classes page.

The big boat scene represents up to 60% of the sail boat racing in these waters and Afloat carries updates from the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), the body responsible for administering cruiser racing in Ireland and the popular annual ICRA National Championships. In 2010 an Irish team won the RORC Commodore's Cup putting Irish cruiser racing at an all time high. Popular cruiser fleets in Ireland are raced right around the coast but naturally the biggest fleets are in the biggest sailing centres in Cork Harbour and Dublin Bay. Cruisers race from a modest 20 feet or so right up to 50'. Racing is typically divided in to Cruisers Zero, Cruisers One, Cruisers Two, Cruisers Three and Cruisers Four. A current trend over the past few seasons has been the introduction of a White Sail division that is attracting big fleets.

Traditionally sailing in northern Europe and Ireland used to occur only in some months but now thanks to the advent of a network of marinas around the coast (and some would say milder winters) there are a number of popular winter leagues running right over the Christmas and winter periods.

Sailing Events

Punching well above its weight Irish sailing has staged some of the world's top events including the Volvo Ocean Race Galway Stopover, Tall Ships visits as well as dozens of class world and European Championships including the Laser Worlds, the Fireball Worlds in both Dun Laoghaire and Sligo.

Some of these events are no longer pure sailing regattas and have become major public maritime festivals some are the biggest of all public staged events. In the past few seasons Ireland has hosted events such as La Solitaire du Figaro and the ISAF Dublin Bay 2012 Youth Worlds.

There is a lively domestic racing scene for both inshore and offshore sailing. A national sailing calendar of summer fixtures is published annually and it includes old favorites such as Sovereign's Cup, Calves Week, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle, All Ireland Sailing Championships as well as new events with international appeal such as the Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Clipper Round the World Race, both of which have visited Ireland.

The bulk of the work on running events though is carried out by the network of sailing clubs around the coast and this is mostly a voluntary effort by people committed to the sport of sailing. For example Wicklow Sailing Club's Round Ireland yacht race run in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club has been operating for over 30 years. Similarly the international Cork Week regatta has attracted over 500 boats in past editions and has also been running for over 30 years.  In recent years Dublin Bay has revived its own regatta called Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and can claim to be the country's biggest event with over 550 boats entered in 2009.

On the international stage Afloat carries news of Irish and UK interest on Olympics 2012, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Ocean Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.

We're always aiming to build on our sailing content. We're keen to build on areas such as online guides on learning to sail in Irish sailing schools, navigation and sailing holidays. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at [email protected]