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Displaying items by tag: Offshore Wind Energy

A planning application for the Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 project is being submitted this week to An Bord Pleanála by SSE, the British energy major.

The 800 MW offshore wind project, quoted at over €2bn and spanning the Wicklow and north Wexford coasts, is the second Irish Sea offshore wind farm to submit a planning application in recent weeks.

A fortnight ago, an application was made by Oriel Windfarm for a 375MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Co Louth.

The Co Louth offshore wind farm is a joint venture between the ESB and offshore wind energy firm Parkwind.

The Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 application is being made by Sure Partners, a unit of SSE Renewables. SSE also owns Airtricity in Ireland.

Both schemes are “phase one” projects which have already received maritime area consents.

The Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 project involves construction of up to 56 offshore wind turbines, depending on the design.

It has already secured planning permission for an operations and maintenance base at Arklow, and has consent for the development of onshore cabling and a substation to connect to the national grid

SSE had said Arklow Bank Wind Park 2 could deliver an overall economic benefit of up to €800m, with around €400m for the Wicklow and Wexford region.

It claims the project will generate about 2,300 direct and indirect jobs through its delivery and operational lifetime.

“We’re fulfilling the pioneering vision of delivering commercial scale offshore wind at Arklow Bank which dates back almost 20 years to when the first seven turbines were installed at the site and became Ireland’s first and only operational offshore wind farm,”James O’Hara, Arklow Bank project director at SSE Renewables, has said.

Published in Power From the Sea
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Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan has said that Ireland is “already a wind energy success story” on land and is “now looking to our seas.”

“We get 35% of our electricity from onshore wind farms, which is more than anywhere else in Europe,” he told the WindEurope 2024 conference in Bilbao, Spain.

“We’re world leaders in integrating renewables onto our electricity grid, which often sees 75% of total electricity demand come from wind farms,” he said.

“ For over 20 years, we have built a thriving national onshore wind industry, but now we are looking to our seas,” he said.

“Ireland has one of the best offshore wind resources in the world and we are moving towards the delivery of offshore wind energy at a rapid pace. More offshore wind capacity entered the planning system last year than ever before and we have a robust, and growing, pipeline of projects in place,” he continued..

“We have already set out a clear pathway to achieving our 2030 offshore wind targets and our new Future Framework for Offshore Renewable Energy, set to be published next month, identifies the key actions Ireland will take to deliver 20 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2040 and at least 37 gigawatts by 2050,” he said.

“We have invested a lot of time and resources in building the necessary legislative and regulatory base to develop a sustainable industry that delivers for Ireland and Europe. We look forward to working alongside the leading industry figures here today at WindEurope conference as we move closer to Ireland’s future as a global leader in renewable wind energy,” he said.

The ministerial panel discussion was just one of several high-profile Ireland-related events at WindEurope 2024.

Other events included:

  • a dedicated “Ireland Markets Session”, focusing on the latest developments in terms of regulation, auctions, policy developments and business opportunities for companies interested in Irish market.
  • a networking and information session hosted at the Ireland pavilion by members of the Government of Ireland’s cross-departmental Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce.
  • a panel discussion on grid access for wind farms, which featured EirGrid’s chief infrastructure officer Michael McMahon.
Published in Power From the Sea

Powering Prosperity – Ireland’s Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy, the first strategy of its kind for Ireland, aims to build a successful, vibrant and impactful offshore wind energy industry in Ireland.

This will ensure that the sector creates as much value as possible throughout Ireland and maximises the economic benefits associated with government ambitions to deliver its 2030, 2040 and 2050 offshore wind targets.

Powering Prosperity, which includes 40 actions that will be implemented in 2024 and 2025, was developed as part of close ongoing collaboration between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and other Government departments and agencies within the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce (OWDT).

These actions aim to build a strong and resilient offshore wind supply chain in Ireland, as well as exploring opportunities for Irish companies to play a major role in the development of offshore wind projects in Ireland and abroad.

It also explores opportunities to leverage Ireland’s existing strengths in RD&I, finding ways to support the sector to reach the cutting edge of future developments in offshore wind.

The era of offshore wind represents a game-changing opportunity for communities right across Ireland and particularly around our coastline. The country’s key deployment and O&M ports can be major industrial hubs of the future transforming regions in the process.

A suite of policies related to the transmission of and demand for OWE and its derivatives also inform this strategy, including the review of the National Ports Policy, which will be conducted by the IMDO on behalf of the Department of Transport. The National Ports Policy provides the overarching policy framework for the governance and future development of Ireland’s State port network and is an important piece of policy development given the role that ports are expected to play in the delivery of offshore renewable energy.

Published in Power From the Sea

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

Published in Power From the Sea
Tagged under

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
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At A Glance – Cape 31

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Beam 3.1 m
IRC Rating 1.15

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