Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Power From The Sea - Offshore Renewable Energy
The proposed location of the Valentia Island Offshore Renewable Energy Array has been selected to have minimal impact on all key environmental, heritage, tourism, fishing and shipping contexts in the seas surrounding Valentia. The proposed site is more than 22 km off the West coast of Valentia in deep waters
A community-led renewable energy project on Kerry’s Valentia island which is seeking to build a floating offshore wind farm has applied for permission to conduct site investigations. The Valentia Island Energy Ltd Project states in its application that it recognises…
Ocean Winds and Bord na Móna today launched a major new offshore wind partnership at an event with Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Ocean Winds and Bord na Móna has launched a major new offshore wind partnership at an event with Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in Dublin. The partnership brings together leading international offshore wind energy expert…
Offshore wind farms will be affected by a new EU council regulation to ensure "windfall gains" from the energy sector. The Government says it has decided to place a cap on all market revenues of non-gas electricity generators, whereby excess…
Carien Droppers  - The Dutch shipping expert warns Ireland should take into account navigational hazards posed by offshore wind farms in marine planning
Dutch shipping expert Carien Droppers has warned that Ireland should take into account navigational hazards posed by offshore wind farms in marine planning. Droppers, who spoke at last week’s “Navigating to 2050” conference hosted by Irish Lights in Dublin Castle,…
Yvonne Cronin, community and stakeholder manager with DP Energy and Clean Coasts Ballynamona founder Proinsias Ó Tuama at the launch of the new sponsorship deal
Volunteer coastal cleaners in East Cork have gained the support of the joint venture behind a new proposed offshore wind farm project to boost their efforts in tackling the scourge of marine litter on the Irish coast. As the Irish…
The Kincardine offshore wind turbine installation
Simply Blue Group has announced further financial backing of €25 million from funds managed by Octopus Energy’s generation arm. An additional €2.5 million has also been raised from other investors bringing the total investment to €27.5 million. Simply Blue Group,…
The first offshore wind auction is expected to provide a route to market for up to 2.5GW of offshore renewable energy to the Irish grid, which is “enough to power 2.5 million Irish homes with clean electricity”, according to Minister Eamon Ryan
Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan has described Government approval of terms and conditions for the first offshore wind auction as “another massive step forward” towards Ireland’s future as an “international green energy hub”. ORESS 1, the first auction for offshore…
Committed to a sustainable future - Annalise Murphy was part of the Turn the Tide against Plastic team in the Volvo Ocean Race
Ireland's Olympic sailing medalist Annalise Murphy is plotting a course for a career in sustainability and in one of her first assignments, the Rio star has been unveiled as the keynote speaker at Chorus, Ireland’s first-ever Women in Green Hydrogen network…
MPV Skua
Techworks Marine is deploying three surface buoys with single-point moorings for a metocean survey campaign at the site of the proposed Clogherhead Offshore Wind Farm. It follows a geophysical survey campaign conducted by Alpha Marine this past summer, as previously…
The geotechnical vessel Fugro Synergy
The North Irish Sea Array (NISA) has rescheduled a previously planned geotechnical site investigation campaign on the proposed offshore wind farm area off the coast of north Co Dublin, Meath and Louth. This campaign will involve the deployment of seabed borehole drilling and…
While there is general agreement, it seems – and public support about the future importance of wind energy all may not be going smoothly in getting agreement between the various interests, including fishing
The “Spatial Squeeze” is a term you can expect to hear quite a lot about in the immediate future. It’s all to do with the increasing competition for space in the offshore sector. Wind energy developers require space for wind-generating…
The report compiled by Dublin Offshore Consultants and Bigger Economics says that offshore wind could generate up to €400 million in gross value add (GVA) annually by 2037
Offshore wind could support upwards of 5,000 jobs by 2037, a new report published on the Western Development Commission (WDC) website says. The report says that offshore wind could generate up to €400 million in gross value add (GVA) annually…
Navigating to 2050 banner
Irish Lights is hosting Navigating To 2050 – A safe and sustainable maritime future, a two-day hybrid conference bringing together key national and international leaders to debate a safe and sustainable route to 2050.  The event will be held in…
Xocean’s X-09 remotely piloted survey vessel
Trial operations of remotely piloted uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) are planned to take place in the Dundalk Bay area from this week until mid November. Subject to weather and operational constraints, the operations will run for a period of four…
Met Éireann extended its Status Orange weather warning from Wexford to Louth as the thunderstorm rolled along the East Coast
A wind turbine off the coast of Co Wicklow is believed to have been struck by lightning amid an intense thunderstorm on Wednesday afternoon (19 October). Smoke was spotted billowing from the 3.6MW turbine in the Arklow Bank Wind Park…
ESB has recently launched a Virtual Consultation Room for the proposed Moneypoint Offshore Wind Project, situated off the coasts of South Clare and North Kerry. The room will provide viewers with up-to-date information on the project and offers an opportunity for viewers to ask questions or provide feedback, and will be open until mid-November 2022
Climate change is one of the defining challenges of this generation. Its impact is evident in increasingly extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, water shortages and disruption to biodiversity and ecosystems. Offshore wind-generated electricity has a transformative role to play…

Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2022

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating