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Displaying items by tag: Lough Corrib

Kayaking in Carlow and swimming in Lough Corrib are among some 189 projects to benefit as part of a €3.5 million investment in adventure and rural tourism.

The State funding being rolled out in partnership with Fáilte Ireland under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) promises to further enhance Ireland’s natural amenities and support rural Ireland as a destination for adventure tourism.

Projects across every county have been chosen for investment of up to €20,000 under Measure 1 of the scheme. Funding for larger projects under Measure 2 and 3 of the scheme will be announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys in the coming weeks.

Among the projects being funded in this round are improvements to river access to enhance the overall experience at Tullow Kayaking Club in Co Carlow (€20,000) and maintenance of the swimming area, including provision of lifebuoys, at Annaghdown Pier on Lough Corrib in Co Galway (€20,000).

Published in Aquatic Tourism

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced details of 31 locations prioritised for river habitat enhancement works in the wider Lough Corrib catchment area.

Each of the 31 river channels has been prioritised for enhancement works based on its hydromorphological condition, which considers how far the state of the river had departed from its natural condition.

The prioritisation follows extensive consultation by the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats with stakeholders, including local angling clubs, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Office of Public Works.

In addition to surveys of the river channels, a review of the physical and ecological characteristics of the watercourses in the catchment were carried out, including water quality and fish status analysis.

A high priority was given to channels with moderate and good water quality; as well as those with low fish status.

Speaking about the announcement, Barry O’Connor, director of IFI’s Development Programme, said: “Following significant research and consultation by IFI, this prioritisation list of 31 river channels sets out where the most urgent habitat rehabilitation works are required in the Lough Corrib catchment area, and will allow us to focus our resources on the areas that are in most need of help.

“This is in addition to the annual maintenance of priority salmonid habitats being conducted by IFI staff throughout the catchment, along with stock management, and weed control operations.

“All prioritised works will be included in our medium-to-long-term management plan for the Great Western Lakes, which is currently under development.”

It is proposed that the enhancement works will be completed over a five-year period, with some already underway at a number of top priority habitat sites.

Extensive preparations will take place for the remaining sites, subject to the availability of resources. These include:

  • Landowner consultation and securement of consent.
  • Preparation of a development plan for each site, followed by appropriate assessment to ensure that sensitive species and habitats are not adversely affected by the proposed works.
  • Undertaking of fish surveys before works are undertaken and in the year after the works are carried out. Further monitoring surveys may also be carried out.
  • Application for consent to the relevant authorities, followed by procurement of contractors and materials.
Published in Angling

An oak tree’s transformation from trunk to replica iron age boat on Connemara's Lough Corrib has been filmed as part of a University College Cork (UCC) project.

Entitled "A New Logboat for Lough Corrib: The Pallasboy Project", the film was made over 20 months and documents how the logboat was modelled on a 2,400-year-old vessel found at the bottom of Lough Corrib.

The original was partially excavated and recorded by Karl Brady of Ireland's National Monuments Service's Underwater Archaeology Unit.

Photographer and former archaeologist Brian Mac Domhnaill’s film begins with the felling of an oak in the Vale of Clara, Glenalough, Co Wicklow in November 2017.

It closes with the boat’s maiden voyage at Knockferry, Lough Corrib in Galway in July 2019. The boat launch was hosted in partnership with Moycullen and Oughterard Heritage, and drew national media attention. 

UCC archaeologist Dr Benjamin Gearey noted that the film documents the painstaking process of converting around two tonnes of oak tree into a close replica of a 2000 year vessel, and its joyous maiden voyage onto the waters beneath which the original still lies". 

As Afloat reported last July, the replica was modelled on the sunken boat that measures some 7.5m long, 0.61m wide and 0.4m deep.

It was created by Mark Griffiths, as part of the Pallasboy Project, an international collaborative study established at UCC to investigate the crafting of prehistoric wooden objects and involving archaeologists, woodworkers and artists.

After the log was felled and the trunk prepared, Griffiths carved the replica over a period of 18 days at the Meitheal Mara community boatyard in Cork City, using a combination of replica prehistoric and modern tools.

The project was funded by the World Wood Day Fund via the International Wood Culture Society. The replica log boat has since been gifted to Moycullen Heritage Society.

Published in Historic Boats
Tagged under

A newly published research paper co-authored by experts in Ireland highlights the importance of ferox trout to the fisheries of Lough Corrib and Lough Mask.

Ferox trout are highly prized by trophy anglers, and Loughs Corrib and Mask have recorded the majority of Irish specimens since angling records began in the 1950s.

The large, long-lived, fish-eating trout are normally found in deep lakes and are believed to be genetically distinct from normal brown trout, having evolved after the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago.

Little was known about the spawning location of Irish ferox trout compared to normal brown trout, and a radio tracking study was initiated in both catchments in 2005.

Local anglers and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) staff helped catch large ferox trout on both lakes in order to insert radio tags.

The fish were released after tagging and then tracked with help from the Irish Air Corps helicopter unit and by walking spawning streams with a radio tracking antenna to determine in which streams ferox spawned.

Scientists from Inland Fisheries Ireland worked with colleagues at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research on the data collected in this study.

Results from radio tracking showed that the majority (92%) of ferox trout tagged in Lough Corrib spawned in a single spawning stream, the Cong River, while the majority (76%) of ferox trout tagged in Lough Mask spawned in the Cong canal and Cong River.

These results, as published in the Journal of Fish Biology, indicate that these streams are most likely the principle spawning locations of ferox trout in both lakes.

Dr Paddy Gargan, senior research officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland and lead author on the publication, said: “The occurrence of ferox trout predominantly in single spawning rivers in both catchments highlights the vulnerability of the ferox populations with estimates of their population size thought to be small”.

IFI’s head of research Dr Cathal Gallagher welcomed the findings and said: “It was important that conservation measures, based on this research, have been introduced in the Corrib and Mask catchments continue to protect ferox trout.

“These conservation measures have reduced the number of ferox trout being killed and claimed as specimens and support the conservation of this unique trout.”

Published in Angling

Life was simpler back in 1882 when the sailing folk of Galway Bay and the stunningly beautiful Lough Corrib inaugurated the Galway to Cong race the length of the great lake writes W M Nixon. People didn’t have cars, and still less had they efficient road trailers. So if you raced the whole way from Galway up the lake to Cong, you then had to expect to sail back again, and you’d have covered at least 60 miles by the time the day was out, though it’s likely they made at least two days of it.

But now with modern road trailers and dinghies dominant, complex logistics enter the equation. Since its revival in 1972, the race has been just one way – southwards from Cong to Corrib Village in Galway city. In order to ensure a smooth state of affairs after the finish, competitors are offered the option of leaving their boats by road at Lisloughry beforehand, then leaving their cars and trailers at Corrib Village where a bus will be on hand early in the Saturday morning to get them back to their waiting boats in Cong.

lough corrib2The basic shape of Lough Corrib indicated in this plan gives some idea of the length of Saturday’s race, but doesn’t fully reveal the lake’s island-studded nature (below) Photo: W M Nixon
lough corrib3Not only is the race now a convenient half size in length (though still all of 30 miles), but there’s a pit stop for lunch and conviviality at Kilbeg, more or less halfway down the lake where the expansive Corrib is at its narrowest, and there’s a pub nearby. But the very fact that your car and trailer are waiting at the south end of the lake is a real spur to completing the event

On the other hand, with people making last-minute decisions based on the fickle weather of 2019, maybe the handiest contact is direct to organiser John Barry, Rear Commodore (Dinghies) Galway Bay SC, at 086-8111269 – he reports that entries already in range from 420s to a selection of RS dinghies, participant ages are from 15 to 85, and there’s a strong female contingent taking on the challenge.

Meanwhile, the GBSC cruisers are recovering from their Summer Solstice Cruise to the Aran Islands at the weekend, which had a dozen boats taking part. While the sail round Inishmore on Saturday enjoyed Mediterranean conditions, Sunday brought driving easterly rain and a very damp beat home - all very character-building stuff.

Published in Galway Harbour
Tagged under

Two anglers recently appeared in court on charges relating to illegal fishing methods on the Cong River and fishing during the closed season.

On Thursday 23 May, Mindaugas Jenkus of Claremorris, Co Mayo and Dalius Bureninas of Birr, Co Offaly appeared in front of Judge Mary Fahy at Clifden District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation on the Cong River which occurred on 9 September 2018.

Both defendants represented themselves and pleaded guilty to strokehauling (using a weighted instrument or device with a rod and line or otherwise to foul-hook fish) and fishing out of season on the Cong River.

Bureninas also pleaded guilty to a further charge of obstruction under Section 301 (7) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.

Fisheries officer Paul Reynolds outlined the facts of the case to the court, while assistant fisheries inspector Barry Kelly also told the court that the Cong River was a very important salmonid fishery with has a large run of Atlantic salmon and a good stock of brown trout.

It is also of particular conservation interest in relation to ferox trout, for which the river is renowned.

The Cong River is one of the main tributaries of Lough Corrib, and is one of the most important salmon rivers in the west of Ireland

Fisheries inspector Pat Gorman stated that these offences were very serious due to the conservation status of the Cong River, when asked his opinion by Judge Fahy.

The judge commented on how serious a matter these offences were and referred to Bureninas giving a false name and address when lawfully demanded. She also noted that Mr Jenkus had a recent conviction for a similar fisheries offence.

Judge Fahy stated that if both defendants paid costs of €600 each to the court at a sitting of Clifden District Court on 26 September, she may deal with the matter by way of a somewhat reduced fine.

She also warned both men to be on their best behaviour and not to come to the attention of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) again as there was a risk of a custodial sentence being imposed.

“The Cong River is one of the main tributaries of Lough Corrib, is one of the most important salmon rivers in the west of Ireland and provides habitat for a very unique salmonid sub-species, ferox trout,” said IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne when commenting on the case.

“The Cong River is closed to angling during September as a conservation measure relating to both Atlantic salmon and ferox trout. The river attracts many anglers and tourists annually to fish for these unique wild salmonid species.”

Published in Angling

Sailors and boating enthusiasts from Galway’s sailing and boating clubs are coming together next month to follow their forebears in Europe’s oldest and longest inland sailing race.

On Saturday 29 June the fleet of dinghies will pit their wits against the elements and each other on the historic route along the length of Lough Corrib from Lisloughrey near Cong to Galway city.

Since 1882, sailors have raced the length of Lough Corrib. While the origin of the wager which prompted the first races is shrouded in myth and lore, the early races were hotly contested and a great social occasion.

They were very much a test of stamina as well as skill, with competitors completing a round trip of over 60 nautical miles from Galway to Ashford Castle and back again. It was raced annually until 1914 and the outbreak of World War I.

The race was revived in its current format, sailed in one direction from Lisloughrey to Galway, in 1972 and again became a stable in the Galway maritime calendar.

However, the weather gods have not been good to the race in recent years.

So, to ensure a successful event this year, the boating and sailing clubs around Galway have come together and moved the event to an earlier slot in the calendar.

It will take place this year on 29 June and follow the traditional steamer channel through the lake.

Full details of the race and the online registration are available on the Galway Bay Sailing Club website.

Transport will leave Corrib Rowing and Yacht Club and the Galway Commercial Boat Club at 8am to bring sailors to the start line in Lisloughrey. From there, the boats will make their way to Kilbeg for lunch and then continue on to the finish line in the lower Corrib.

However, the challenges don’t end there, with the Quincentennial Bridge providing a final obstacle to be negotiated — usually with the mast, sails and sailors in the water!

Following the race, there will be the chance to relive the decisive moments of the race at a reception hosted by the Commercial club after the historical silverware has been presented at CRYC.

Galway Bay Sailing Club has a link to the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, as well as the online registration form. For more details about the 2019 Cong-Galway Sailing Race, see the Facebook event page HERE.

Published in Racing

The owner of an angling centre from Moycullen was convicted at Galway District Court last Tuesday 5 February for the illegal use of a net and for possession of an unlawfully captured trout.

The court heard that Michael Canney, with an address at Portarra Lodge, was approached by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) fisheries officers on the morning of 25 June 2018 as he was hauling an illegal net into a lake boat on Lough Corrib.

Diorai Ford, solicitor acting for IFI, outlined to the court that fisheries officers had covertly kept the illegal net under surveillance throughout the night.

The net had been fishing since the previous evening when it was discovered during a routine fisheries patrol.

Canney was accompanied in the boat by a foreign student who was staying with him where he operates an angling centre.

When Canney retrieved the net into the boat, it contained one dead brown trout. While in the act of lifting the net, Canney was approached by a fisheries officer on a personal water craft.

Canney was co-operative throughout. The equipment used in the commission of the offences was seized and included a lake boat and engine.

Solicitor for the defendant, Sinead Fitzpatrick, stated in his defence that Canney had a group of Italian anglers staying with him at the time and he was undertaking a survey to see what fish stocks were in the area.

Judge Mary Fahy commented that she knew several people who fish legally on a regular basis on Lough Corrib and that Canney was a mature man and that he knew that what he was doing was illegal.

Judge Fahy convicted Mr Canney on both counts, and imposed a fine of €500 for the use of an unlawful net, along with a fine of €500 for the possession of an unlawfully captured trout.

Costs of €600 were awarded to IFI’s solicitor. The boat and engine that Canney used in the commission of the offences were also forfeited.

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “Lough Corrib is considered Ireland’s finest wild brown trout fishery and is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated for the protection of numerous aquatic species including Atlantic salmon.

“Lough Corrib attracts a vast number of anglers from all over the world who enjoy the unique angling for wild brown trout, Atlantic salmon, pike and coarse fish that the lake offers.

“This conviction reflects the long hours that dedicated fisheries officers spend on a daily basis in protecting our valuable fisheries resource.”

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed a fish kill on the River Tolka that was reported earlier this week.

Fisheries investigators found dead fish over a 5km stretch of the river in the Tolka Valley Park area, following the report on Tuesday 18 September.

According to IFI, a “significant source of polluting material has been identified” and samples were taken for analysis.

In the meantime “relevant parties are undertaking appropriate remedial action” as the investigation continues.

Also this week, Minister of State for inland fisheries Seán Kyne committed €300,000 for the removal of an invasive waterweed in Lough Corrib.

IFI will begin operations in 2019 to remove the aquatic plant Lagarosiphon major from the lough, after successful cutting and picking operations over the summer months this year.

In addition to these management operations, IFI commenced a research project last month which aims to establish the current distribution of L major in Lough Corrib.

New innovative methods are being trialled to survey the aquatic plant as part of this research. These include unmanned aerial drones, sub-aquatic remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and modern remote sensing techniques.

Speaking as he visited IFI’s stand at the National Ploughing Championships, Minister Kyne also asked the fisheries body and his department to continue liaison with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), who have responsibility for the legislation covering Alien Invasive Species (AIS).

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland has published its 2017 fish stock survey for the Owenriff catchment as well as its rehabilitation plan for the system to promote the recovery of brown trout and salmon in its lakes and rivers.

The Fish Stock Survey — which was conducted in the summer of 2017 and forms the basis for the Rehabilitation Plan — deduces that the introduction of pike into the catchment has been the significant factor in the declining fish stocks.

“As there are little or no major anthropogenic pressures in the catchment to cause the decline in fish stocks, it is reasonable to infer that the introduction of pike and their subsequent range expansion in the Owenriff catchment (with impacts of competition for food and space and predation on resident and migratory fish) is the main factor causing the decline of brown trout and salmon in the Owenriff catchment. Research from Europe and North America supports this finding,” the reports states.

Anthropogenic pressures include human-induced factors such as urban growth, deleterious discharges, farming activities and introduction of alien species.

Although pike were captured for the first time by IFI staff in 2009 in two lakes in the catchment (Loughs Bofin and Agraffard) and efforts were made by IFI staff to remove the pike from the system, they did not show up in two catchment-wide surveys in 1997 and 2007 and were only officially recorded in a survey for the first time in 2015.

However, the latest report, from the 2017 survey, confirms that pike are present all over the Owenriff catchment “in areas where they can freely gain access and in some areas where they cannot naturally gain access.”

Welcoming the publication of the two reports, Minister Sean Kyne TD said: “We have acted swiftly since the interim results of this survey became known. In late January, I announced that Inland Fisheries Ireland is to commence fish stock management operations on the Owenriff catchment to protect and restore trout stocks which have been impacted by recent introductions of pike to the catchment.

“The consequences of not taking wider remedial action on the basis of these survey results would lead to further decline in ecological biodiversity in the catchment, so I very much welcome the publication by IFI of the Owenriff Fish Population Rehabilitation Plan 2018.”

The minister continued: “The purpose of the plan is to develop a fisheries rehabilitation project that can be undertaken on the catchment to promote the recovery of the brown trout (both resident and migratory Corrib) and salmon populations in both lakes and rivers. It will take time and will be costly, but we are already underway with this very constructive and positive roadmap.”

With stock management actions having already commenced, the success of the broader rehabilitation project will depend on applying the correct tools to rehabilitate the brown trout and salmon populations in the Owenriff catchment.

These include fisheries enhancement works in selected sub-catchments to favour brown trout and salmon; genetic restoration; removing the problem (pike control); reducing anthropogenic impacts in the catchment; public awareness (especially in relation to the impacts of the introductions of species not indigenous to an area); interagency co-ordination; climate change mitigation; and any other necessary measures.

The Owenriff catchment is located on the north-western end of the Lough Corrib catchment, and the main Owenriff River drains into Lough Corrib Upper downstream of Oughterard, Co Galway. The Lough Corrib catchment itself is the largest and most important wild salmonid catchment in Ireland, and Lough Corrib is considered the premier wild brown trout fishery in Ireland.

The Owenriff rehabilitation plan and 2017 fish stock survey can both be downloaded from the IFI website. Afloat.ie also has more on IFI's stock management plan for Ireland's trout waters in 2018.

Published in Angling
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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

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