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What’s it like working in the development of offshore windfarms?

DP Energy’s Adam Cronin discusses working in the growing renewable energy sector and the advice he would give people starting out.

Green skills are becoming more important than ever as Ireland focuses on creating more renewable energy options, nearly zero-energy buildings and other projects that aim to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

But what is it like working within the green-tech sector and being part of the renewable energy sector?

Adam Cronin is the head of offshore at DP Energy. He leads the offshore team in the delivery of the companies offshore renewable development brief in and provides advice across the group and internationally.

Cronin has 25 years’ experience leading teams in the design, consenting and development of marine and offshore projects, including offshore energy, subsea cabling, dredging and port and harbour developments supporting the offshore renewable sector.

‘I was using my engineering expertise to protect the marine environment’

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What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?

I grew up in Skerries, a fishing town in North County Dublin. I have always lived beside the sea and I think I always will. At school I loved physics and technical drawing, so a career as an engineer was on the cards from early on.

I started my engineering education in the then Dundalk RTC [now Dundalk Institute of Technology], continued with a bachelor’s degree in the UK and finally a master’s in environmental civil engineering from Trinity College Dublin.

After an early start in engineering consultancy, I joined the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and then the Department of the Marine, based in Cork. I was using my engineering expertise working to protect the marine environment while promoting sustainable development.

After 10 years as a civil servant, I set up my own consultancy firm providing advice and services to clients in the marine space. I worked in private consultancy for 15 years before joining DP Energy to head up their offshore project portfolio.

What brought you to your current job?

I had been involved in a number of offshore renewable projects and knew this was the direction I wanted to head in. I met Simon De Pietro, the CEO and co-founder of DP Energy and realised we shared a passion for renewable energy and sustainable development.

Simon has been a leading renewable developer for more than 30 years and I had the offshore/marine knowledge. It was an obvious fit if we were going to build offshore wind farms.

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path?

I don’t recall any particularly big surprises in my career to date. More gradual changes and realisations as time went on. Every job I’ve ever had has had challenges, some internal and some external. But where’s the fun without challenges? If something needs to be done, then I’ll get it done!

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

I’ve been lucky to work with some really good people over the past couple of decades in both the public and private sectors.

Passionate people and people with real vision. My manager in the Department of the Marine instilled in me the need to do things right and to challenge everything. This has stood to me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I work with a great team of people who share my passion for sustainable development and are all experts in their respective fields. Every day is different and challenging in some way. I love that!

I’m leading the development of a number of offshore wind farms, that will be the largest marine civil engineering projects ever developed in Ireland, all with a goal of producing renewable energy to power our future and contribute to the country’s climate action goals.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

What I’m really good at is bringing people with me on a journey. I’ve always worked alongside my team rather than dictate from above. It’s the only way as far as I’m concerned.

My door is always open. I love talking to people, explaining what we are doing and get them interested. Having a tolerance for pressure and being a good multi-tasker helps too!

What can people expect from career progression in the renewable energy sector?

The future of renewable energy in Ireland and internationally is very strong. We have significant climate action targets to meet in Ireland, including the development of at least 5GW of offshore wind by 2030 and to produce 80pc of our energy needs from renewable resources by 2030 also.

These challenges need committed, passionate people and there are many opportunities across a huge spectrum of careers. A career in the renewable energy sector will be rewarding and exciting.

DP Energy is very supportive in the development of young professionals and indeed re-skilling/training to meet the future sector needs.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in renewable energy?

My advice to anyone starting out in this sector, or indeed any sector is fairly simple. Work hard and stay determined.

Focus on what you want and what your educational and work experience path is and go for it. If you are passionate about what you do and committed, future employers will recognise this, and you’ll be in strong demand.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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