Between now and 2030, Italy will have to install 900 megawatts of offshore wind at sea, according to the forecasts of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (Pniec). To date, there are still no plants in operation, compared to about 40 projects for which an equal number of connection requests have been submitted to Terna, the company that manages the national electricity grid. The delays are partly due to the complex authorization process. If all these projects were carried out, the Peninsula would reach 17 thousand megawatts (17 Gw) of installed offshore wind, almost 19 times higher than that envisaged by the Pniec.
Most of the projects are concentrated on Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia which are the most worrying areas as they are typically lacking in infrastructure, stressed Corrado Gadaleta of Terna at the off-shore wind conference for the ecological transition of Civitavecchia: challenges and opportunities.
Of the total 17 GW, 5.2 GW are designed in areas with depths of up to 100 meters, 5.3 GW between 100 and 300 meters and 6.5 GW above 300 MW. Gadaleta explained that with a depth of over 100-150 meters there are technological issues to be explored. The main node is the combination of depth, relevant powers and significant distances from the coast that create strong criticalities in particular for direct current connections and dynamic cables.
The Ministry of Transition also announced that it had received the 40 projects of floating offshore wind farms, to be built mainly off the coast of Sicily and Sardinia, along the Adriatic coast and, for the remainder, distributed between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian. The expressions of interest sent to Mite are 64, of which 55 by companies and business associations, 3 by environmental protection associations (WWF, Legambiente and Greenpeace) and 7 by other subjects (ANEV, Elettricit futura, CNA, CGIL, Polytechnic University of Turin, OWEMES – association of researchers, CIRSAM – International Consortium for Adriatic and Mediterranean development and research).
The wind farm of Taranto
The only project that is already under construction is the Taranto wind farm, which should come into operation in 2022. The supply of wind turbines was entrusted to the company Ming Yang Smart energy which will supply 10 pieces with a 25-year contract. Four shovels will be placed behind the Multi-sectoral Pier and the remaining six near the breakwaters. The poles are produced by the Spanish company wind. The plant will have a total power of about 30 MW and will be able to produce 55,600 MWh / year, equal to the energy needs of 18,500 families. This is an investment of approximately 80 million euros in private funds headed by the Renexia company, the Toto Group company active in the renewable energy sector. The manager is the company Beleolico srl, with which the Port Authority of Taranto entered into a thirty-year concession in 2019.
The wind farms of Falk Renewables
There are 12 other projects along the Apulian Adriatic coast. Two belong to the multinational Falck Renewables. The first, which affects the waters off the coast of Brindisi, is called Kailia Energy. It will be a floating marine wind farm with an installed capacity of approximately 1.2 GW, for an expected annual production of 3.5 TWh, equivalent to the consumption of approximately 1 million Italian households, which would allow the reduction of 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere per year.
The second project is called Odra Energia, the maximum installed capacity is expected to be approximately 1.3 GW. While the estimated annual production is around 4 TWh, equivalent to the consumption of over one million households. Also in this case it is a floating park that should be built off the southern coast of the province of Lecce. This technology – points out Falck Renewables in a note – allows the positioning of the blades in deeper waters, such as those of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the construction of the plants without the use of fixed foundations and farther offshore than traditional marine wind farms. This feature, in addition to minimizing the impacts on the marine and terrestrial environment during all phases of the project, makes it possible to intercept the wind resource where it is most abundant, increasing the efficiency of the plants.
Projects in Sicily
Other projects should concern the Ionian and the Strait of Sicily, where 8 connection requests have been made for as many projects. One Med Wind which involves the construction of a wind farm consisting of 190 floating turbines about 60 km from the coast. The installed power will be 2 GW and the estimated annual production of 9TWh. In recent weeks Renexia has completed the first phase of surveys in the stretch of sea where the plant will be built.
Another project should arise in the northern area of the Sicilian Channel, about 37 kilometers southwest of Marsala. Also in this case it is a floating plant consisting of 25 wind turbines of 10 megawatts each. The project developed by the Danish company Copenhagen Offshore Partners.
The hub off Ravenna
In Sardinia, according to Terna’s map, requests were submitted for 8 wind farms between the Cagliari and Iglesiente coasts and for another 4 off the coast north-east of the island. Other requests concern the stretches of sea off the coast of Tuscany and Romagna, where Agnes (acronym for Adriatic Green Network of Energy Resources) recently submitted an application for the maritime state-owned areas and the stretches of water off Ravenna where a hub – promoted with QINT’X and Saipem – di wind and floating photovoltaic to produce electricity e green hydrogen.
The case of Civitavecchia
A hypothesis on which we are still thinking is to build an offshore wind farm in Lazio, near Civitavecchia. The studio of feasibility was presented during the conference in which Terna took stock of offshore wind projects awaiting construction in Italy. The study on Civitavecchia foresees the initial installation of 270 MW, with 27 wind turbines about 250 meters high positioned about 20-30 km from the Lazio coast in a maritime space of about 25 sq km.
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