Offshore, Onshore, Project Development, Wind Power

Italy to Venture into Offshore Wind

Shortly before the end of 2016, Italy concluded a renewable energy auction that will see some 870 MW of capacity introduced into the nation’s energy mix.

The auction’s outcomes, announced by the Italian energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), include a 30-MW offshore wind farm to be developed in the port of Taranto, in southeastern Italy. The project will be the nation’s first offshore wind development.

The so-called Beleolico offshore wind park will be developed by Italian company Belenergia S.A, which won with a bid price of €161.7 (US$172)/MWh.

The project was the sole eligible bid to compete for subsidy under the Italian draft decree on renewable energy issued in 2015 that had set aside 30 MW for offshore wind power.

The Beleolico wind farm is to feature 10 3-MW turbines, with construction pitched to begin early 2017, and commissioning in 2018.

Davide Astiaso Garcia, Secretary General of the Italian Wind Energy Association (ANEV) told Renewable Energy World: “ANEV is pleased to know that the energy auction provided a financial framework for the first Italian offshore wind farm but it is considered only as a first step that needs further support from the national and regional administrations for allowing a real growth of offshore wind technology in Italy.”

He added that “ANEV believes that the implementation of offshore wind technology, under the right implementation strategy, would provide important benefits to the Italian electricity market.”

Commenting on how ANEV view the potential for future build out of offshore wind power capacity in Italian waters, Garcia said: “ANEV has an internal working group [on] offshore wind farms that is currently studying the potential for offshore wind technology in Italy. A first estimation highlights a potential of about 1 GW.”

Garcia highlighted that on-going discussions over new legislation to support renewable energy up until 2020 may provide an opportunity for furthering offshore wind. 

“The new Italian decree could include the definition of a remuneration scheme for offshore plants which provides long-term visibility to investors and on the other hand the design of the right development process,” he said. “ANEV wishes that more offshore projects will follow in the following years, and is working for achieving this objective with the national institutions.”

Alongside offshore wind, the auction awarded 25-year fixed-price power purchase agreements for some 800 MW of onshore wind power capacity.

In this regard the auction demonstrated a healthy level of competition within the Italian wind market as the onshore capacity on offer attracted bids totaling 2,083 MW. Successful bids were awarded tariffs of €66 per MWh.

Garcia is confident for the sector, and its future.

“Italian industries have a multi-year expertise [with] wind technology, and according to ANEV studies Italy has a wind power potential of about 16 GW [compared to] about 9 GW currently installed,” he said.

Still, refinement in regulation is as warranted as ever.

He said that “a regulatory simplification, streamlining the authorization process for new wind farms, as well as for the revamping of the older ones, is needed to take advantage of this clean energy potential amount.”

Lead image: Minerva Messina wind park, Sicily, Italy. Credit: Greentech