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Companies speed up development of floating wind farms around Italy. The first wind farm will be built by 2026

 By Habiba Gamal

The Danish infrastructure fund Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and the joint venture Green IT of the Italian renewable energy company Plenitude (PLT) and the infrastructure investor CDP Equity have announced their intention to jointly develop floating wind power off Italy with almost three gigawatts (GW) of generation capacity . They have now signed an agreement according to which they want to connect three floating offshore projects of this capacity, as the technology is known internationally, between 2028 at the earliest and the end of 2031 at the latest. The project is directed by the investor and developer community towards a project field in front of the capital province of Latium in central Italy and two adjoining areas to the west off the island coast of Sardinia. With around 500, 540 and around 1,000 megawatts (MW), the three new projects of the partners are to expand their joint project pipeline, which opened a year ago in April 2022, to a volume of at least 2.75 GW.

Green IT and CIP had already declared at their first agreement a year ago in April 2022 that they wanted to jointly project two wind farms with a total capacity of at least 750 MW off Sardinia and off the island of Sicily at the southern tip of the Mediterranean country. The partners would like to put these two planned wind farms into operation as early as 2026 and 2028.

Although there are still no tenders and no law for the planned expansion of floating offshore wind power in Italy, the race for the best areas and launch sites began last year. According to the latest plans, the first tender for remuneration rights by the Italian authority GSE is to take place in 2023 in order to push a nominal output volume of five GW in further tenders by 2026. These could still be connected to the grid by 2030.

CIP had already started a 250 MW project off Sicily in December 2020 by establishing a joint venture with two other partners. Its construction should have started in 2023, but more recent concrete announcements are pending after plans may have been delayed due to the corona pandemic and inflation in construction costs.

In January this year, partners Falck Renewables and Blue Float Energy entered into a partnership with the Italian steel company Acciaierie d’Italia to secure the valuable raw material for their own planned six projects with 5.5 GW. Also in January, Swedish company Hexigon announced that it had secured the contract from grid operator Terna to connect six 7.1 GW floating offshore wind farms. Partners Seawind Ocean Technology and Aquaterra Energy announced their agreement to develop a 3.2 GW wind farm with 1 GW of hydrogen generation back in September 2022. The Hy Med project is scheduled to go online in 2027.

Probably the most advanced GW project for floating wind power comes from debutant Renexia from Chieti in Abruzzo. The renewable energy company, which belongs to the Roman infrastructure company Toto, commissioned Italy’s first offshore wind farm Beleolico with 30 MW on solid monopile foundations in 2022.

Originally by 2025, now by 2026, its Med Wind project is scheduled to go into operation with 2.8 GW. Renexia intends to complete all approval procedures for this this year.

The announcement of the latest floating offshore projects by CIP and Green IT came almost simultaneously with a presentation of the results of a round table between the Italian government and the associations of the renewable energy industry. On Wednesday, the representatives of the associations at the Key Energy trade fair for renewable energies in Rimini, which was being held for the f…

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