Investors 'keen' on Italian floating offshore wind projects

Ecological transition ministry confirms high level of interest from potential investors as it completes first round of talks

Italy's first offshore project is currently under construction and will use Ming Yang 3MW turbines

Interest in building floating offshore wind farms off the coast of Italy is “keen”, according to indications provided by the ecological transition ministry as it wrapped up a first round of bilateral meetings with potential investors. 

The ministry said that it had examined about 20 detailed floating offshore wind projects, of which several were sited over 12 miles from Italian shores.   

In total, 40 floating offshore projects were presented, the ministry added. Just over half of these are planned off the coasts of the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, it said. A dozen would be located along the Adriatic coast, and the remainder sited in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. 

The ministry had already announced on 24 September that it had received 64 expressions of interest for floating offshore wind, including 55 from companies and consortia, following a call in June.

Now that this first phase is finished, the ministry said that it plans another round of meetings to discuss the possibility with project proponents of exploiting synergies in areas of the sea in which a number of floating offshore facilities are planned.   

The ministry will also take advantage of this second round of talks to update environmental associations and other involved parties, it said. Environmental groups like Greenpeace and WWF, and trade and research associations, were also among those responding to the call for expressions of interest. 

Italian developer Falck Renewables and floating specialist BlueFloat Energy, which have revealed plans to build two floating offshore wind farms totalling 2.5GW in Italy, are among companies that met with the ministry. 

Among others sitting down to discuss the possibility of investing in floating offshore wind are Italian firms Saipem, Edison, Eni, ERG, Fri-El Green Power and Renexia, which is constructing the 30MW Beleolico expected to be commissioned next year. 

Non-Italian potential investors include Ocean Winds, Principle Power, DEME Offshore, RWE Renewables and Copenhagen Offshore Partners. 

Italy currently has no offshore wind capacity. National wind energy association Anev has set a target of 5GW for floating offshore wind off Italy’s coasts by 2040. 

Prospects for floating offshore are seen as better than for fixed-bottom projects given Italy’s generally deep seas. 

The Italian government is hoping that projects located further away from the coastline will generate less opposition.