Wind wire: Italy's first offshore

Italy's environment ministry has given environmental impact clearance to a 162 MW wind farm, planned off the coast of the southern Italian region of Molise, in a move that should clear the way for final approval for the country's first offshore wind power farm.

The ministry's authorisation for the wind farm, proposed by Milan-based developer Effeventi, off the Molise town of Termoli, is the first to be granted for a planned offshore installation in Italy. While Effeventi must still receive approval from the transport ministry, gaining approval from the environment ministry is widely seen as the biggest hurdle in the way of obtaining authorisation for an offshore wind farm. The wind farm will be composed of 54 turbines at 3 MW each and construction should begin by early 2011. While the turbine supplier has not yet been chosen, Wagner says it is likely that machines produced by either Vestas or Siemens will be used.