Market Intelligence
Wind Energy Italy

Italy Energy Offshore Wind

Year to date November 2022 data shows that renewables satisfied 32.4% of Italy’s electricity demand.  Specifically, wind power fulfilled 6.4% of demand.  There is much expectation for future generation from offshore wind power plants thanks to a few major changes that took place in 2022. The inauguration of the first Italian offshore wind plant (Beleolico, near Taranto) took place, the Government simplified bureaucratic procedures for installations of offshore plants up to 10 MW and the Government also announced that five GW of offshore wind projects will be made available through auctions between 2023 and 2026.  

Applications for offshore wind power plant connections to the grid approved by Terna, the national electricity transmission grid operator, grew by 200% in 2022. This will amount to 95 GW of new offshore wind projects in the future. Approximately 80% of the requests submitted for offshore wind projects will be located in Southern Italy and the major islands. The island of Sardinia in particular accounts for about 24 GW worth of future installations.

The first and, so far, only completed offshore wind project in Italy is Beleolico, in Taranto (Puglia, Southeast Italy), developed by Italian company Renexia. The plant, which includes ten blades for a total capacity of 30 MW, will ensure a production of over 58,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year, equal to the annual power demand of 60,000 people. In environmental terms, over the 25 years of its expected life, the plant will allow for a saving of around 730,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Among the many interesting offshore wind projects in the pipeline are:
•    GreenIT, a joint venture between Plenitude (Eni Group) and CDP Equity: a plant in Sicily and one in Southwest Sardinia
•    Falck Renewables in joint venture with Blue Float Energy: two  projects in Southern Sardinia, one in Northeastern Sardinia and one in Puglia  
•    Seawind: two projects in Southwest Sardinia 
•    Energia Wind 2020: one project in the northern Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Rimini
•    Renexia: one project off the Egadi islands, just north of Sicily and one project off the coast of Sardinia
•    Agnes: a project in the northern Adriatic Sea, off the coast of Ravenna.

The potential of offshore wind energy in the Italian seas as estimated by Italian wind energy association ANEV is 5.5 GW leading up to 2030.  Even some of the environmentalist associations are mostly in favor of the new projects. However, red tape and opposition from some local governments and authorities still present challenges to project development. The president of leading Italian environmental association Legambiente, Stefano Ciafani, commenting on the long authorization processes necessary for the Beleolico plant recently remarked on the “difficult bureaucracy” affecting such processes and lamented the “many suspended renewable projects” (for all renewables, not just for offshore wind) due to “excessive bureaucracy, the lack of consensus by the public administration, negative opinions of the superintendence, moratoria by Regions, protests by some local committees and by some environmentalist associations”.   

It is hoped that a concerted, joint effort from the national and local governments and authorities will lead to the authorization of more offshore wind projects. This is needed due to the conflict in the Ukraine, which requires Italy to improve domestic energy security by becoming independent of Russian gas by the second half of 2024.  Italy also must meet clean energy production targets mandated by the European Union.  Renewable energy in general, and offshore wind, will have a key role in this.

U.S. entrepreneurs interested in connecting with Italian wind energy industry players and seeking representation and information on how the U.S. Commercial service can assist U.S. companies should reach out to: