Italian renewable industry expands future renewable development amid land constraints and commercial viability

Source: press release, 16 September 2020

Saipem confirms its increasingly active presence in the field of initiatives linked to the development of offshore wind
Saipem confirms its increasingly active presence in the field of initiatives linked to the development of offshore wind (photo: Saipem)

The Italian Government is expanding the integration of renewables in its generation mix to create an infrastructure for supporting sustainable green generation, thereby tackling the issues of land constraints and making continuous strides in meeting the net carbon neutrality ambition by 2050. The constant decline in the development costs for offshore wind and floating solar PV has garnered special recognition in the country’s renewable energy plan. The Italian renewable capacity, excluding hydropower, is estimated to reach 60 GW by 2030 from the current 36 GW, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5%, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “The floating offshore wind project is a technological advancement and investments in the segment provides Italy the prospect of staying ahead in the growth curve. Along with the floating offshore wind projects, developers are also looking at building hybrid offering with integration of solar PV to improve the generation yield.”

This year is attracting growing interest from various players that are active in the supply chain and who are investing in the Italian renewable energy landscape. In June 2020, Italian developers began work on the EUR 750 million (USD 840 million) 7Seas Med floating wind project with 25 floating wind turbines with 10 megawatts (MW) capacity. Terna has pledged an additional investment of EUR 7.3 billion (USD 8.3 billion) by 2024 to meet the growing demand for electricity from green energy.

Recently, Saipem signed a pact with renewable energy (RE) developers Agnes and Qint’X, to co-develop a project combining 450 MW of offshore wind capacity with floating solar PV technology in the Italian Adriatic Sea. In a similar instance, Eni New Energy SpA has laid its plans to invest EUR 14.7 million (USD 17.3 million) and construct a 14 MW floating solar PV plant in Brindisi.

Italy is one of the primary markets for several global investors, as the country provides a perfect amalgamation of ideal climatic conditions, optimum solar irradiance, and wind speed to implement cutting-edge solar and wind technology. Floating offshore wind turbines provide more access to deeper water than conventional fixed-bottom wind turbines. This expands the practical range for wind energy development and can potentially get access to locales with steadier and higher wind flow.

Das adds, “Being limited in geographic landmass, the country is making use of its coastlines and its waters to meet its RE installation targets by the conclusion of the decade. Italy has the second largest solar PV installed capacity in Europe and is looking to make headways in the offshore wind segment. The RE space is seeing global players like European Energy A/S, Sonnedix, Octopus Investments Ltd, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners KS investing in the country, making giant steps towards sustainability and zero-carbon generation.”