Developer of Italy’s first offshore wind farm exploring environmentally friendly solutions for floating wind project off Sicily
Renexia, the company behind Italy’s first offshore wind farm and the first to be built in the Mediterranean Sea, has contracted Seas Geosciences to study the most environmentally sustainable mooring and anchoring solutions for Med Wind, a 2.8 GW floating wind project proposed to be built in the Strait of Sicily.
Seas Geosciences, part of Sealaska’s Woocheen ocean-health group of businesses, will be investigating the seabed and underwater environment at the proposed project site using what the company says are innovative sampling methods with its remotely operated systems.
The US-based company will deploy a robotic seafloor drill and perform cone penetration testing up to 40 metres below the seafloor, in a water depth of more than 900 metres.
“Our goal is to use the latest technology, ideas and tools to understand what’s going on below the ocean floor, working with others of like minds to generate clean energy from our oceans in the least invasive way possible”, said Paolo Casciotti, Seas president. “We will make a complete map of what’s happening beneath the seabed, and we’ll do it with minimal environmental risks while keeping our people safe”.
The work will be done to acquire geotechnical information about geohazards at the project site that will further enable Renexia to define and design the most appropriate seabed anchoring systems for the floating wind turbines and ensure maximum attention to the surrounding ecosystem, according to Seas, which has partnered with the Italian company Argo to supply the vessel it will use as a base for the seafloor work.
“We are proud to be able to collaborate with an international company like Sealaska that shares with Renexia the values of environmental sustainability and care for the local community”, said Riccardo Toto, Renexia’s General Manager. “Renexia, with Med Wind, has the potential to become a point of reference in Italy for the promotion of renewables and encourage the path of energy transition needed for the country. Not only that, the project will create an important supply chain through which significant added value will be produced for the local economy”.
Planned to be built 60 kilometres off the Italian coast, at a site covering 850 square kilometres, Med Wind will feature 190 turbines and will be built in phases to reach its full installed capacity of 2.8 GW, which can generate about 9 TWh of electricity per year, equal to the energy needs of 3.4 million households.
Renexia started working on preliminary design and site investigations for Med Wind, deemed the first floating wind project in the Mediterranean, last year.
In September 2022, Fugro won the contract to carry out marine geophysical and environmental surveys and, the following month, Renexia hired RINA to prepare an environmental impact assessment and other related studies for the project.
In December last year, the developer selected Technip Energies to perform the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for the project, with the scope of work covering the FEED for the 190 floating foundations and moorings for the wind turbines and the conceptual design for the floating offshore substations.
The design of the floating foundation will be based on Technip Energies’ in-house floater technology INO15™, a three-column semi-submersible floater that is well suited for large series production.
Construction of the 2.8 GW floating offshore wind project is expected to start by 2025, with commissioning planned on 1 January 2026.