April 21, 2022

Beleolico, the Mediterranean's first marine wind farm, inaugurated in Taranto

The Mediterranean’s first marine wind farm was inaugurated today in Taranto It is Beleolico, the name of the plant that Renexia, a Toto Group company active in renewables, has built off Taranto’s multi-sectoral pier.

The plant, which includes ten blades with a total capacity of 30 MW, will ensure a production of more than 58 thousand MWh, equal to the annual needs of 60 thousand people. In environmental terms it means that, over its planned 25-year lifetime, it will save about 730 thousand tons of carbon dioxide. For energy distribution in the area Renexia has built a substation for connection to the national power grid in Torre Triolo, a few kilometers from the port area. The total investment for the construction of Beleolico is 80 million euros.

With the completion of this work, Italy enters a new era, a concrete first step in triggering the energy transition and thus calibrating an energy mix that places renewables at the center. Aiming for a growing energy autonomy that is sustainable, while complying with European standards on decarbonization, is a priority goal that the current international situation has brought to the fore. This was discussed at the plant’s inauguration event at the Yilport area in Taranto, which was attended by national and local authorities. And which also included a panel discussion entitled “Beleolico: Taranto restarts with energy. Italy bets on renewables,” which was attended, along with Renexia’s General Manager, Riccardo Toto, by the President of the Puglia Region, Michele Emiliano, the President of the Ionian Sea Port System Authority, Sergio Prete, the President of Acciaierie d’Italia, Franco Bernabè, Legambiente President, Stefano Ciafani, the President of Aiad, Guido Crosetto, and journalist and science communicator Alessandro Cecchi Paone.

The various speakers wished to reiterate the firm desire to boost the installation of renewable energy plants that, in addition to guaranteeing safety and autonomy for the country system, also represent an opportunity to reduce pollution levels and create employment. Precisely from the point of view of employment, Renexia, over the 25-year concession of the wind farm, is committed to starting a specialized industrial chain, and Taranto could become a reference point for a fast-growing sector such as offshore wind. A technology that represents a concrete alternative to climate-altering power plants, for the production of clean energy, thus contributing to the reduction of Co2 emissions into the atmosphere in compliance with European directives.

A number of government officials also contributed to the opening ceremony and debate. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio sent a message applauding the initiative and stressing its importance with respect to our country’s ongoing efforts to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons and in particular those from Russia: “the process of ecological transition represents the only way that can guarantee sustainability, resilience and adaptability of the energy sector, a dynamic that appears even more evident due to the conflict in Ukraine,” Di Maio said. Economic Development Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti was keen to emphasize “the great development opportunities that marine wind power can offer the country,” while the Minister for Infrastructures Enrico Giovannini, after praising the initiative, highlighted how “the transformation towards sustainability also passes through clean energy production.”

“The completion of this work achieves a twofold objective, on the one hand the fulfillment of the first marine wind farm in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea, and on the other hand the awareness that our approach, based on sharing, can contribute to the creation of a new protocol that combines technology and attention to the environment,” – commented the entrepreneur who realized Beleolico, Riccardo Toto, General Manager of Renexia.

Diplomatic delegations from countries representing important international industrial partners also attended today’s ceremony. The realization of Beleolico was indeed a moment of great international collaboration. In attendance were Chinese Ambassador to Italy Li Junhua, Economic Advisor Agnes Agterberg of the Dutch Embassy, while last week German Ambassador Viktor Elbling paid a visit to the Taranto shipyard.

On the side of the ceremony, which concluded with the special blessing of the Archbishop of Taranto, Monsignor Filippo Santoro, an agreement was signed between the Port Authority and Renexia for the assignment of part of the energy produced by Belolico to enable the total electrification of the Port of Taranto. We are talking about the transfer of at least 10% of the energy produced, for an amount in any case not less than 220 MWh per year. Sergio Prete and Riccardo Toto, after signing the agreement, stressed that electrifying the Port implies a very high reduction in pollution, if we consider that each ship that enters the Port and does not turn off its engines produces pollution on a daily basis equal to that of 10 thousand cars.

Fichtner, Europe’s leading independent advisor with more than 90 offshore wind projects totaling more than 23 GW to its credit, acted as the project’s Lender’s Engineer in support of the project financing.