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Italian renewable industry expands future renewable development

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

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 60GW by 2030 from the current 36GW, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5%, according to GlobalData. 

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, said: “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 €750m (US$840m) 7Seas Med floating wind project with 25 floating wind turbines with 10 megawatts (MW) capacity. Terna has pledged an additional investment of €7.3bn (US$8.3bn) 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 450MW 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 €14.7m (US$17.3m) and construct a 14 MW floating solar PV plant in Brindisi.

GlobalData says 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 added: “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 2nd 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.”

North East gets offshore wind VR training facility

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A virtual reality system has been created at Newcastle College’s Energy Academy in Wallsend to help train future engineers in the North East region.

The Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) offshore wind training facility has been commissioned for the Great Exhibition of the North and has been delivered by Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapults, in partnership with Scotland’s Energy Skills Partnership, Heriot Watt University and Animmersion VR, to replicate working conditions experienced by wind turbine engineers operating on offshore wind farms.

The  VR technology allows users to locate and diagnose faults in a realistic and safe environment, helping develop the skillset needed for working within the wind industry.

The new technology part of a national initiative to create 27,000 skilled jobs within the the energy sector by 2030.

The Energy Academy opened in 2012 and has already trained over 1,200 students.

“The immersive Hybrid Reality installation at Newcastle College is a huge, innovative step in training and skills development for the next generation of offshore wind technicians,” explained Tony Quinn, ORE Catapult operations director. “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition as a dedicated training facility, provided by a high-quality education and skills provider here in the North East.”

Speaking at the Great Exhibition of the North, director of Business Partnerships Marc McPake said: “Newcastle College has always been aligned to North East LEP priorities and our training and development here at the Energy Academy is centred around the skills required by industry.

“Collaboration with employers is at the centre of everything we do and our partnership with ORE Catapult is a fantastic example of a relationship which will benefit our students and an entire industry.

“Technology and innovation are changing the future of education and training and we hope that this facility will create a lasting legacy by supporting the creation of highly skilled jobs and employment for our region.”