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Inaugurated today Beleolico, the Mediterranean’s first offshore wind farm in Taranto

  • Inaugurated today Beleolico, the Mediterranean’s first offshore wind farm in Taranto
  • Built by Renexia with an investment of 80 million euro
  • It will produce 58,000 MWh of clean energy, enough to meet the annual needs of 60,000 people
  • Among other things, it will be used to electrify the Port of Taranto and reduce pollution

Taranto, 21 April 2022. The first offshore wind farm in the Mediterranean was inaugurated today in Taranto. This is Beleolico, the name of the plant that Renexia, a Toto Group company operating in the renewable energy sector, has built off Taranto’s polisectoral pier.

The plant, comprising ten wind turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW, will produce over 58 thousand MWh, equal to the annual needs of 60 thousand people. In environmental terms, this means that, over its expected 25-year life, it will save around 730,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. For the distribution of energy in the area, Renexia has built a substation for connection to the national electricity grid at Torre Triolo, a few kilometres from the port area. The total investment for the construction of Beleolico is EUR 80 million.

With the completion of this project, Italy is entering a new era, a concrete first step in launching the energy transition and thus rebalancing an energy mix that places renewable sources at the centre. Aiming at increasing energy autonomy that is sustainable, in compliance with European decarbonisation standards, is a priority 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, by national and local authorities. The event also included a panel discussion, ‘Beleolico: Taranto restarts with energy. Italy is betting on renewables’, which was attended, together with Renexia’s CEO Riccardo Toto, by the President of the Puglia Region, Michele Emiliano, the President of the Ionian Sea Port Authority, Sergio Prete, the President of Acciaierie d’Italia, Franco Bernabè, the President of Legambiente, Stefano Ciafani, the President of AIAD, Guido Crosetto, and the journalist and popular scientist Alessandro Cecchi Paone.

The various speakers wished to highlight the strong intention to encourage the installation of renewable energy plants which, as well as guaranteeing security and autonomy for the country’s system, also represent an opportunity to reduce pollution levels and create jobs. From the point of view of employment, Renexia is committed to setting up a specialised industrial chain over the 25-year concession period, and Taranto could become a reference point for the fast-growing offshore wind sector. This technology represents a practical alternative to climate-altering power stations, for the production of clean energy, thus helping to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in compliance with European directives.

A number of government representatives also contributed to the inaugural ceremony and debate. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio sent a message applauding the initiative and emphasising its importance in terms of Italy’s ongoing efforts to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons, particularly those from Russia: “the ecological transition process is the only way to ensure sustainability, resilience and adaptability in the energy sector, a dynamic that is even more evident due to the conflict in Ukraine,” Di Maio said. The Minister for Economic Development, Giancarlo Giorgetti, emphasised “the great development opportunities that offshore energy can offer the country”, while the head of MIMS, Enrico Giovannini, after praising the initiative, highlighted how “the transformation towards sustainability also passes through the production of clean energy”.

“The completion of this project meets a twofold objective: on the one hand, the satisfaction of having built the first offshore 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 care for the environment,” commented the entrepreneur who built Beleolico, Riccardo Toto, General Manager of Renexia.

Today’s ceremony was also attended by diplomatic delegations from countries that are important industrial partners at international level. The realisation of Beleolico was indeed a moment of great international cooperation. The Chinese ambassador to Italy, Li Junhua, and economic advisor Agnes Agterberg from the Dutch embassy were present, while last week the German ambassador to Italy Viktor Elbling paid a visit to the Taranto shipyard.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, which ended with the special blessing of the Archbishop of Taranto, Monsignor Filippo Santoro, an agreement was signed between the Port Authority and Renexia for the sale of part of the energy produced by Belolico to allow the total electrification of the Port of Taranto. This refers to the sale of at least 10% of the energy produced, for a quantity of no less than 220 MWh per year. Sergio Prete and Riccardo Toto, after signing the agreement, underlined how electrifying the Port would mean a very high reduction in pollution, if we consider that every 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 over 90 offshore wind projects totalling over 23 GW, acted as the project’s Lender’s Engineer in support of the project financing.