To build the largest floating offshore wind farm in the Mediterranean and at the same time a chain linked to wind power in Sicily. These are the two routes for the wind farm that Renexia from Toto Group plans to build off the coast of Sicily, 60 kilometers from the island’s coast and 40 kilometers from the Egadi Islands. A project which, despite the dissenting opinion of the Sicilian Regional Assembly’s commissions, continues while the management of Renexia accelerates in terms of confrontation with the territory, trade unions and companies: in the coming weeks, for example, it aims to meet fishermen.
The comparison with the territory
This was stated by General Manager of Renexia Riccardo Toto, speaking at the conference “Sicily against renewable energy”, organized on Tuesday, April 12, by Filtcem Cgil in Palermo: “We are ready to share with the fishermen so that the data is confirmed. We have been careful to avoid any shoal of fish and fishing routes.But we would like to check with the fishermen, for one thing is to move, now it is another to have to do it when the work is completed.We would like to propose compensatory measures and projects to fishermen who can help their work, such as collecting plastic, but not only. reverse a paradigm and with the idea of listening to the needs of a territory. With a path where we have put sustainability at the center. The first ones we heard were representatives of environmental associations, and with their contributions, we changed the project and improved it. A path that was useful and led us to explore 2,500 square feet of ocean floor. Then we changed the layout, and at the end of the survey phase, we reduced the area to 800 square kilometers while maintaining the same power, Toto said.
The American model for the Sicilian park
The model that Renexia started from is the offshore wind farm built in the United States, off the coast of Maryland, about 17 miles off the coast of Ocean City. The Sicilian project called Medwind, whose request for environmental impact assessment will be submitted before summer, involves an investment of nine billion and consists of the construction of an offshore wind farm with floating technology in the Mediterranean consisting of 190 floating turbines, for an installed of about 2.8 GW and an estimated annual production of 9 TWh / year: Medwind will make it possible to produce green electricity according to the needs of 3.4 million families and reduce CO2 emissions by around 2.7 million tonnes / year.
The plant will be built in three sections of approximately 1 Gw each between 2024 and 2030 with a construction time of two years for each section. According to Renexia, approximately 6.5 billion and 141 million of the annual operating costs of the planned investments of 9 billion will fall on Italian territory: In particular, 3.4 billion in investments and 91 million in annual operating costs will directly affect the Sicilian territory. To these amounts are added approx. 150 million per year for 25 years, which is the plant’s operating period, as administration and maintenance costs for the park. The Medwind project, explained by Renexia, is able to create an increase in employment in Italy corresponding to approx. 17,500 full-time positions during the six years envisaged for the construction of the three sections, and approx. 1,500 full-time equivalents in the 25 years the park’s management has been. In Sicily, there will be an increase in employment corresponding to about 6,600 full-time positions during the six years the plant has been built, and about 800 full-time equivalents in the 25 years the park has been managed.
The construction of the supply chain
“The real challenge for us is how to keep these jobs going, for the construction of the foundations, which is the most important part, even after completion, over time and not a thousand places in five years: our American experience has taught us , that if you’re the first to use a new technology, then you have the opportunity to use it over time – says the general manager of Renexia – that’s what we want to create in Sicily: We want to create a floating offshore wind power chain on the island and we believe the conditions are right. ” In this direction, a programmatic platform will be presented in the second decade of May, and the industrial partners with whom Renexia has signed agreements on the construction of the park will certainly play a role. “We proposed to be able to make a programmatic agreement starting from three points: legality, education, in 18 24 months we will start building this park, the third point: the world of work – says Toto -. We want to ensure that national contracts are used and that a minimum wage is established. We want to stay in Sicily not for the park’s 25 years, but also after. Building the supply chain that will deal with the foundations, one day also the turbines that will be able to assemble in Sicily and then there is the entire maintenance part of the park, where there will be a need for specialized labor that can also work for third parties ”.