THE MED WIND PARK’S SUSTAINABILITY AND INNOVATION
Our method: Listening and consensus
The structures supporting the large blades of the wind farm will not be secured to the seabed but instead fixed with an advanced anchoring system, significantly reducing the environmental impact, in an area of the sea chosen for its depth (varying from 100 to 600 metres). The layout will be chosen to reduce to a minimum the impact on the environment and on human activities.
A floating wind turbine is mounted on a platform floating on the water. Floating turbines allow wind energy to be exploited in particularly favourable sites, in terms of the available wind, that could not previously be utilised due to the depth of the seabed. Floating wind parks can therefore greatly increase the sea surface available for the installation of offshore wind parks, making it possible to utilise areas where the sea is too deep for fixed wind turbines – as, for example, in the open seas of the Mediterranean.
This allows floating wind turbines to be positioned further away from the coast, which helps significantly reduce – and in the case of Med Wind entirely eliminate – the impact on the landscape, while at the same time exploiting more powerful and consistent winds.
Floating technology prevents the need for drilling and leaves the surrounding marine environment intact. Furthermore, the significant distance from land completely nullifies any visual impact. Overall, the system represents a unique and more efficient alternative to land-based wind or solar installations. The offshore floating windfarm is therefore a new frontier in the renewable energy sector, as it permits the use of strong, reliable winds, elements that can only be found on the open sea.
Italy’s National Renewable Energies Association, in presenting its plan for offshore wind energy, underlined the incredible potential of floating plants, particularly given the Mediterranean’s characteristics.
Turbines supporting marine life
Radars and cameras will be installed on every turbine, capable of tracking and reporting the movement of cetaceans present in the Mediterranean, as well as monitoring the migratory paths of birdlife. The plant will also provide tailored resting spots for migratory birds to stop and rest during their flights between Africa and Europe. The floating bases of the offshore wind turbines are intended to gradually transform into artificial reefs. This will attract molluscs and small fish that feed on plankton, having a knock-on effect on the entire food chain, enriching biodiversity in the affected marine areas.
Research and study of the marine environment
The development of the park will allow for a series of activities to safeguard the ecosystem around its location. This is why an oceanographic study of the area is under way, in collaboration with top national organisations, such as the Italian Navy and the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn research institute in Naples. The results of this research – the most in-depth ever study of this stretch of sea – will be made available to scientific communities with the aim of studying and preserving the unique ecosystem.