Sweden-headquartered floating wind pioneer Hexicon and Italian partner Avapa Energy have secured two sites in the Mediterranean that they aim to develop into a total of over 2.5GW of offshore power plant.

The pair, working under the AvenHexicon joint venture (JV) banner, aim to build a 1.35GW array off Sardinia and another sized at 1.2GW off Sicily, which together would supply power to over 2.5 million households.

“Having obtained rights for these two areas are evidence of our competitive offering as a project developer. This is a stepping-stone for AvenHexicon, aiming to be a key player in Italy’s gradual transition to a renewable, fossil-free energy system,” said AvenHexicon CEO Alberto Dalla Rosa.

The JV originally applied for ‘maritime priority rights’ on five sites, with the two awarded each set on 346km2 of offshore acreage. Grid connections were applied for “earlier this year” and key maritime concession applications have been submitted, according to AvenHexicon.

Hexicon, which has developed an innovative two-turbine floating wind concept called TwinWind, is one of the most internationally ambitious players in the nascent sector with a pipeline of projects in Asia, Europe and the US, and recently brought in maritime consultancy London Marine Consultants for lead-off engineering work on TwinHub off southwest UK.

Italy has emerged as key member of a ‘chasing pack’ of second generation floating wind markets with technical potential of near 4TW, a recent report commissioned by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) found.

Along with AvenHexicon, other developers with oars in the water for Italy’s floating wind play include a tie-up between Falck and BlueFloat, start-up 7Seas Med, and a JV between Apulia-based developer Hope Group and Swiss-based investor Galileo.

Italy could be home to the world’s largest floating wind-powered hydrogen hub as early as 2027, too, following the signing of a deal between developer Aquaterra Energy and Seawind Ocean Technology to build a 3.2GW project dubbed HyMed, off the southern European country.

Italy is aiming to generate 55% of its total electricity generation from renewables by 2030, noted AvenHexicon, adding: “The fast process and positive signals intensify [our] efforts in Italy and further strengthens the value-build of the project portfolio.”

GWEC forecasts 18.9GW to be built globally by 2030, much more bullish than the 6.5GW it had estimated earlier.