European oil giant Eni-owned Plenitude and Irish offshore renewables developer Simply Blue plans to build out a giga-scale pipeline of floating wind projects off Italy, starting with a pair of deepwater arrays in the Ionian Sea.

Though the joint venture’s long-term offshore wind portfolio ambition was not quantified, the lead-off developments, the 1.3GW Messapia and 1.1GW Krimsa, would be capable of producing power for some 2.5m households in the region, according to the two companies.

“Through this collaboration, the parties wish to combine Plenitude’s technical and financial capabilities and experience in the Italian energy market, with Simply Blue’s track record in developing global floating wind projects,” the pair said in a statement.

Plenitude CEO Stefano Goberti, stated: “With this partnership Plenitude expands its portfolio of floating wind projects in line with its target of reaching 15GW of renewable capacity by 2030 and reaffirms its commitment to creating an offshore wind supply chain in Italy.

“For Plenitude, offshore wind is a key contributor to the energy transition path and the achievement of our 2040 carbon neutrality targets to provide fully decarbonised energy to our customers.”

Simply Blue group CEO Sam Roch-Perks added: “Italy represents a big opportunity in floating wind, and we look forward to combining our expertise and delivering innovative projects that will provide real solutions to the climate.”

Once online, the Messapia project, located 30km off the Otranto coast, will generate some 3.8TWh annually, while Krimisa project, sited 45km off the coast of Crotone will produce 3.5TWh a year.

Plans for both developments have been “submitted to the relevant authorities”, said the two companies, adding: “The partners will work alongside local communities and other key industry players to develop innovative technological solutions and consolidate the Italian floating offshore wind supply chain.”

Plenitude, a so-called ‘società benefit’, is at the heart of Eni’s decarbonisation strategy, integrating salse of energy services with renewables production, energy efficiency services and electric mobility via project in Italy, France, Greece, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, UK, Norway, US, Kazakhstan and Australia.

Cork-based Simply Blue has rapidly emerged in recent years as one of the world’s most ambitious floating wind specialists, with a 10GW pipeline of projects off its home market and the UK that include partnerships with the likes of Orsted, Shell and TotalEnergies, and development plans in the US, Sweden and Iberia.

Consultancy DNV calculates floating projects currently make up over 15% of the total offshore wind deployment in the pipeline for switch-on by mid-century, equal to some 264GW of the 1,750GW slated to be installed.