Vestas has signed an 18MW contract with VRG Wind 060 for the extension of the Mazara del Vallo wind park in Sicily, which will be the Danish wind turbine OEM’s first merchant onshore wind project in Italy.

Utilising Vestas’ technology and the operation data from the site’s existing wind turbines to boost energy output and mitigate production uncertainties, Vestas and the customer have developed a business case that will be commercially viable without any direct financial support, selling electricity on merchant market terms, Vestas claims.

“Our merchant project, one of the first ones in the Italian wind sector, leverages on the following positive drivers: a wind farm in operation since 2008 mitigates energy production uncertainties, a new financing scheme which foresees such extension and Vestas’ state-of-the-art technology, which will allow us to better harness wind resources with larger rotors and modern wind turbines,” VRG Wind 060 chief executive Alberto Musso said.

The order includes the supply and installation of six V126-3.45 MW turbines delivered in a 3.0MW load optimised mode, adding to the customer’s 48MW of Senvion turbines already installed at the site.

“This merchant project underlines how a tailored technical solution and leveraging our market experience and project finance expertise enable a highly competitive business case for our customer,” said Rainer Karan, Vestas Vice President of Sales for Southern Europe and Turkey.

“As one of Italy’s first merchant projects, it confirms wind energy’s increasing competitiveness and represents a great step on the country’s transition towards renewable energy that we are very proud to be part of.”

Both turbine delivery and commissioning are planned for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Since installing its first turbine in Italy in 1991, Vestas has installed more than 4GW in the country.

The Italian order follows up on first orders for subsidy-free onshore wind farms in other countries, such as the UK and Finland.