«Combining onshore wind turbines and photovoltaic installations is a natural safeguard for us»

BKW is investing in photovoltaic installations in southern Italy. In the first stage, two plants with 20 megawatts (MW) of clean solar power each are planned, with another 200 MW installed in the years that follow. But what does a Danish company have to do with all of that? And what are the advantages of the proximity between the new photovoltaic installations and the wind turbines that BKW operates there? We spoke to Marco Tovaglieri, a business developer at BKW.

BKW recently signed a cooperation agreement with Ibernordic. What does this Danish company have to do with our acquisition of photovoltaic installations in Italy?

Marco Tovaglieri: Ibernordic is a Danish company that specialises in the development of wind and photovoltaic projects. Besides Denmark, the company also has an active presence in Italy, Spain and Sweden. It has been operating in Italy for a decade, developing both onshore wind turbines and photovoltaic installations.

A pipeline of PV projects is currently being set up in several regions of Italy, with the help of local development teams and a network of highly specialised engineering and environmental companies. Under the cooperation agreement signed in October, over the next years Ibernordic will develop a pipeline of PV projects exclusively for BKW, generating up to 250 MW.

Marco Tovaglieri
Marco Tovaglieri, Business Developer at BKW

Where is the electricity used, and how does BKW benefit from it?

The energy produced by these installations is fed into the national electricity grid and is adequate to cover the consumption of 27,000 households in Italy. BKW can benefit from the revenue generated by selling electricity on the spot market or, with the support of our colleagues in Trading, conclude long-term power purchase agreements with companies to market this green electricity to industrial customers.

BKW has already acquired the first solar farms, each with a capacity of 20 MW. A 250 MW capacity is possible with this contract in Italy. What is the schedule for the roughly 200 MW still to be installed?

So far, we have acquired the two aforementioned projects in the Basilicata region. But the project developer is already working on a number of new options that will be presented to us in the coming months.

How much influence does BKW have on the farm design?

Our intention is to acquire projects 18 to 24 months before commissioning. This gives us the opportunity to exert influence in the final stages of the development process – such as on the procurement of solar modules and other components. This is how we ensure quality during construction.

The installations are located in the immediate vicinity of our wind farms. Is that a coincidence, or does this proximity produce synergistic effects?

The two farms are indeed close to one another and are only a 90-minute drive away from our service base in Troia. The projects will benefit from this proximity – not just during the development phase, but in the operational phase, too. Our long-standing presence in the region has allowed us to build up a close relationship with local stakeholders.

What’s more, this regional cluster of BKW electricity production facilities will enable economies of scale and strong synergies once the projects in Basilicata are operational. In particular, this set-up will prove advantageous for long-term services, such as technical and commercial management or maintenance of the facilities.

Map section Italy
The new PV plants: in the immediate vicinity of the wind farms in the Basilicata region.
«Thanks to our experts, BKW can support local partners in development and other activities as needed.»

Why is BKW investing in PV and wind power installations in Italy?

Italy is offering high energy prices at present, not to mention favourable renewable energy legislation. There is also a new political direction to speed up the development of renewable energy projects. The regions of Puglia and Basilicata are also counted among Italy’s windiest regions and offer superb sunshine compared to other European countries.

We have invested steadily in wind turbines in Italy since 2009. Today, the Wind and Solar business division employs over 60 engineers and technicians in Italy and is active throughout the entire service value chain. Thanks to these experts, BKW can support local partners in development and other activities as needed. BKW also maintains its own wind farms and third-party installations in Italy.

BKW foreign investments have primarily focused on wind thus far. Now we are investing in photovoltaics too. Is there a difference?

From a portfolio perspective, combining onshore wind turbines and PV installations is a natural safeguard. What’s more, in Europe, wind and solar resources are diametric opposites during the calendar year, so combining both types of installation helps to further stabilise production and profits during the course of the year.

The Group has owned a considerable portfolio of PV installations in Switzerland for many years. In Italy in particular, our business division can draw on many years of experience in operational management of large PV projects owned by third parties.

So we are confident that photovoltaics will add value to our Group and our portfolio of renewable energy production facilities. And we look forward to turning further interesting projects in this segment into a reality.

BKW Italia Wind

BKW Italia Wind

For the next eight years (+5 years option), Fortore Energia has assigned to BKW a full service contract for 76 wind turbine generators located in Puglia, Basilicata and Marche regions, with total installed capacity of 133 MW.

BKW Italia contract windpark maintenance

BKW Italia contract windpark maintenance

Here you find Information about the contract for the maintenance of three windparks which BKW Italia received by ENEL Green Power. It is an important milestone in the implementation of BKW’s service strategy for third-party plants.



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