Our approach

For Ternai, the search for the right balance between energy requirements and the safeguard of the environment and local communities means seeking appropriate solutions to ensure Italy the electricity it needs in the most reliable, economical, and environmentally-sustainable way.

Therefore, from the environmental point of view the most obvious impact of this activity is not so much in the use of natural resources or the emission of polluting substances as in the physical presence of electric lines and stations and in their interaction with the surrounding natural and anthropic environment.  

The way it has chosen for the construction of new line is consultation with local institutions (Regions, Provinces, Municipalities, park boards, etc.) in order to consider environmental needs from the earliest stages of planning and take the related details increasingly into account until the construction stage.    

Respect for the environment and local communities constitutes the credentials with which Terna intends to establish a relationship based on trust with the national government (e.g., the relevant ministries and regulatory authorities) and local institutions, which are also empowered to authorize new infrastructure.

As far as the existing lines and their management are concerned, Terna’s concern for the environmental impact of its activities is embodied in its Environmental Management System, which obtained ISO 14001 certification in December 2007. The certification regards all of Terna’s activities and covers 100% of the transmission grid (stations and lines) and offices.  

The following significant environmental issues should be noted in particular:

  • the visual impact of stations and lines
  • the impact of lines on biodiversity, with particular regard to birdlife  
  • special waste and its disposal   
  • the emission of electric and magnetic fields
  • emissions of greenhouse gases.  

Terna does not produce electricity, so the emission of greenhouse gases is not a feature of its activities, as shown by the fact that the Company is not subject to obligations under the Kyoto Protocol or to emission trading schemes. Our concern for emissions – which takes the form mainly of controlling leakage of SF6, a gas that is present in station equipment, as well as controlling the emissions of the corporate vehicle fleet – is thus the result of a general sensitivity to the problem of climate change. It should therefore be noted that the investment included in the Grid Developmenti Plan can have positive indirect effects on emission reduction by the national electricity system.

Terna has established an Environmental Policy, which expresses its commitment to practices to limit and reduce its environmental impact even beyond the limits imposed by law whenever this does not compromise the defense of the other general interests that Terna is obliged to ensure: the safety and continuity of the electricity service, keeping the electric system efficient, adapting the system to the country’s production and consumption needs,and equal access to the grid for industry companies.  

Among Terna’s main commitments for the environment, the following should be noted:

  • in the planning of investment to develop the grid, paying attention to the needs expressed by stakeholders and seeking agreement on solutions
  • in the construction, management, and maintenance of the grid, adopting procedures in accordance with the provisions of the law and, whenever possible, reducing the environmental impact 
  • in relations with suppliers, requiring them to gradually adapt to the standards of respect for the environment adopted by Terna  
  • with regard to magnetic fields, strict compliance with regulations and attentiveness to the development of scientific studies; 
  • with regard to biodiversity, commitment to limit the impact of the grid, particularly on birdlife and carry out mitigation actions, including programs agreed on with environmentalist associations
  • with regard to climate change, recognition of the importance of the problem and commitment to actions that foster the reduction of greenhouse gases.

As far as improvement programs are concerned, Terna continues its commitment to reducing emissions, carrying out feasibility studies and projects regarding SF6 leakage, the consumption of electricity by stations, and the corporate vehicle fleet, while – as shown by the agreements with the LIPU and the WWF – the continuation of cooperative projects with the leading environmentalist associations will allow guidelines to be established for the environmental integration of electric power lines and mitigation instruments to be developed on a scientific basis.    

In organizational terms, environmental responsibility is divided among several corporate departments, which participate on an Environment and Sustainability Steering Committee to coordinate activities and establish priorities and objectives to propose to the top management. The participating departments are: Operationi Italy, Corporate Safety (which is in charge of the integrated Quality-Environment-Safety management system), Institutional Affairs, Organization and Human Resources, and External Relations and Communication. The Corporate Social Responsibility Department acts as the secretary of the Committee.  
Monitoringi of the environmental indicators is entrusted to a permanent group of experts working with the framework of the Environmental Management system.  

In the three-year period 2008-2010 there were no final administrative or judicial penalties, pecuniary or non-pecuniary, for non-compliance with laws or regulations regarding the environment. (Further information on environmental litigation is reported in section dedicated to the indicator tables and the “Disputes and litigation” section.)

In 2010 a fire in a transformer in Calenzano (Florence province) caused oil to spill on the surrounding land. Following this event, 400 cubic meters of earth (from an area of 450 square meters) were promptly removed mechanically to avoid possible environmental damage. In 2009 and 2008, no significant spills of polluting liquids were recorded.