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The new SA.PE.I. power line joining Sardinia to the Italian Mainland inaugurated



March 2011

    This is the first direct electricity connection between Sardinia and the Italian mainland and the most technologically advanced HV line every built in Italy.
    Records: the longest “electricity bridge” in the world with 1,000 MW power; the deepest in the world: 435 km long connecting Fiumesanto, in Sardinia with Latina in Lazio, reaching 1,640 meters in depth; the largest investment: 750 million euros, the highest investment ever made in Italy for a single electricity infrastructurel
    Work in progress in the islands: investments for over 1.4 billion euros. The “Insula Project”: a network of submarine electricity cables to strengthen the grid that joins Sicily, Elba and Ischia to the Italian mainland and build a new “electricity bridge” for Capri and between Capri and Ischia.

    As part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italy’s Unification, the Minister for Economic Development, Paolo Romani, inaugurated today in Borgo Sabotino (Latina) during a ceremony hosted by Terna’s Chairman Luigi Roth and Terna’s CEO Flavio Cattaneo, the new “SA.PE.I.” submarine power line that for the first time directly joins Sardinia with the Italian mainland.
    The SA.PE.I. –the acronym for SArdegna-PEnisola-Italiana, is the most important and high-tech HV power line ever built in Italy. This project was funded for over 50% by Terna with its own funds and for the remaining part with 373 million euros from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its high strategic value.
    The SA.PE.I. connects Fiumesanto, in Sardinia with Latina, along Lazio’s coastal zone, through a double 500 kV DC submarine cable. Authorized in only 14 months, a record for Italy where a project takes at least 3 years to be approved, and built in only 48 months, it represents one of the most strategic works ever planned in Italy by Terna to strengthen the national electricity system. Its building involved 177 companies for over 200,000 working days.
    The SA.PEI.I’s 10 records. (see attachment 1) include:
    - The longest “electricity bridge” in the world (435 km) with a 1,000 MW power;
    - New world record for depth: 1,640 meters, the deepest ever reached;
    - With its 750 million euros it represents the most important investment ever made in Italy for a single electricity infrastructure.
    Many significant economic, electrical and environmental advantages. The work will allow the electricity system to save 70 million euros a year thanks to eliminating “bottlenecks” between Sardinia and the rest of the electricity market. Moreover, it will allow increasing the safety of the electricity system in Sardinia and a safer coverage of the electricity demand in Lazio and in central Italy (1,000 MW of the SA.PE.I. correspond to 5 times the peak demand in the Cagliari area and half of the peak demand for a city like Rome), thanks to the use of more efficient energy coming also from Sardinia. The electricity market’s competitiveness will also increase since thanks to the SA.PE.I. operators have the opportunity to participate in a more fluid market while also having greater flexibility and operational safety for the system. With regard to the environment, the SA.PE.I. was built fully respecting the marine and land habitats it crosses, allowing a reduction of over 500 thousand tons of CO2 in the atmosphere – equal to the emissions of over 250 thousand medium-sized vehicles owing to the greater use of renewables that are strongly being developed.
    The SA.PE.I. represents the flagship of the national electricity grid and the point of arrival of an efficient cycle; in the past five years Terna invested 4 billion euros, equal to four times the investments made during the previous five year period for over 2,200 km of new power lines – nearly 6 times more than those made during the same five year period, thus confirming the acceleration given by the company to sustainably modernize and strengthen one of the country’s strategic infrastructures.
    The SA.PE.I. also represents a point of departure for the grid of the future, one that is more innovative and technologically advanced in which submarine cables play a pivotal role. The “Insula Project ” is part of this (see attachment 2) network of electricity connections that Terna has planned with the objective of strengthening the grid that joins Sicily, Elba and Ischia to the Italian mainland and of creating a new submarine “electricity bridge” for Capri and between Capri and Ischia; a project is also being examined for modernizing the existing connection between Sardinia, Corsica and Tuscany. Total investments, excluding the SA.PE.I., are over 1.4 billion euros, in line with the Development Plan.
    Terna’s commitment continues for strengthening the “meshing” of the grid– formed today by over 62,000 km of electricity lines that have made Terna the first independent grid operator in Europe and seventh in the world – that in the past 15 years has joined Italy from North to South and that continues to be joined also thanks to 300 building sites that have been opened throughout the national territory.
    In the next ten years, Terna will invest 7.5 billion euros in the country’s electricity infrastructure to create an increasingly safe, modern and high-tech grid both in innovation and in technology. The project will also lead to significant economic advantages: implementing Terna’s development plan will generate net savings for the electricity system of over 1.5 billion euros a year; at the environmental level, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 9 million tons a year, equal to the annual emissions of approximately 3 million medium sized gasoil vehicles and over 900 km of old lines removed compared to the building of over 5,400 km of new technologically advanced power lines; at the electricity level: reducing energy losses by 1.2 billion kWh a year, equal to the annual consumption of over 200,000 Italians.

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