Press Release


Green light for the new “Electricity Bridge” across the Strait of Messina

  • The last segment of the “Sorgente-Rizziconi” line between the Regions of Sicily and Calabria has been authorized
  • A total length of 105 km, 38 km of which underwater: world record-breaking extra high voltage alternating current cables
  • Work for 200 people and 70 companies, over 700 million euros of investments
  • A saving of 800 million euros a year for the electricity system among the various benefits
  • Advantages for the environment: removal of 540 old pylons along 170 km of long distance power lines


700 million euros of investments, 2,000 MW of power, a length of 105 km, 38 km of which in submarine cable (world record-breaking alternating current cables), a total saving of 800 million euros a year. These are the figures for the new “electricity bridge” under the Strait of Messina, the 380 kV “Sorgente-Rizziconi” line, between Sicily and Calabria. The overhead portion has received the final approval on last July 7 from the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea which follows the authorization decree by the Ministry for Economic Development.

Thus, green light for Terna’s most significant work in Sicily where the company has planned investments for over 1 billion Euros – out of the 7 planned at the national level – to improve and strengthen the electricity grid in this strategic region. In addition to the "Sorgente-Rizziconi" line, other development projects in Sicily include the 380 kV "Chiaramonte Gulfi–Ciminna" and "Paternò-Pantano-Priolo" lines; for the latter, a first major Memorandum of Understanding was signed yesterday with Sicily’s Regional Authorities and the 9 concerned municipalities in the area inside of which the route for the new electricity line was identified.

"We are very pleased with the final green light for the line connecting Sicily to Calabria – commented Terna’s CEO Flavio Cattaneo. It is a significant step for everyone involved, Ministries, local bodies, companies and citizens, to whom Terna extends its appreciation for their support. We were able to achieve this success thanks to the ongoing dialogue with everyone and the territory. We have already remarked that for Terna 2010 can and will be the peak year for building activities: now another major construction work can begin, a fundamental infrastructure for the entire Italian electricity system, which is going to be completed without spending a cent of the public contribution. We still have a long way to go, for this reason all of Terna’s managers and employees will continue to do their part with mutual significant commitment in an effort to expedite authorization procedures. I would also like to stress that this line will allow to obtain significant savings in the electricity bills of the Italian population”.

In the next few weeks the construction of the greatest work ever developed in Italy for the transmission of electricity will begin. The new power line, the submarine segment of which is composed of a 6 cable system which will triplicate the existing connection between Sicily and the mainland (dating back to 1985), will be completed within 3–4 years. The building activities will involve 200 people a day on the construction sites and 70 companies, including those building electrical equipment, subcontractors, and contractors both for civil and electromechanical works and those specialized in works at sea.

Once the new power line is fully operational, it will provide the following significant benefits: 

  • a total saving for the electricity system equal to 800 million euros a year:
  1. approximately 750 million euros a year for reduced charges related to different procedures for the production of electricity
  2. approximately 5 million euros for avoided grid losses (50 million kWh/per year) 
  3. saving 50 million euros for the reduced purchase of energy following the removal of the “bottleneck” between Sicily and Calabria
  • strengthening the electricity connection between Sicily and Calabria, thus solving the existing market congestion between the two regions
  • eliminating the risk of Sicily’s electricity isolation and thus reducing the risk of blackouts
  • improving the electricity system’s reliability, safety and quality in Sicily, which in the past few years has frequently experienced outages being the local grid old
  • increasing the safe export of approximately 700 MW of renewable energy to the mainland.
With regard to the environment, the new “Sorgente-Rizziconi” line will allow avoiding approximately 670 thousand tons a year of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and, with the upgrading of the electricity grid in the provinces of Messina and Reggio Calabria, approximately 170 km of obsolete electricity lines will be removed (87 km of which in Sicily and 85 in Calabria), thus significantly reducing the environmental impact on the territories crossed by the line. Moreover, this will also allow recovering materials (steel, aluminum, glass, concrete) for a total of 2,500 tons and approximately 264 hectares of territory. In addition, the project which will involve 13 municipalities in Sicily and 8 in Calabria, will reduce the environmental pressure of the electricity grid on the territory of the provinces of Messina and Reggio Calabria.

The new electricity connection between Sicily and Calabria is one of the submarine electricity “bridges” which Terna has planned to strengthen the grid in the islands and the electricity interconnection with other countries. One of these is the SA.PE.I connection between Sardinia and the Italian mainland, which will be completed by the end of 2010, the “Villanova-Tivat” connection between Italy and Montenegro and the “Piossasco-Grand’Ile” connection between Italy and France.

Rome, July 9, 2010

"Terna SpA is the sole responsible for the information herein reported. The European Union is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein."




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TERNA S.p.A. - Share capital € 442,198,240 fully paid-in
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