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Terna’s first and most immediate impact on the environment is the physical presence of pylons and power stations on the landscape.

Some of the solutions adopted by Terna include: reaching agreement with local communities on new projects before implementation; mitigating visual impact through "green masking" initiatives, using suitable vegetation or pylons designed to integrate more effectively into the surrounding landscape.

Regarding those issues of equal concern for the environment as a whole - such as waste CO2 emissions, electromagnetic fields and climate change - Terna carries out regular checks and monitoring programs, as well as developing processes aimed at minimizing their scope and effects.

Just think, for example, that 87% of the waste produced by Terna (93% in 2016, 92% in 2015) is recovered and recycled and only a small proportion is sent to landfill.

Environmental management system
Terna’s activities in the environmental area are coordinated and guided by the Environmental Management System, through the 2007 UNI EN ISO 14001 certification and part of the Integrated Management System.
This certification covers all of Terna’s activities, both those regarding the existing structures and those of planning and producing new development investments in the electric transmission grid. Remaining in the environmental field, in 2015 Terna was obtained for the entire Terna Group the Energy Management System certification in accordance with the UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 50001:2011 standard.
For details on all certifications and accreditations refer to the dedicated page.
Because of its sensibility to the environment, Terna has over the years launched projects aimed at safeguarding biodiversity, including through alternative uses of its power lines. In particular Terna signed specific cooperation agreements in collaboration with the principal environmental organizations (WWF, Legambiente, Greenpeace) designed to emphasize nature conservation in the planning activities and maintenance of the electricity grid.

With a responsible approach towards the important theme of climate change, Terna also monitors its greenhouse gas emissions, that is however reduced due to the nature of its business that does not include the production of electricity. Terna’s commitment to the environment is also reflected by the costs incurred for environmental reasons, both as operating expenses and investments. This separate presentation of environmental costs was drafted for the first time in 2009, following a project in which Terna’s general and industrial accounts were reinterpreted.

Terna’s attention to the environment is reflected in the following features:

Planning and sustainable development of the electricity grid

Building new infrastructures is addressed by Terna with a precautionary approach that takes into consideration the environmental impact already from the stage of strategic planning. Attention to the environment and to the territory is implemented in cooperation with the local authorities (Regions, Provinces, Municipalities, Park authorities and others) aimed at identifying the best location of the new lines and in engagement with the citizens who live in the areas which are destined to be the sites of the main NTG development works.​​

The technical instrument used is the SEA - Strategic Environmental Assessment that Terna has been adopting - also for single projects - since 2001, way before the SEA became mandatory by law, for the ten year development plan of the electricity grid.

Management of existing lines

Plant maintenance is essential to guarantee service quality and continuity.
The main activities carried out in 2017 on electrical substations and lines are listed below.

Plant Monitoring and Inspection

26,000 periodical technical and surveillance checks on substations at different voltage levels.

Inspections with visual checks on around 85,500 km of circuits, approximately 40,500 km of which were carried out by helicopter (visual + infra-red), with a total average frequency of around 1.2 inspections per year for each power line.

Instrumental checks on 41,800 km, conducted both from the ground and using thermal imaging cameras to identify hot spots, DayCor UV cameras to pinpoint the corona effect on insulators and conductors and climbing pylons with LLW (Live-Line Working) techniques, as well as by helicopters using specific flights with infra-red detection (with Terna staff on board) and LIDAR surveying technology to ascertain interferences, with particular reference to those created by trees.

Ordinary Maintenance

Terna identifies the action to be taken on the basis of indications of deterioration coming from the integrated remote-management system, the online sensors and the results obtained from the plant monitoring process, using Maintenance and Business Intelligence (MBI), the expert system which optimises maintenance activities, active since 2005.

Tree Cutting

The correct operation of the lines requires continual monitoring of vegetation growth to prevent it getting too close to the energy conductors and causing possible short circuits and line interruption. In 2017, vegetation was cut along approximately 21,300 km of power lines.

Activity with Live-Line Working (LLW)

Approximately 1,600 monitoring checks and 600 line maintenance actions with live-line working were carried out. These actions, performed with the line in operation, increase the availability of the plants and contribute to improving service quality and continuity.
These actions, performed with the line in operation, increase the availability of the plants and contribute to improving service quality and continuity.

Extraordinary Maintenance

Renewal work (the replacement of components and entire systems) was carried out in 2017 in order to prolong the useful lives of power lines and substations. Work was carried out on over 1,000 km of lines.