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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 86% of the waste produced by Terna (87% in 2017, 93% in 2016) 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.

Infrastructure monitoring and control

  • 26,000 checks on substations of various voltage levels
  • visual inspections of 107,700 km of power line, of which 58,500 km using helicopters (visual + infra-red) with an average total frequency of around 1.5 inspections a year for each transmission line
  • a further 46,500 km of power line underwent instrumental controls, both from the ground (including with the use of the LLW or live-line working technique), and from the air using helicopters to operate flights that use laser scanning surveys to identify any obstructions, particularly trees
  • inspections of 44,800 km of underground cable with a total average frequency of 24.2 inspections per year

Routine maintenance

Repairs are carried out when signs of deterioration are identified as a result of the monitoring process or by on-line sensors. These indications and any problems identified are processed by the expert system used to support decision-making (MBI-Monitoring and Business Intelligence). This system draws up the maintenance plan on the basis of engineering models developed by the Asset Management department.

Vegetation management

During 2018, vegetation was cut back on around 21,200 km of power line (the total length of line where vegetation was cut back); this has to be done to ensure the correct and safe operation of the lines.

Live-Line Working

Approximately 3,400 checks and line maintenance interventions using live-line working were carried out. These activities, performed with the line in operation, increase the availability of the infrastructure and help to improve quality of service.