Our approach


For Terna, seeking the right balance between energy requirements and protection of the environment means seeking appropriate solutions for supplying Italy with the electricity it needs at the best conditions regarding reliability, costs, and environmental sustainability. 

From the environmental point of view the most evident impact of Terna’s business resides not so much in the use of natural resources or the emission of polluting substances as in the physical presence of its lines and electric stations  and in their interaction with the surrounding environment.

The course it has chosen for the construction of new lines is that of consultation with local institutions  (regions, provinces, municipalities, park administrations etc.) in order to consider environmental concerns from the first stages of planning and then to take more and more details into account until the construction stage.

Respect for the environment and local communities are the credentials with which Terna wants to establish relationships based on trust with the national government (e.g. ministries and regulatory authorities) and local institutions that also have the power to issue or withhold permits for new infrastructure.

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

Among the significant environmental issues, the following should be noted in particular:

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

Greenhouse-gas emissions are also included among the significant issues. Terna does not produce electricity, in effect, the Company is not subject to obligations under the Kyoto Protocol or to emission-trading schemes. Its concern about emissions – which can be seen mainly in the control of leakage of SF6, a gas that is present in some station equipment and the control of the emissions of the vehicles of the corporate fleet – stems, therefore, from a general sensitivity to the problem of climate change. However, it should be pointed out that the investment provided for by the Grid Development Plan can have indirect positive effects on the reduction of emissions by the national electric system.

Terna has an environmental policy, which expresses its commitment to adopt practices to limit and reduce its environmental impact even beyond the obligations of the law provided this does not compromise the safeguard of the other general interests that the Company must ensure.

Terna’s commitments for the environment regard mainly:

  • planning grid development investment: listening to the demands of stakeholders, especially local institutions, and seeking agreement on solutions;
  • constructing, managing, and maintaining the grid: the adoption of procedures in line with the provisions of the law and, when possible, with the objective of reducing environmental impact;
  • relations with suppliers: the requirement that they gradually conform to the standards of respect for the environment adopted by Terna;
  • electro-magnetic fields: strict compliance with the regulations, attention to scientific studies, and contribution to the correct description and understanding of the phenomenon;
  • biodiversity: containment of plant impact, with particular regard to bird life, through mitigation actions possibly developed in agreement with environmental associations;
  • climate change: acknowledgement of the importance of the problem and actions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

With regard to mitigation actions, Terna continues to pursue emission reduction through feasibility studies and projects regarding SF6 leakage, the electricity consumption of stations, and the corporate car fleet, while the continuation of its projects on biodiversity in cooperation with leading environmental associations, such as the LIPU and the WWF, will allow guidelines to be developed on the integration of electric lines in the environment and mitigation policies to be developed on a scientific basis. 

In organisational terms, environmental responsibility is divided among different corporate departments, which participate on an Environmental and Sustainability Steering Committee whose purpose is to coordinate their activities and identify priorities and objectives to propose to the Top Management. The departments are Operationi Italy, Corporate Security (which manages the integrated Quality, Environment, and Security System), Institutional Affairs, Human Resources and Organisation, and External Affairs and Communication. The Corporate Social Responsibility Department acts as the coordinator of the Committee.   

The task of monitoring the environmental indicators is entrusted to a permanent work group of experts, who perform their duties as part of the Environmental Management System.

In the three-year period 2007-2009, no definitive administrative or judicial sanctions, monetary or non-monetary, were imposed on Terna for non-compliance with laws or regulations regarding the environment.

In 2009 and 2008, there was no significant leakage of pollutant liquids, whereas in 2007 the shearing of a cable insulated with fluid oil caused leakage in Venice province. After this event, 5 cubic metres of earth were decontaminated.