Our approach


Terna acknowledges the importance of a the right balance between energy requirements and the safeguard of the environment and local communities and seeks in its activity appropriate solutions to ensure Italy the electricity it needs in the most reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally-sustainable way.

Terna’s business consists in providing the service of transmitting electricity, which is performed through the high voltage electricity grid. Therefore, from the environmental point of view, the most obvious impact of this activity is not so much in the use of natural resources or the emission of polluting substances as in the physical presence of electricity lines and stations and in their interaction with the surrounding natural and anthropic environment.

Increasing environmental awareness and widespread local opposition to the construction of new infrastructure – a typical feature of many industrialized countries and certainly of Italy – have led Terna to develop an approach that is very attentive to the environment and the needs of local communities. The way it has chosen for the construction of new line is consultation with local institutions (Regions, Provinces, Municipalities, park boards, etc.) in order to consider environmental needs from the earliest stages of planning and take the related details increasingly into account up to the construction stage.

Respect for the environment and local communities represents the credentials with which Terna intends to establish a relationship based on trust with the national government (e.g., the relevant ministries and regulatory authorities) and local institutions, which are also empowered to authorize new infrastructures. In this way, the consideration of environmental issues matches Terna’s interest in investing in the development of the grid and the broader interest of society in the continuity, safety, and efficiency of the electricity service.

As far as the existing lines and their management are concerned, Terna’s concern for the environmental impact of its activities is embodied in its Environmental Management System, which is ISO 14001 certified. The certification regards all of Terna’s activities and covers 100% of the transmission grid (stations and lines) and offices.

The following significant environmental issues should be noted in particular:

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

Terna does not produce electricity, so the emission of greenhouse gases is not a feature of its activities. Our concern for emissions – which takes the form mainly of controlling leakage of SF6, a gas that is present in station equipment, as well as controlling the emissions of the corporate vehicle fleet – is thus the result of a general sensitivity to the problem of climate change. It should therefore be noted that the investment included in the Grid Development Plan can have positive indirect effects on emission reduction by the national electricity system.

Terna has established an Environmental Policy, which expresses its commitment to practices to limit and reduce its environmental impact even beyond the limits imposed by law whenever this does not compromise the defense of the other general interests that Terna is obliged to ensure: the safety and continuity of the electricity service, keeping the electricity system efficient, adapting the system to the country’s production and consumption needs, and equal access to the grid for industry companies.

Among Terna’s main commitments for the environment, the following should be noted:

  • in the planning of investment to develop the grid, paying attention to the needs expressed by stakeholders (especially local institutions and environmentalist associations) and seeking agreement on solutions;
  • in the construction, management, and maintenance of the grid, adopting procedures in compliance with law provisions and, whenever possible, reducing the environmental impact;
  • in relations with suppliers, requiring them to gradually adapt to the standards of respect for the environment adopted by Terna;
  • with regard to magnetic fields, strict compliance with regulations and attention devoted to the development of scientific studies, while contributing to the correct presentation and understanding of the phenomenon;
  • with regard to biodiversity, commitment to limit the impact of the grid, particularly on birdlife, and carry out mitigation actions, including programs agreed on with environmentalist associations;
  • with regard to climate change, recognition of the importance of the problem and commitment to actions that foster the reduction of greenhouse gases.

As far as improvement programs are concerned, Terna continues its commitment to reducing emissions through limiting SF6 leakage and energy efficiency, while the continuation of cooperative projects with leading environmentalist associations will allow guidelines – in addition to mitigation instruments – to be established for the environmental integration of electricity lines as well as in-depth scientific examination of the interactions between electricity lines and biodiversity.

In organizational terms, environmental responsibility is divided among several corporate departments, which participate in an Environment and Sustainability Steering Committee to coordinate activities and establish priorities and objectives to propose to the top management. The participating departments are: Operations Italy, Corporate Safety (which is in charge of the integrated Quality-Environment-Safety management system), Institutional Affairs, Organization and Human Resources, and External Relations and Communication. The Corporate Social Responsibility Unit acts as the secretary of the Committee.

Monitoring of the environmental indicators is entrusted to a permanent group of experts working within the framework of the Environmental Management system.