Environmental, social and economic criteria for an innovative approach to green planning; the Italian grid operator has become the first at international level to draw up guidelines that allow the evaluation criteria of this protocol to be applied to its projects, to determine how sustainable and resilient they are
Terna has become the first company at international level to have drawn up guidelines that allow the evaluation criteria of the international Envision protocol, which measures, determines and certifies how ‘green’ and resilient projects are, to be applied to new electricity transmission infrastructure. With the adoption of this protocol, the Italian national grid operator has a concrete and objective way to verify the sustainability of its projects from an environmental, social and economic point of view, and throughout their entire life cycles.
Terna’s approach to sustainable project design is an innovative one: the adoption of the Envision protocol will allow the company, which is led by Stefano Donnarumma, to further enhance and optimise the consultation, planning, construction and maintenance processes for electrical infrastructure, through participatory encounters with local communities. Terna has already implemented this approach to sharing in recent years and, through the ‘Terna Meets’ events, actively and publicly involves citizens, administrative bodies and institutions from the very earliest stages of deciding on and planning grid development works, in a voluntary process of listening and talking to all affected parties. The Envision protocol will also allow the company to further improve the evaluations and verifications made regarding the average life span and resilience of individual projects, with benefits for the environment and the protection of local communities, for an increasingly efficient, secure and sustainable electricity grid.
For Terna, which currently manages around 75,000 km of electricity grid and about 900 substations in Italy, sustainability is a strategic driver, one of the pillars of the growth and creation of value for the company and benefits for the entire Italian electricity system. Based on the eligibility criterion introduced by the European Taxonomy, 99% of the approximately €10 billion in overall investments that Terna has earmarked in the updated version of the 2021-2025 ‘Driving Energy’ Business Plan is considered sustainable in nature. In fact, Terna’s projects represent one of the main factors enabling energy transition towards decarbonisation.
The 2021 Development Plan for the Italian transmission grid, which has earmarked €18.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years and more than 30 new infrastructure projects, will help promote the development and integration of renewable sources, leading to the progressive closure of the most highly polluting plants and contributing significantly to achieving the ambitious targets of the Green Deal. According to Terna's estimates, the works scheduled over the course of the Plan will make it possible to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by 5.6 million tonnes per year and enable the demolition of 4,600 km of obsolete infrastructures.
Envision is the first rating system used to design and build sustainable infrastructure. Created in 2012 by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) in collaboration with Harvard University, the protocol is based on a framework built upon 64 indicators of sustainability and resilience divided into five categories: quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and resilience. The first Envision guidelines produced and adopted by Terna were approved by the certification body ICMQ, which has the mandate for the exclusive dissemination of the protocol in Italy.