Strategies, current actions, and future plans for managing impacts on biodiversity

Terna's approach to protecting biodiversity is, first and foremost, preventive. When building new power lines, Terna considers the need to preserve the naturalistic and landscape aspects through the adoption of the Strategic Environmental Assessment as a method for seeking environmental compatibility. As other environmental variables, biodiversity – and specifically the presence of protected areas – represents an input into planningDefinition of the usage plans, for a specific period of time, for the available means of production andtransmission, in order to satisfy the energy requirements with respect to quality and continuity of service. grid developmentWorks on the electricity grid which lead to the adjustment or upgrading of the transport, transformation,connection and interconnection capacity, or an increase in operating flexibility of the grid, or the removal ofgrid elements. and seeking consensus on the location of new systems.

Therefore, in building new lines, Terna adopted mitigation and compensation measures as follows:

  • environmental recovery by carrying out natural engineering works capable of regulating the superficial flow of meteoric waters and consequently controlling the phenomenon of soil erosion;
  • reforestation through planting trees and shrubbery belonging to the local vegetation;
  • regrassing with seeds belonging to autochthonous species, distributed jointly with natural fertilizers and products that facilitate growth. The use of autochthonous species avoids the occurrence of floral pollution, through the introduction of species that are extraneous to the environment;
  • compensation: deforestation along the route followed by the lines is balanced by planting trees of the same species on equivalent surfaces.

As far as existing lines are concerned, Terna experimented systems to mitigate the environmental impact between lines and birdlife. The system that has received the most extensive testing is the installation, on sections of line where birds frequently cross, of special devices known as “dissuaders” which, with their large size and the noise they make when the wind blows through them, make the electricity lines easier to detect by birds in flight. In a number of cases, the installation of dissuaders was specifically requested by environmental associations.

In 2007 Terna continued its cooperation with the principal environmental associations - in particular with LIPU, a member of Birdlife International - with the purpose of identifying the naturalistic areas near to or crossed by power lines, where it is a priority to:

  • protect birdlife;
  • monitor the situation (incidents of collision and fatalities);
  • define and install the most appropriate protection devices;
  • verify the effectiveness of measures undertaken with subsequent monitoringAll the actions through which the current operational status of an electricity system is ascertained.;
  • develop agreements on measures to be undertaken that are applicable also in other situations.

Terna is available to take action, not necessarily as part of a planned initiative, on sections of lines where frequent incidents have occurred which created problems for the surrounding natural environment.

Terna has also been involved for some time in experimenting alternative uses for its lines to the advantage of biodiversity. For example, numerous studies have shown how electricity lines provide hunting watching points for birds of prey, which alight on the pylons for their height and also for the protection they offer from predators. In 2007, too, Terna maintained its support for the “nests in pylons” project, which over the last few years has resulted in the installation of over 300 boxes to allow birds of prey to nest. Constant monitoring of the boxes by a group of researchers has allowed discovering an increase in the resident population of kestrels in the Municipality of Rome: from approximately 60 pairs to approximately 300 resident pairs.

Highlight: Pylons and the environment: an idea that transmits energy

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