The Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security has authorised the final project of Sa.Co.I.3, Terna’s 200 kV direct current submarine power line that will connect Sardinia, Corsica and Tuscany, with a total capacity of up to 400 MW. 

Terna has planned a total investment of approximately one billion euros for this project, which involves renewing and upgrading the current connection, known as Sa.Co.I.2, which dates back to the early 1990s. The original connection between Sardinia and Tuscany began operating in the late 1960s and was the world’s first high-voltage 200 kV direct current power link. In 1988, with the construction of a third conversion station in Lucciana, Corsica, the first multi-terminal high-voltage direct current connection was established.

Confirming the strategic relevance of the project for the European electricity market, Sa.Co.I.3 has been included in the list of projects that Terna has submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Energy Security and the European Commission as part of the RepowerEU plan. Specifically, the funding allocated for the infrastructure under the “electric transport networks” measures amount to 200 million euros.

“The connection between Sardinia, Corsica and the Italian Peninsula is a historic infrastructure for Italy and France. Its renewal, for which Terna will invest approximately one billion euros, is a project of absolute technological excellence that will contribute to strengthening our country’s role as an energy hub for Europe and the Mediterranean. An efficient and interconnected European electricity grid accelerates the ongoing energy transition process and helps achieve EU targets”, said Giuseppina Di Foggia, CEO of Terna.

Once operational, Sa.Co.I.3 will contribute to strengthening the European electricity market, promoting the development of renewable sources, and increasing transport capacity between Central and Northern Italy, Sicily and Sardegna, resulting in greater reliability and security of the national transmission grid, and, additionally, in a reduction in costs for the Dispatching Service Market (DSM). The need to increase the transport capacity of the existing connection also stems from the requirement of the Corsican power grid operator, Edf, to increase energy intake at the Lucciana power station in the Bastia area.

The renewal of the project, included in the third list of Projects of Common Interest by the European Commission since 2017, involves the construction of two new conversion stations adjacent to the existing ones (one in Codrongianos, in the province of Sassari, and one in Suvereto, in the province of Livorno), the laying of new submarine cables for a total length of 120 km, and underground cables for 20 km from the landing sites to the power stations, utilising existing infrastructure where possible.

Landing points for the submarine cables will be located in Santa Teresa di Gallura in Sardinia and Salivoli in the Municipality of Piombino in Tuscany. Both will use the technique of guided drilling, which will reduce interference with marine flora and minimize the impact of the work on the coastline. Therefore, Terna will carry out the project while ensuring minimal environmental impact on the involved areas and maximum sustainability of the operation.

“The renewal and upgrade of the connection between Italy, Sardinia, and Corsica is a project of great significance, not only for Corsica’s energy supply but also for the Italian electrical system. It will contribute to strengthening the adequacy of Sardinia’s electrical system, especially in view of the coal phase-out goal set in the 2019 PNIEC and confirmed by this Government in the Plan update,” said Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin.

Image source: Courtesy of Terna

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