The Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security has authorised – by decree of 5 September 2023 – the second branch of the Tyrrhenian Link, Terna’s direct current submarine power line that will connect Sardinia, Sicily and Campania, totalling 970 km in length and 1,000 MW of power for each branch. Tyrrhenian Link is a strategic project for the Italian electrical system within the framework of the energy transition targets set by the National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC).

For the entire project – including the eastern branch connecting Sicily and Campania, which has already been authorised – Terna will invest approximately 3.7 billion euros, involving 250 companies in the construction. The new infrastructure will contribute to achieving the phase-out goal from coal, as outlined in the 2019 PNIEC and reaffirmed in the 2023 update, by increasing the transport capacity, enhancing the security, adequacy, and flexibility of the national electricity transmission grid, and promoting the integration of the domestic market and renewable sources. The project will be completed by 2028.

“The authorisation of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security is a crucial step that allows us to begin the construction of a strategic project for Italy”, said Giuseppina Di Foggia, CEO of Terna. “The Tyrrhenian Link, for which Terna will invest a total of 3.7 billion euros, will enable the development of renewable sources, contributing to the decarbonisation of the electrical system. The speed with which the project has been authorised by the Ministry is the result of the ongoing collaboration between Terna and the institutions and confirms the strategic importance of the project”.

The new interconnection is a ground-breaking project that entails the construction of two submarine HVDC (high voltage direct current) power lines (one from Campania to Sicily and one from Sicily to Sardinia), totalling 970 km in length and 1,000 MW of power for each branch.

The western branch, with a total length of 470 km, will connect the Sicilian landing point of Termini Imerese, in the province of Palermo, to Quartu Sant’Elena, in the province of Cagliari. From here, the underground cables will mainly follow existing routes for approximately 30 km, with minimal environmental impact. The cables will then reach the Caracoli area, in the municipality of Termini Imerese, and Selargius, in the Metropolitan City of Cagliari, where conversion stations will be built next to existing power substations. Horizontal directional drilling will be used for landing points, allowing for the installation of conduits while minimising the interference with marine flora and the impact of the work on the coastline.

“The rapid authorisation of such a project – said Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin – is the result of the considerable streamlining efforts recently introduced in the authorisation process and of the effective engagement with the affected regions. It is also the outcome of collaboration between the Ministry, Terna, and the concerned regional administrations”, added the Minister of Environment and Energy Security, “allowing us to take another major step toward achieving the decarbonisation goals of the national energy system outlined in the PNIEC.”

Image source: Courtesy of Terna

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