Starting in 2002, Terna opened a new framework for the construction of infrastructure in Italy. Up to that point, discussions with local communities only began, as dictated by law, at the start of the development work authorization stage, when the planning of the infrastructure was already well-defined. This approach led to strong opposition from local Institutions and the residents of the areas affected, with the result that profound changes to the original prospects were often required, in addition to extended timeframes and in some cases, projects that were brought completely to a halt.

Terna's response was to voluntarily move forward discussions with local communities to the planning stage of projects – power lines and electricity stations – included in its Development Plan. The methodology developed provides for prior discussions with the Public Administrations at various levels (Regions, Provinces, Municipalities), based on agreeing upon the criteria to characterise the territory (the so-called “ERPA Criteria”) and aimed at optimal location of new installations. The solutions agreed upon with the Local Administrations are confirmed through signing of specific agreements between Terna and said Administrations. Basically, Terna's approach has entailed the voluntary development of a method of relating to stakeholders in local communities based on the purpose, inherent in the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), of integrating the environment into the planning process.

The SEA, at the time the subject of an EC Directive (Directive 2001/42/EC), was to be transposed into Italian law only many years later (in 2007 with Italian Legislative Decree 152/2006) and with much less detailed implications at the level of relations with local institutions.

The decision to adopt the foundations of the SEA to build a participative, transparent, documented and viable planning process led to the signing, with Regions and local authorities, of Protocols of Understanding and Planning Agreements, to establish in a formal manner the progress of reciprocal commitments. Since 2002, Terna has reached agreements with a growing number of Regions, 18 as of today, including the Autonomous Province of Trento.

Agreements signed

More information on the SEA is available in the website section devoted to the “Electricity Service”                
( from which you can also gain access to the dedicated map portal (the so-called “SEA Portal”), which has been active since 2011 to facilitate consultation and sharing of data relating to the SEA of the National Electricity Transmission Grid Development Plan, with particular reference to the related maps, for the benefit of the public and of the institutions involved.