Terna’s Elba-Mainland Connection has Come into Operation
Terna’s 132 kV undersea cable linking the island of Elba with Piombino (Livorno) has come into operation. The project, which is of fundamental importance for the entire Italian electricity system, confirms the strategic role that the company—led by Giuseppina Di Foggia—plays in the country’s energy transition process.
The power line boasts a total length of approximately 37 km, 34 of which undersea and three completely underground. It is an essential infrastructure which doubles the connection lines between the Italian electricity system and the grid on the island of Elba.
“The new connection between the island of Elba and Tuscany is important for multiple reasons. First of all, thanks to Terna's €90 million investment, it significantly improves the safety and reliability of the island's electricity grid. The project was also developed in compliance with the highest sustainability standards: the connection is, in fact, invisible and advanced laying techniques were used to safeguard the important local marine biodiversity,” commented Giuseppina Di Foggia, Terna Chief Executive Officer and General Manager.
The undersea cable was laid by the Leonardo Da Vinci ship, operated by the Prysmian Group, at a maximum depth of around 70 meters below sea level, starting from the island landing site at Portoferraio and continuing towards the continental coast of Piombino.
The company that manages Italy's electricity transmission grid safeguarded the local marine habitat. In the months before the start of cable-laying activities, in fact, around 53,000 plants of Posidonia seagrass—an aquatic plant typical of the Mediterranean Sea that plays a strategic role in the entire marine ecosystem—were planted in the Gulf of Follonica covering 1650 m² in total.
Furthermore, the cable landing sites were made using the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technique, which makes it possible to install a pipe while limiting interference with aquatic plants and cancelling out the impact of the works on the shoreline, while also ensuring the electrical connection is mechanically protected as needed.