Op-Ed | Energy & Infrastructure as drivers for development and welfare.
Energy systems are undergoing a major transformation and acceleration in investments in infrastructure is the enabling factor for a rapid transition.
by Luigi Ferraris, CEO & General Manager Terna
The International Energy Agency foresees global investments of more than $6,000Bn in the energy industry between 2017 and 2025. These investments are key to achieving increasingly interconnected and technologically-developed power systems, thus reducing environmental and social impact. Indeed, economic growth shows there to be a positive relationship between human development and electricity consumption.
Moreover, today there is a widely-shared awareness that electricity from renewable sources fosters sustainable and climate-friendly economic development. Renewables, together with energy efficiency, electric mobility, storage and technological innovation lead to a shift away from a traditional one-way energy system towards a more complex integrated system, involving multi-directional energy flows characterized by high volatility and low predictability.
Within this context of transition, the Italian system is calling for a new wave of investment and Terna is ready to face the challenge of making the country’s network more secure, more efficient and more resilient.
The Italian electricity grid is of strategic importance at a continental level because it represents a natural hub for the connection of Mediterranean countries with the EU electricity markets. In fact, notwithstanding the importance of interconnection with the other EU bordering countries – there are already 25 lines in operation – there are new projects included in the Italian National Transmission Grid Development Plan that will link the country with Eastern Europe (Montenegro) and Northern Africa (Tunisia).
Investments are an opportunity to support the growth of the Italian economy. We are strongly committed to playing a leading role as an infrastructure operator for the Country. Our investment in electricity grids has a particular focus in Italy, to guarantee ever-increasing electricity service-quality levels and to support the current energy transition with innovative technological solutions.
Furthermore, thanks to our solid business model which is based on regulated revenues that can rely on multi-year regulatory visibility, we are able to make long-term investment plans and attract long-term investors to support us.
In accordance with this strategy, we have allocated €12Bn over the next 10 years for investments destined entirely for the benefit of the Country, with positive economic and social impacts for Regions and local communities. In particular, Terna is constantly striving to find innovative solutions and technologies to develop the network, paying close attention to the environment and to local communities, and ensuring their engagement at a very early stage of the planning process.
Sustainability is driving our business model: we are well aware that business needs to be ever mindful of human rights and of the environmental impact of operations. Running a business is not only a matter of adding value to the enterprise itself, but also of disseminating positive values and minimizing conflict. That is why we introduced an inclusive business model which listens to local communities and stakeholders. As a result of such strong commitment, Terna recently received prestigious recognition: with its 10th consecutive placing on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the company, in 2018, ranks first in the global Electric Utility sector for its sustainability performance.
Here at Terna, dialogue with our stakeholders forms the basis of everything we do. We take a proactive approach to engagement with interested parties, such as national and local authorities, municipalities, the general public, trade unions and environmental organizations, and we firmly believe that the stakeholder involvement is key to delivering our business objectives and to improving social welfare as a whole.