venerdì 3 maggio 2013

The New Fano-Teramo 380,000 Volt High-tension Line Project

The New Fano-Teramo 380,000 Volt High-tension Line Project
The extremely high-tension (380 kilovolts) overhead transmission line between Fano and Teramo, proposed by TERNA SpA, including the installation of two large sub-stations in the Province of Macerata, is in fact a redoubling of the existing line connecting Fano to Ancona (in the Candia area) and points farther south, but will follow a different route.
We’re talking about steel-lattice towers between 35 and 50 meters tall (as tall as 70 meters in a few places) with 20-meter wide supporting arms for the high-tension cables.
The hypothesis for this project goes back as far as 2002, followed in June of 2005 by a preliminary agreement among the Marche Region, Provinces, towns (comuni), the Comunità montane of Le Marche and the TERNA company, followed on June 25, 2007 by resolution n. 689 of the Marche Region defining the preferred overland “corridor” for the high-tension lines. Since 2008 there have been numerous meetings and task forces (tavoli tecnici) involving communal administrations, provinces and TERNA (25 plenary meetings and 43 task forces as of late 2011).
Given the intense activity of the involved administrations and the total absence of information provided to citizens potentially affected by the project, numerous citizens’ committees have been formed in every province of the Marche Region and have undertaken a grassroots campaign to inform and raise awareness among the population and local administrations through numerous public meetings.
So far a large number of comuni affected by the proposed high-tension lines have formally expressed critical and/or negative opinions regarding this project. In addition, the second Commissione Consiliare of the Province of Ancona, following a hearing with mayors and the local committee, presented an “order of the day”, approved by the Provincial Council (Consiglio provinciale) on 5/4/2012, acknowledging the following considerations and requests.
The motives in support of this project, as put forth in documents presented to the local administrations by the TERNA company are:
-forecasts of a notable increase in the consumption of electric energy in the region;
-a large shortfall in the production of electric energy in Le Marche;
-the resulting risk of black-outs.
In reality:
- the consumption of electric energy in the Marche Region was greatly diminished in the 2007-2011 period. In fact, it shrank by approximately 4% during this period, falling from 7,763 GWh in 2007 (year of maximum consumption) to 7,467 GWh in 2011, reaching levels last seen in 2004 (7,432 GWh); (source: TERNA 2011 stistical data – Marche Region consumption)
For 2012, though specific final results for Le Marche have not yet been published, aggregate consumption in the central regions (Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio and Umbria) has dropped by 3.5% with respect to 2011.
Such data shows the 2.5% annual energy-consumption growth rate once prognosticated by TERNA was/is unrealistic;
- in recent years the Marche Region has seen rapid development of renewable energy sources: in particular photovoltaic plants capable of generating 789 MW have been activated, as shown by GSE data (as of 23 February 2012), nearly double the power objective for 2015 set forth in the Regional Energy and Environment Plan. In 2011 electric energy produced by photovoltaic plants was 658 GWh, equal to over 8% of annual consumption in Le Marche, and in 2012, though there is not yet official data, it is reasonable to expect another significant increase. This important contribution of photovoltaic electric energy, combined with the substantial drop in consumption already described, contrasts with data regarding the electricity deficit in the Marche Region, which – paradoxically, based on data provided by TERNA – shows a consistent increase (from 47% in 2010 to nearly 55% in 2011). This suggests that behind this data there are motivations other than the inability (non idoneità) of the Region to produce enough energy locally to meet its needs.
- that TERNA itself no longer attributes a high priority to the project can be easily deduced from TERNA’s document “2012 Development Plan” in which its realization is defined by the term “year to be determined”, as opposed to the term “long term” in the 2011 development plan or the date “2015” specified in the 2010 plan.
The high tension line, then, though officially motivated by TERNA as a way to “increase coverage of the 380 kV grid, improve the safety and continuity of the electrical supply in the Marche Region and optimize management of the grid itself”, rather than respond to the real needs of the Marche Region appears merely to be a structure for the transport and exchange of electric energy to/from the North and South of Italy and to/from foreign countries.
Similarly, the TERNA press statement of 23/06/2011 makes explicit their objective to “turn Italy into a true ‘energy hub’ of the Mediterranean for the transmission of electric energy, the ideal platform – also given its geographic position – to connect north Africa and the southern shore of the Mediterranean basin with central and northern Europe.”
It is also appropriate to underline how this project conflicts with the Regional Energy and Environment Plan put forth by the Marche Region in 2005.
The plan emphasizes energy savings, the use of renewable sources, and the realization of small cogeneration plants as the foundation of regional energy policy. In particular it states (PEAR, chapter 1, paragraph 4.2) that: “distributed generation and cogeneration, with a preference for small to medium sized plants located in areas according to parameters like those used – successfully – for the determination of industrial zones, aims at having less need to transport electrical energy, with reduced energy loss from the transportation and distribution grid, as well as less need to strengthen or increase the high tension grid.”
It should be remembered that extremely high-tension lines such as the one under consideration (380,000 V) are intended for the transmission of electric energy (comparable to electricity super highways), while for local use (industrial, commercial, private, etc.) lower tension lines(less than 132,000 V) are needed for distribution.
European law recognized by Italy requires that for each phase and level (strategic, structural and realized) of the project there be examination and consideration of several alternative plans or programs, not just one option. TERNA’s proposal of 3 minor feasibility variations in the route of the proposed overhead high-tension line is not the same as an alternative plan for the project with regard to the use of the best technologies, understood to be those that have the least impact, are the least invasive in terms of environment and public health, and pollute the least.
The project calls for the high-tension line to pass through the hilly submontane hinterland of the Marche Region from one end to the other. These are territories that have seen progressive repopulation in recent years, and the renewal of a large part of the land patrimony. These are substantially undamaged lands, particularly adapted for high quality agriculture and animal husbandry, enriched by gastronomic and touristic offerings.
In fact, Le Marche is the fastest growing region in Italy in terms of rural/wine/gastronomic tourism, and has growing exports of typical/local foods.
The realization of the TERNA project, with its ruinous impact on the landscape, would also do serious harm to activities related to the above-cited sectors, to tourism and all activities based on land use/development.
All of this is totally antithetical to the policy – long supported in the region – of promoting tourism in the hills of Le Marche, and to statements made by regional President Spacca during an interview dedicated to the high-tension line question on July 22, 2011: “we have made the landscape the principal asset of Le Marche of the future.”
The high-tension line would be certain to have a negative impact on the attractive capacity – and related repopulation – of rural areas that in recent years have undergone redevelopment resulting in increased revenues for local government.
The decisional process followed thus far has been characterized by a total absence of public information for and negotiation with citizens (both of which are called for by European and Italian law). This applies both to the approval of the 25/06/2007 resolution with which the Marche Region agreed to accept the proposed “corridor” for the 380 kV Fano–Teramo high-tension line, as well as to subsequent technical task-forces (including representatives of TERNA SpA and regional, provincial and communal administrations) aimed at determining the feasibility strip (fascia di fattibilità).
The eventual completion of the high tension line could cause health risks for people living near it, especially for children and other people already ill.
It should be remembered that in 2001 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (I.A.R.C.), under the aegis of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), classified electromagnetic fields as “possible cancer-causing agents” for human beings.
The I.A.R.C. further states that “while for most children exposed at home to extremely low-frequency radiation, at levels below 0.4 microteslas there is little evidence of increased risk of leukemia, for exposures above 0.4 microteslas the data from a substantial number of well carried-out studies show a consistent, statistically significant increase in the risk of childhood leukemia.
Under Italian law (DPCM 8.7.2003) the level considered to be a “quality objective” is 3 microteslas, nearly 8 times higher.
The phenomenon known as electrosensibility and it’s consequent pathologies (including migraine headaches, sleep disorders, cataracts, and sterility, particularly in men) is indisputable, and while it is generally more a question of discomfort than of serious illness, it nevertheless can require medical attention, palliatives and other intervention, can be worse for certain individuals and can become a costly social and public health problem.
The technical task forces did not take into consideration the application of the “precautionary principal”, nor did they think it necessary to do a Health Impact Evaluation.
As noted, the precautionary principal, as applied by the EU, states that in the face of scientific uncertainty and the need for time to carry out epidemiological studies, it is indispensable to exercise caution in order to safeguard the health of citizens. So long as scientific doubt remains, the most restrictive measures with respect to possible risk must be imposed so as to be sure of minimizing real risk.
The eventual realization of the proposed high-tension line will cause a notable drop in the value of property (houses, land) and of entrepreneurial activities (agriturism and tourist accommodation generally) located near it, and will result in heavy economic and property damage.
In the above-mentioned task forces there has been much talk of “compensation” for the various “administrations”, an admission that the territory would, in fact, be damaged by the proposed project, but payment of compensation for property damage to the citizens directly involved has never been taken into consideration, nor is the TERNA project accompanied by a financial plan providing for adequate compensation to property owners.
In this way, the inalienable right to property is being violated.
- that they procede to a reconsideration and complete revision of the new FANO-TERAMO high-tension line project, verifying the real necessity for the project and carrying out a preventive evaluation of all alternatives to its eventual realization;
- that they respect the necessary procedures and the rights of involved citizens, and thus request that TERNA S.p.A.:
1) evaluate the project’s Health Impact and acquire the opinion of AZUR Marche;
2) evaluate possible damage to third parties and present a plan for their compensation for such damage;
3) avoid any and all alteration of the countryside.
4) involve local citizens, associations, committees etc., as they are the people directly impacted by the eventual realization of the high-tension line, as set forth by the procedures of V.A.S (S.E.A. – strategic environmental assessment)
- and that – in order to safeguard the citizenry – they not publically express favorable opinions of the realization of the high-tension line so long as the above-mentioned evaluations have not been completed.

Translated from Italian by David Herrick

5 commenti:

  1. Awesome! This project is indeed great. I'm very much impressed with this and of course, with the people behind this, too. So amazing! Thanks for posting this blog!

  2. Dear Caty Barcess, I'm Barbara Archeri, Comitato Alta Fiastrella, if you want you can write me to:

    We are defending people's property involved in Terna project. Archeri Barbara.

    1. See also: :

  3. Finalmente la Regione Marche ha detto NO all'elettrodotto Fano Teramo: