Start construction of Europe’s first merchant line
Edison: Green light for the construction of Europe’s first merchant line, between Italy and Switzerland
The interconnecting line linking Campocologno, in Switzerland, with Tirano, in Italy, will be operational in 2009. This new line will help make the supply of electric power more reliable and diversified
Milan, Italy – Work started on the construction of Europe’s first alternate -current merchant line that will link the electrical stations of Campocologno, in Switzerland, and Tirano, in Italy. The 150-kV interconnecting line, which will have a length of 4.4 kilometers, will be put into service by the end of 2009, increasing by 150 MW the transmission capacity between the two countries. This infrastructure will be built and operated by EL.IT.E, a company created specifically for this purpose in 2007 and owned by Edison (48.45%), Raetia Energie (46.55%) and the Municipal Administration of Tirano (5%). The investment budgeted for the construction of the new line is 17.6 million euros.
The Start-event on April 23, 2008 was attended Pietro Giovanni Del Simone, Mayor of Tirano, Egidio Fedele Dell’Oste, Tariff Director of Italy’s Electric Power and Natural Gas Authority, and, for the Board of Directors of EL.IT.E, Giammartino Della Vedova, Chairman, Clara Risso, Director, and Samuel Bontadelli, Chief Executive Officer. The companies involved in the project were represented by Roberto Potì, Edison’s Central Director of Development, and Felix Vontobel, Deputy Chairman of Raetia Energie. The entire power line will be built below ground, with no environmental or visual impact and with the utmost respect for the landscape. In addition, a segment of the trench will also be used to place below ground the 132-kV Campocologno-Villa di Tirano aerial line, thereby facilitating the implementation of a plan to rationalize the power-line system in the Valtellina district. One of the landscape enhancement projects made possible by the new line, which was not included in the abovementioned rationalization plan, will involve dismantling the aerial power line built on the hill behind the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Tirano.
This infrastructure will make the Italian electric power system safer and more reliable and will help increase competition by bringing a new operator to the market. Moreover, the new power line will make it easier to import from Switzerland any new generating capacity that will be available to Edison. “This project represents another first for Edison, which is the company that brought the combined-cycle generating technology to the Italian electric power industry and is currently building a major regasification terminal and new pipelines to import natural gas,” said Roberto Potì. “Today we are breaking ground for the construction of the first merchant line in Italy and the first alternate-current power line in Europe that is not managed by a national operator. This is a major achievement that will make the supply of electric power more reliable and will increase competition.” Edison had been awarded a permit to build and operate the Italian segment of the project as far back as July 2006. A similar permit had been issued in Switzerland.
In November 2007, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development created the conditions that made the project possible and financially viable by authorizing Edison and its partners to use the new Italy-Switzerland merchant line on an exclusive basis for the first 10 years of service. The enactment of the required Decree was made possible by the signing, in March 2006, of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transportation, Energy and Communications, which was then approved by the Italian and Swiss operators of the respective electric power grids and, lastly, by the Italian Electric Power and Natural Gas Authority.