Grid project Airolo – Lavorgo

A new 380 kilovolt line is being constructed between Airolo and Lavorgo. The construction of this line is necessary to ensure that the energy generated from hydropower can reach the centres in Ticino.

Your contact for this grid project

Alessandro Cameroni
Alessandro Cameroni

Phone +41 58 580 21 11
info@swissgrid.ch

Planning area
Planning area
Dismantling
Dismantling
Existing line
Existing line
Substation
Substation

Overview

The current line is now considered obsolete and requires restoration or redevelopment in the medium term, which is outside the scope of this upgrade project. The plan is to establish a second 380 kV connection between the Canton of Ticino and the rest of Switzerland. Once completed, this will prevent international flows from overloading the 220 kV grid.

The project to upgrade the section between Airolo and Lavorgo is part of Swissgrid's Strategic Grid 2025. A 132 kV FFS line has been incorporated into the new 380 kV stretch, thus avoiding the construction of an FFS line along the valley floor.

Improvement compared to the current situation

  • Dismantling of the 220 kV Airolo – Lavorgo and Peccia – Lavorgo lines
  • Dismantling of the old Peccia – Innertkirchen and Robiei – Handegg lines (Novena Pass)
  • New FFS 132 kV connection, thus avoiding the construction of an additional FFS line on the valley floor, with the aim of guaranteeing supply to AlpTransit Gotthard
  • Reorganisation of the AET lines in Quinto and Faido

Project

The project to upgrade the Airolo – Lavorgo line from 220 kV to 380 kV, promoted by Swissgrid, is strategically important for the completion of a national and international 380 kV grid. A 132 kV FFS line has been incorporated into the new 380 kV stretch, which will make it possible to create superabundance for all of Ticino.

The current line is now considered obsolete and requires restoration or redevelopment in the medium term, which is outside the scope of this upgrade project. The project will allow a second 380 kV connection to be established between the Canton of Ticino and the rest of Switzerland. Once completed, this will prevent international flows from overloading the 220 kV grid. For this reason, in the future we will avoid introducing generation limits at the Vallemaggia hydroelectric power plants.

How did this project come about?

In November 2013, the Canton of Ticino, Swissgrid, Azienda Elettrica Ticinese (AET) and the Swiss Federal Railways (FFS), in agreement with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), decided to look for variants that would be better suited to the specific characteristics of the area and could be considered part of an overall vision for Upper Ticino, instead of limiting the scope to Leventina alone, as had previously been the case. They therefore jointly launched the «Study on the reorganisation of the extra-high and high-voltage grids in Ticino». In an initial phase, the study examined the area designated as the «Upper Ticino – Western Part» section, which includes Vallemaggia and Locarnese up to Magadino and Val Bedretto and Upper Leventina up to Lavorgo.

The «Reorganisation study»

The study led to the unanimous selection by the SFOE and the project's supervisory group of the «Transmission line reorganisation solution, or the Leventina + 14 variant» from approximately 70 options, which will include the dismantling of around 60 km of lines.

Chronology

1997 – 2001 Initial consultation and insertion of any intermediate results into the procedure for the Transmission Lines Sectoral Plan, PSE 106 Airolo – Lavorgo
2006 – 2012 Integration of a 132 kV FFS circuit into the project
Establishment of the supervisory group
Launch of the consultation procedure
2012 Study to establish variants for the valley floor cable
2013 Handover of ownership of the grid to Swissgrid
2013 Launch of a study on the reorganisation of high-voltage grids, with initial focus on the «Vallemaggia and Locarnese section up to Magadino, Valle Bedretto and Leventina up to Lavorgo»
2014 Selection of a variant («Leventina + 14»)
2015 Submission of a consolidation request for the All'Acqua – Vallemaggia – Magadino planning area (PSE 109)
26. Mai – 31. Juli 2015
Consultation and cooperation, PSE 106 to PSE 109
23. März 2016
The Federal Council approved the PSE 106 coordination sheet (corridor between Airolo and Lavorgo), and the PSE 109 coordination sheet (planning area between All'Acqua and Magadino)
2018 End of design phase

Project advisory commission

The project committee represents an advisory forum, which facilitates the active collaboration of its various members to promote mutual understanding and provides a platform where the different requirements can be directly raised.

The project advisory commission was established on 5 July 2017 and the first session was held in Airolo. The commission comprises representatives of the municipalities concerned (Airolo, Dalpe Faido, Prato Leventina and Quinto), «Patriziati» (public entities managing collective properties) and environmental associations. The second meeting was held in February 2018.


People & environment

The Leventina + 14 variant selected as part of the general study of extra-high and high-voltage grids in Ticino is consistent with cantonal policy objectives.

Landscape

With the dismantling of several now obsolete lines – decreasing the total lines from 197 km to 137 km of lines – the «Reorganisation study» will lessen the impact on the local population, on protected areas of national and cantonal importance, and on the quality of the Upper Ticino landscapes, while at the same time increasing the transmission capacity and facilitating a better evacuation of the power produced in Vallemaggia.

Nature protection

In addition to increasing the currently insufficient transmission capacity of Vallemaggia, the «Reorganisation study» will have a positive impact on the exceptional landscapes, in particular due to the dismantling of the Peccia – Lavorgo, Peccia – Handegg and Robiei – Innertkirchen 220 kV lines. This will significantly improve the landscapes of Alpe Zaria (included in the Federal Inventory of Mire Landscapes of Particular Beauty and National Importance), Campolungo (included in the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance), the Cristallina area, lower Vallemaggia and Valle Bedretto.

Electromagnetic fields

The burden on the population will be reduced by the greater distance of the line to the settlements. The limit of 1 μT for electromagnetic radiation will be complied with across the board, with some areas reporting values well below this limit.


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