There is no reason why any new wind plant constructed within the next few years in Italy -- including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily -- cannot be connected to the electricity transmission network, says the country's grid operator, Terna. The clarification comes as wind project developers report that planning applications for new wind projects are being rejected or delayed by regional authorities on the grounds of alleged grid security problems. Terna refutes such claims, although it concedes that significant investment is required to expand the grid network to accommodate more wind capacity long term, in line with the forecast growth of the wind market to meet national obligations. Terna is investing EUR 3.1 billion between now and 2012 on new connections between mainland Italy and Sicily and Sardinia and on improving southern Italy's electricity grid and connecting new wind power plants. It has called on all national and regional authorities to approve construction of new power lines, rather than reject wind projects.