The safety of electrical system

Technology at the service of the system: efficiency and lower costs for the electricity system

Terna’s National Control Center, just outside of Rome, is the heart of the national electricity system. This center carries out a detailed control of the country’s entire electricity transmission grid. Sophisticated monitoring and management systems allow Terna to control, instant by instant, the electricity produced in Italy or imported from other countries and to safely manage the energy flows. Electricity cannot be stored: for this reason energy “dispatching” activity from the production plants to the places of consumption is carried out continuously and constantly 24 hours a day for a flow of approximately 326 billion kWh a year.

Through the SOC Security Operations Center, the high-tech center planned and built by Terna, the Company is also capable of preventing, facing and managing critical situations in real time. The electricity system is a complex system managed by using innovative technology for improving the safety and efficiency of the dispatching services supplies. The innovative program implemented and ongoing research for new solutions, have contributed to reaching excellent quality levels of the Italian electricity service and structurally reducing the cost of the dispatching service.

The areas of innovation include the use of complex ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) for defending the integrity of the national electricity system, safety assessments and balancing the demand as well as medium term forecasting models for optimizing maintenance programs of the grid elements with particular attention to reducing the impact of the unavailability of these elements on electricity production from non-programmable renewable sources. The high efficiency level reached in 2010 in dispatching activities stands to witness the important reduction in the energy volume supplied to the dispatching services market both with reference to 2008 (-57%) and to 2009 (-40%). These results have led in the past two years to significant benefits for the system, such as a reduction of dispatching costs, known as the uplift, equal to € 1 billion on an annual basis comparing 2009/2010 with 2008. The importance of the value generated by Terna for the system is also confirmed by the Authority for Electricity and Gas through incentives connected with supply activities of resources for dispatching and forecasting the demand and production from wind power, pursuant to Resolution n. 351/07 of 29 December 2007. The results obtained on incentives, exceeding the increasingly challenging targets set by the Authority, represent further evidence of the Company’s strong commitment toward constantly improving the high management standards of the electricity system already reached.

As part of maintaining this commitment, Terna will continue in the next few years to invest in resources for obtaining benefits deriving from the completion of important planning initiatives and for developing new initiatives under examination.