Activities abroad

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Terna’s expansion of its foreign activities ensue from its objective of increasing investment in the construction of interconnections with neighbouring countries and thus increasing its importation potential, the security of the Italian electric system, and the diversification of the sources of energy procurement.

The Balkans
South Eastern Europe is strategically important for the Italian energy system. The region currently has the most attractive nearby energy market because of its forecast medium- and long-term energy surplus and competitive production costs, as well as the diversification of supply sources, thanks to the unutilised potential of renewable sources and lignite.

If supported by specific intergovernmental agreements with these countries, the opportunities for developing production from renewable sources can contribute to achieving Italy’s EU targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The most interesting Balkan country for Terna’s activities is currently Montenegro. On February 6, 2010, an intergovernmental agreement was signed, according to which Terna will construct an electric cable between Italy and Montenegro. The cable will be 450 kilometres long, including 375 kilometres undersea, with the electric conversion stations located in Villanova and Tivat. Terna will form an industrial partnership with the Montenegrin transmission grid operator for the purpose of capital expenditure on the grid.

Terna has been operating in the Balkans since 2008, when it began work on the construction of the 400-kVi Tirana-Elbasan line. The line is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, while other work, regarding the country’s 110- and 220-kV infrastructure, will be completed in 2011. The total value of the contract amounts to about €13 million, including Terna’s share of €2.5 million, financed by the Italian Foreign Office through Italy’s Fund for Developmenti.

In Croatia, Terna completed – in cooperation with the Croatian TSO, HEP-OPS – a feasibility study regarding the new undersea electric interconnection with Italy.

Finally, Terna is present in the Balkan area with four job orders for technical assistance:

  • Serbia, for the regulatory authority AERS, with an 18-month contract in partnership with the Spanish company Mercados and the Dutch company Kema;
  • in Kosovo, with a 24-month contract in partnership with the Scottish company IPA for assistance to the TSO, KOSTT, regarding the operation of the electric system and aspects of the international regulation of the electricity market;
  • in Turkey, with a contract of about 7 months in partnership with Mercados, for technical assistance to the TSO, TEIAS, regarding the installation of an automated grid-management system and the integration of renewable energy;
  • in Ukraine, with a 27-month contract – whose terms are currently being established – in partnership with eight other European TSOs, to facilitate the integration of Ukraine and Moldavia with the European electric system, focusing on analyses of grid safety and assistance with operation, dispatching, and regulation.
 

North Africa

The second priority of Terna’s activities abroad is the link with North Africa, in particular Tunisia. This interconnection project (EIMed) – the first one between a European and a North African TSO – is the subject matter of a joint venture between Terna and STEG (Société Tunisienne de l’Électricité et du Gaz), followed by an intergovernmental one between the Minister for Economic Development and his Tunisian counterpart. The project provides for a 200-kilometre connection between Italy and Tunisia and the construction of a production plant at the same time.

The northern border

Terna’s development of interconnections also regards the northern border, where the most important project is with France.  

The planned 1,000-MW interconnection with France will link Piossasco, in Turin province, with Grand’ile, in France, through a direct-current cable, which will be completely underground or integrated with the infrastructure of highway A32, which passes through the Frejus tunnel. This technological project is unrivalled in the entire world because of the presence of long tunnels and viaducts, with a very limited environmental impact. The line will be 190 kilometres long, about half of which will be in Italy, and will utilise the roadway and the new service gallery of the Frejus tunnel.

The benefits for the Italian electric system regard the increase in its capacity for importing lost-cost energy and the security and diversification of the supply sources.