Information Technology

Significant benefits were achieved in 2009 as a result of information and communication technology projects and innovation at Terna. The following objectives were achieved:

1. Benefits for business deriving from the completion of important initiatives

  • Enhancement of National Electricity System security - National Electricity System security was enhanced through a series of interventions to improve the effectiveness of the control and operation system as regards the observed grid perimeter (extended to around three hundred 60-132-150 kV stations on the grid) and real-time output plants (with more than 8,000 MW added).
    Defence system effectiveness was also improved through the extension of disconnectable loads to distribution stations through the new emergency control panel (ECP) system, and extension of monitoring to additional events at hubs limited to the south and the northeast-northwest backbone.
  • Operating continuity - In 2009, Business Continuity provisions to ensure electricity system-critical operations was further enhanced following the completion of the back-up control room. Under normal operating conditions, the control room serves as the Rome area control room; in emergency conditions, it can take over critical processes vital to electricity system operation continuity which are normally undertaken by the National Control Centre.
  • Dispatching incentives - Following AEEG Resolution no. 206/08, which encouraged Terna to reduce the volume of energy procured on the Ancillary Services Market, significant work was undertaken to improve IT support instruments used for real-time planning and dispatch operations. As well as enhancing the applications platforms concerned, specific instruments were created to optimise the usage of strategic stocking (pumping); Optimal Power Flow techniques were introduced in the tertiary voltage control process for power plants; and an analytical instrument was added for budgeting, monitoring and controlling volumes procured on the Ancillary Services Market.
  • Regulatory changes - The applications platform that supports the planned and real-time Ancillary Services Markets was completely reviewed to reflect the Ministry for Economic Development Decree Law issued on April 29, 2009. On October 31, IT systems were upgraded to handle new Intra Day Markets, while on December 31, the new services market management platform (Integrated Market Operation System) and the real-time equalisation market commenced operations. The compulsory systems upgrade sought by the Authority has made it possible to introduce new rules that expand the range of offerings and allow operators to reprice offerings multiple times over the course of the day, thus making it possible to reduce the costs incurred for dispatching services.

2. Enhancement of the telecommunications infrastructure as a key asset for National Transmission Grid management

  • Telecommunications infrastructure - In 2009, Terna fully brought into service a 11,800 km proprietary fibre-optic telecommunications network infrastructure that can carry data at speeds of up to 10 Gbps and is one of Italy's main telecommunications backbones. The new network makes it possible to link all electricity grid locations dedicated to control and operations, the National Control Centre, the Disaster Recovery Centre and around 50% of the nation's power stations. This investment is part of the electricity service security enhancement strategy, which is designed to improve the reliability of telecommunications vital to control, operation and protection issues, especially regarding processes key to handling National Electricity System (NES) crisis and re-boot scenarios. As well as enhancing the NES, the new infrastructure's extensive reach and transmission capacity will also enhance and more effectively integrate Terna's core processes, which are distributed over a broad geographical area.
  • Perimeter Security - Perimeter Security system effectiveness has been further enhanced by increasing the number of sites where perimeter defence devices for ensuring that access is permissible only to authorised users and protocols and intrusion prevention tools for monitoring any fraudulent use of traffic which may be potentially detrimental to data network security are installed.

3. Achievement of management efficiency benefits

  • Significant efficiencies have been achieved in telecommunications through the renegotiation of the Company’s largest contracts as they near expiry, and in metering, where high levels of process automation have made it possible to reduce the number of employees involved in metering activities, while at the same time improving data quality and extending the acquired network. The telecommunications infrastructure upgrade programmes completed in previous years have substantially reduced the number of telecommunications network-related service issues and have had a beneficial impact on operating expenses.