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The continuous evolution of the electricity supply chain requires energy companies such as ours to stay at the forefront of innovation: our Innovation Plan (2018-2022) guides and oversees innovation at a strategic, corporate level, setting out guidelines for implementation.

Terna at the forefront of innovation

The current energy transition process has brought us to a new organic approach to innovation, based around an acceleration of a portfolio of effective Research, Development and Innovation initiatives in keeping with the Group’s strategies.

In 2017, Terna decided to further speed up innovation, adopting a centralised, coordinated vision in order to encourage an ongoing exchange of ideas and needs. The aim is thus to create an effective innovation ecosystem within the Company, capable of enabling the transition to a new TSO 2.0 model. This requires a new approach to managing the electricity system, which is increasingly intelligent and flexible both at the level of the grid, thanks to the use of efficient and innovative technologies (smart grids, storage, distributed generation, intelligent demand management, etc.), and in terms of the market. This will entail an unprecedented revolution that will rapidly result in the integration of distributed generation resources, storage and market demand for services, and the Europe-wide integration of national markets.

In the medium-term future, innovation will focus on guaranteeing increased integration between the electricity grid and other networks (transport, gas, water, etc.), in order to make the Italian System and the European System stronger and more eco-sustainable.

The initiatives we focus on are divided into 6 clusters within our innovation framework:

Cluster perimeter

Transmission technologies Transmission technologies
Management of the electricity system Management of the electricity system
Network, Market and regulatory development Network, Market and regulatory development
Smart grids & Storage Smart grids & Storage
Business improvement Business improvement

This brings together cutting-edge initiatives and solutions for the operation and construction of transmission plant.

This covers technologies capable of improving control and management of the National Transmission Grid, providing high standards of security and reliability.

This includes grid development initiatives, the definition of new market models, the analysis of regulatory and geoclimatic trends at national and international level.

This includes the development of new business models for largescale storage, innovative projects based on smart grids and new research into innovative network services.

This includes all the initiatives aimed at improving management of the Company’s internal business and operational processes.

Sustainability Sustainability

This includes all the projects aimed at promoting a more sensitive approach to environmental issues. It is an integral part of the corporate mission and is relevant to all the other clusters.


Market Efficiency
Security of supply
Continuous improvement


Open innovation

Large companies and industries

The execution of co-development initiatives with supplier companies or with companies in non-energy sectors.

Academic institutions

Specific collaborations with the university and research sector in order to carry out studies and analysis on subjects of interest.

Startup and sme's

Scouting for start-ups and established businesses in order to gather opportunities to develop specific initiatives that are of interest to Terna.

Peers energy sector & Infrastructures

The development of collaborations with players similar to Terna, with which there are no problems regarding competition.

Valorization of skills and corporate assets

We support and promote innovation at Terna in a number of ways, mainly:

  • Financial resources: we participate in international financing programs that sponsor international and national R&D initiatives to access subsidized financing for our innovation developments;
  • Training & know-how: we ensure that our intellectual capital is enhanced by continuous training and sharing corporate know-how;
  • Open innovation: we collaborate with universities, research centres, peers, large industrial players, start-ups and SMEs to ensure we are always at the forefront of innovation. One example of open innovation is the Next Energy to support innovative projects for the development of the electricity system.

Next Energy: connecting Terna to startup ideas and new talents

Nowadays, making innovation means necessarily opening up to young talents and emerging entrepreneurial realities in Italy. Next Energy is the project run by Terna in collaboration with Cariplo Factory, designed to enhance and support the most innovative ideas and projects in the electricity sector. The initiative, this year at its second edition, is divided into three pathways that span different kinds of collaboration and maturity:  

Call for Growth: up to 5 start-ups (with technology readiness level of 5 to 8) get access to the growITup innovation platform created by Cariplo Factory in collaboration with Microsoft and work with Terna’s teams on developing new technology solutions. The aim is to promote and enhance their businesses, including the development of pilot projects and potential partnerships with industrial companies such as Terna;
Call for Ideas: 10 innovative projects or startups (with technology readiness level of 2 to 4) get access to a business empowerment and acceleration programme lasting 3 months. The best initiative, as selected by the Next Energy jury, gets € 50,000 to spend on further incubation/acceleration services to help make their idea a business success
Call for Talents: 6-month internship opportunities for 10 graduates to work on innovative projects and activities at Terna (over 100 applications received in November 2017). 

Read more about our initiatives in open innovation.

Terna Storage
The renewable energy sector is growing at a significant rate. In order to face this complex new scenario, Terna is working alongside leading national and international universities and research centres to develop new opportunities to store electricity, including that deriving from renewable energy production. The aim of this project is to ensure the safe and cost-effective management of the National Transmission Grid.