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Sustainability means taking action today for a better tomorrow. For Terna, the future looks radically different from the past: ambitious carbon reduction goals, widespread uptake of renewable energy sources and distributed generation, even greater adoption of electric vehicles and internet-enabled devices and appliances will have profound impacts on the way power markets and networks are managed.

Innovation means getting Terna ready for that future. That is why sustainability and innovation go hand-in-hand for us.
The change in scenario has also prompted us to adapt our innovation strategy: it’s no longer enough for us to rely only on “internal” efforts (building on ideas developed within the company and exploiting the company’s own consolidated know-how) so we’re opening up to a range of collaborations and partnerships to explore technologies, products and innovative ways across different areas and sectors away from the company’s primary focus to make sure the Italian grid is ready for a sustainable future.

Terna’s approach to open innovation

Terna’s Open Innovation involves a structured relationship with sector peers, industrial players, the academic world and with start-ups and SMEs.

Peers energy sector & infrastructures

Peers energy sector & infrastructures


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

Academy e centri di ricerca

Academic institutions and research centres

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

StartUp e PMI

StartUp and SME'S

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

Large Companies and Industries

Large Companies and Industries

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

Connecting Terna to startup ideas and new talent

Could you stand up in front of Chairwoman Catia Batistoli and 50 other Terna managers and convince them that your innovative idea is key for our future success?
That’s how we’ve been picking winning ideas to support through Next Energy, now in its second year. The project, run in partnership with Fondazione Cariplo and in collaboration with Cariplo Factory, allows us to work side by side with Italy’s startup community, new technologies and emerging business ideas: a new element for 2017-2018 is to better connect ideas to actual projects for Terna’s business.

Next Energy is supporting innovation in Terna through three activities which 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 and work with Terna’s teams on developing new technology solutions. Back in January 2018, we picked five of the twelve shortlisted startups to go through to the next stage of the programme. They are getting access to the growITup open innovation platform created by Cariplo Factory in collaboration with Microsoft. 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 5) 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).

Taking an early lead on storage

Italy has the second-highest penetration of electricity generation using renewable sources in Europe (after Germany). Such resources are notoriously unpredictable and energy production is intermittent. The plants are also concentrated primarily in the south of Italy as well as Sicily and Sardinia and far from major areas of electricity demand. All this has had a significant impact on how electricity flows are managed and in general on the secure operation of the grid.

In order to optimise generation from renewable sources and at the same time increased security margins, Terna has identified energy storage as one of the possible solutions to the problem, planning the installation of technologies across Italy and connected to the National Electricity Transmission Grid.

Since 2012, Terna has been a global pioneer with series of pilot projects for a total of around 50 MW of capacity, testing innovative electrochemical storage technologies on a “utility scale” (that is at a larger scale compared to consumer electronics).

The technologies being used for the different projects are classified as “energy intensive” and “power intensive”.
  • “Energy intensive” technologies – those which a high stored-energy to installed-power ratio - aim to ensure maximum use of wind farms along the backbone of Campania to reduce grid congestion due to overproduction of wind power and the capacity of the lines to transport it.

  • A second, more experimental project, named “Storage Lab”, has been launched in Sicily and Sardinia focusing on installing systems using different storage technologies, primarily “power intensive” (short-term, high power output). This project aims to evaluate and validate the integration of storage systems with Terna Defence Systems, identifying performance and the potential for applications aimed at increasing the security of management systems.

Thanks to this initiative, we have findings about available technologies, how storage works in practice and which systems can be used for specific applications.

For more information about the pilot projects.