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Project EVOLRETE 2014

Evolution and planning of the national electric system

Power System Research

2014-2014

Antonella Frigerio

The new European policies on energy are driving extensive changes in the national electric system and market that often lead to operate the network close to the threshold conditions of safety, increasing the risk of cascading phenomena or even blackouts. The project proposes scenario studies to identify ex ante the critical issues that could affect the electro-energy system, probabilistic and dynamic methods to analyse the operational safety of the electric system in its current configuration, and planning and development studies of the network in order to solve congestion and vulnerability problems as well as to strengthen the national and international interconnections.

In the last decade, the European Community and national policies on energy are driving deep changes in the energy market and, above all, in the national electric power system, leading to the rise of new and critical needs. Under the pressure of these technical, economic, environmental and social drivers, the electric system has now a completely different layout, characterized by a growing integration into the grid of intermittent renewable resources and by generating units more distributed rather than concentrated in a few bulk power plants. This new situation - together with the market rules that enforce a deep exploitation of the electric system, heavily reducing the reserve margins - often leads to operate the network close to its security limits, increasing the risk of cascading phenomena or even blackouts. In this context, the transmission grid plays a key role in the generation-load balance but, in order to cope with and solve vulnerability and congestion problems of the network, it is necessary to have an overall pan-European vision. Promoting joint and coordinated actions that favour the creation of a single European market and the strengthening of the grid interconnections between countries is therefore mandatory.

The project " Evoluzione e sviluppo del sistema elettrico nazionale" in the framework of the research on the Italian electric system has widely addressed the above priorities. The overall aims have been (1) identifying ex ante the critical issues that could affect the power system by means of scenario studies in the medium and long term, (2) thoroughly analysing the operational security of the electric power system in its current configuration, and (3) promoting planning and development studies of the network, in order to solve congestion and vulnerability problems as well as to strengthen the national and international interconnections.

In all of these three areas, the criticalities, the operating conditions and the development of the Italian electric system were analysed in a pan-European perspective, considering the possible benefits that could be achieved if a unique European market is implemented (e.g. market coupling). The proposed issues are carried out in synergy with the following European Projects: DYNERGYSteel, SAMBA, AFTER, iTESLA, BEST PATHS, GridTech, eBADGE, eHIGHWAY2050 and INSPIREGrid, and with the IEA activities, in particular the ISGAN and PVPS Implementing Agreement.