The Italian power transmission system operator (TSO) Terna has unveiled its 2023 Development Plan of the national transmission grid, pledging over €21bn of investments in the next decade, 17% more than the previous Plan. The 2023 Development Plan aims to accelerate the energy transition, promote decarbonisation across the Italy, reduce dependence on foreign supply sources, and increase the environmental sustainability of the Italian electricity system.
The main new feature introduced by the 2023 Development Plan is the Hypergrid network, which will make possible to double the exchange capacity between market zones in the country from the current 16 GW to over 30 GW. In addition to the development projects that have already been announced, Terna has planned five new electricity backbones designed to integrate renewable energy capacity, backed by investments totalling €11bn. The project involves a major modernisation of the existing power lines on the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic backbones on the mainland and towards the islands, and the construction of new undersea 500 kV connections.
The Hypergrid is comprised of five backbones that pass through most of the Italian regions:
(1) the HVDC Milan-Montalto project (€2.7bn) will connect Lazio to Lombardy with an over 400 km backbone and will include an undersea section from Montalto (Viterbo) to Avenza (Massa Carrara), as well as the modernisation and reconversion to 500 kV direct current of overhead power lines from the area of Avenza to the south of Lombardy sites to provide greater sustainability and synergy with the existing infrastructure;
(2) the Central Link project (€300m) involves the reconstruction of the 220 kV power lines between Umbria and Tuscany, following the existing route, and will connect the substations at Villavalle (Terni) and Santa Barbara (Arezzo);
(3) the €1.4bn Sardinian Backbone project (1 GW) encompasses the development of two new infrastructure works: the first, the Pe.I.2, consists of a new 1 GW undersea direct current connection between Fiumesanto (Sassari) and Montalto (Viterbo) and the second one is the Sardinian Link, which involves the reconstruction of the Sardinian 220 kV grid from Codrongianos (Sassari) to Sulcis (South Sardinia) and Selargius (Cagliari) to deliver 1 GW between the north and the south of the island;
(4) the €4.1bn Ionian-Tyrrhenian Backbone will connect the Ionian coast of Sicily to Lazio and will be composed of two sections: the 1 GW HVDC Ionian Link from Priolo (Siracusa) to Rossano (Cosenza), and the HVDC Rossano – Montecorvino (Salerno) – Latina connection, through an overall 800 km infrastructure;
(5) the €2.4bn Adriatic Backbone is represented by the HVDC Foggia-Villanova-Fano-Forlì connection, which will link the northern part of Apulia to Emilia Romagna, passing via Abruzzo and Marche regions, for a total length of over 500 km.