Information Technology

Significant benefits were achieved in 2011 as a result of information and communication technology projects and innovation at Terna. The following two main 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 in 2011 to 100% of the primary distribution stations) and real-time output plants (with more than 2,700 MW added).
    The efficiency of the Defence System has been improved thanks to the extension of the scope with reference to sections referring to renewable generation, the interconnection on the Northern Frontier and the connection of Continental Italy and Sardinia.
    Activities have begun aimed at analysing the impact on security of the electrical system deriving from the diffusion of renewable and distributed generation, also with a view to the recent growth of wind and photovoltaic power installations in Italy and, in general, in the interconnected European system.
    Security and reliability of the control rooms in the territory have been improved in terms of logical segregation and the raising of the protection level of ICT consoles in support of the shift operators.
    Finally, the disaster recovery solution has been enhanced through the rationalisation of flows and the automation of the activation procedures. In December, a full DR test was completed with great success, that enabled the measurement of the capacity and reaction times of people, processes and IT instruments in the event of a disaster at the National Control Centre.
  • Improvement of efficiency - Following AEEG Resolution ARG/elt 351/07, in which Terna is encouraged to reduce the volumes procured on the Market for Dispatching Services, the IT instruments and processes supporting programming and dispatching activities in real time underwent important changes. The instruments involved in the forecasting of demand and production from wind sources have been strengthened; new instruments and methods have been introduced to support the Market for Dispatching Services for the continuous verification of electrical system suitability and security conditions with a view to improving the efficiency of procurement. The Energy Management System for system security verifications has been extended in terms of upgrading optimal power flow algorithms, introducing optimal power flow instruments in support of voltage regulation and dynamic security assessment for the continuous simulation of events and to assess the impact of these on the system security.
  • Regulatory adjustments - The application platform supporting the Market for Dispatching Services and the liquidation of the energy items associated (“settlement activities”) was adjusted to meet the dispatching rules defined for 2011 for the reform of the electricity market, which began in 2010 and informed by Italian Law no. 2/2009. This amendment to legislation has made it necessary to extend the platform for the management of further Energy Market and Market for Dispatching Services sessions to be carried out on flow days, according to the same methods as existing sessions, but with shorter time frames.


2. Achievement of management efficiency and efficiency benefits

  • The entry into operation towards late 2010 of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system enabled, in 2011, the rationalisation and standardisation of information flows towards operators, guaranteeing transparency and traceability in the management of relations between Terna and system operators.
  • In 2011, moreover, the new metering platform entered operation, for the management of measurements of the Production Units connected to the NTG. The new platform is able to streamline the relevant processes and automate data exchange with Dispatching Users, thereby ensuring significant benefits in terms of quality of service with regard to counterparties and efficiency internally.
  • Finally, the projects to strengthen ICT governance have enabled the improvement of the efficiency of the IT supporting core processes, through the introduction of instruments and procedures to manage and monitor ICT resources (e.g. CMDB, SAL management, performance management, etc.).


Managerial information technology and services to people

In 2011, software development activities continued in support of the business and pre-existing technology was consolidated in the design rooms and on the 3,700 work stations with a view to maximising security of information and guaranteeing ever better service levels.
There were a good deal of different technological projects to make secure the work stations. In particular, all major critical security issues of the installations of Microsoft operating systems on clients and servers were first detected and bridged and subsequently the Oracle/SAP platforms were analysed on the relevant technological infrastructures.
Levels of “impermeability” to malware and viruses guaranteed mean that the infrastructures managed by SA-ISP are of “low” risk level with respect to technological “penetration” by external hackers.
Technological infrastructures were introduced that can guarantee a precise, timely detection of Terna IT assets connected and used on a local network by the individual Terna users. This is to manage and best govern the technological renewal of the devices; ill-advised use by “improper” owners has a significant impact on business in the event of server failures with related disservices of the applications supported.

New rules of design, development and operation of application software were defined and implemented, pursuing certification ISO 27001 of the TIMM project in the complete internal client chain (AR), electrical market risk (SA-RME), Power Exchange legacy systems development (DSC-TSP) and SAP systems development (SA-ISP).

The definition of new standards for certification was then extended to new software development projects to guarantee higher overall quality in the delivery of the various applicative technologies.