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Italy's Terna to invest in power grid as Ukraine crisis drives renewables

Terna to invest 10 billion euros in Italy grid for energy transition, security
Terna to invest 10 billion euros in Italy grid for energy transition, security Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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By Stephen Jewkes

MILAN -Italy's Terna is planning to spend 10 billion euros ($11 billion) over the next four years to upgrade the country's power grid, to meet energy security and climate change demands.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, governments across Europe have stepped up efforts to find ways to cut their dependence on Russian gas and enhance energy security.

The European Union, which is looking to cut its dependence by two-thirds this year, has said it intends to expand clean energy at a faster rate.

That means power transmitters like Terna will need to invest more money to modernise grids to cope with the less predictable flows from solar and wind power.

"(This is) a plan to make the country more energy independent thanks to more rapid development of renewable energy," Terna Chief Executive Stefano Donnarumma said on Thursday.

In its 2021-2025 plan, Terna said its investments would help strengthen connections between the south of the country, which produces increasingly more electricity from renewable sources, and the industrial north.

The group will also ramp up connections with neighboring countries like Greece, France and North Africa to boost its role as a European and Mediterranean power transmission hub.

Italy, which imports nuclear power from France, is looking to more than double its wind and solar capacity to 71 gigawatts by 2030.

LATAM EXIT

Terna, which makes most of its money from running the domestic grid, said it was looking to sell its assets in Latin America which could be worth 250-270 million euros.

"Talks are in an advanced phase and signing is expected in coming months," Terna Chief Financial Officer Agostino Scornajenchi said, adding a lot of interest had come from investment and pension funds in the area.

Terna said it was interested in new opportunities in low-risk markets with good growth potential like the United States which is launching investments to upgrade its grids and renewable energy capacity.

The interest for now is in participating in projects in the U.S. through partnerships, Donnarumma said. "Then we'll see."

State-controlled Terna, which confirmed its dividend policy, said it expected to report core earnings in 2025 of 2.14 billion euros from 1.85 billion euros in 2021.

($1 = 0.9101 euros)

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