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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality



Italy’s Smart Grid policy is strongly aligned with the European Union (EU) Smart Grid policy and specifically the European Directive 2009/28/CE dated April 23rd 2009 which encourages and promotes the use of energy from renewable sources. To this end Italy sees the European Smart Grid policy as a means of improving economic growth through competitiveness and a sustainable energy policy. Italy as well as many of the other member states of the EU supports the exchange of initiatives and technologies relevant to energy production from renewable energy sources. Presently Italy has implemented the EU directives through a set of energy projects that emphasize the use of decentralized energy production from renewable sources, the use of short transmission lines, and through the use of reduced power loss distribution technologies.

Italy is a strong supporter of using the EU’s policy decisions to expand upon energy policy goals in an effort to reduce climate change through the adoption of EU stated goals of 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, a 20 percent cut in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency by 2020 and a 20 percent increase in the use of renewable energy by 2020.

In respect to the 20-20-20 objectives Italy is expected to reach a 17% of its electrical energy from renewable energy production by 2020 which is more than 3 fold increase from 5.2% in 2005.

Governmental Energy Policies and Initiatives

In light of recent worldwide efforts in Smart Grid development the Italian government has began a push for a more robust national electrical energy system. As part of this push the Italian government has recently consolidated its renewable energies policies and initiatives and its Smart Grid development plans into an important document entitled “National Action Plan for Renewable Energies of Italy”, issued on April 30 2010. The plan is closely modeled after the 2009/28/CE European Directive. It is important to note in the plan that the Italian government officially states that Italy, along with Korea and United States are to be co-leaders in Smart Grid projects at an international level. In particular Italy believes that this plan can help drive national economies to higher levels of growth. This in turn would increase best energy delivery and propel other technological achievements.

Governmental and Industry Collaborations

In Italy the Authority for Energy and Gas is aimed at providing directives (on the basis of Government lows) for supporting the development of Smart Grids by promoting and encouraging pilot projects in focused areas of the country. These projects include topics such as: smart management of the power network and the integration of Electric Vehicles. The first action Italy made in this direction occurred in 2007 when ENEL spa, the largest electric utility in Italy, decided to install a nationwide network of all electronic energy meters. By the end of 2009 almost 32 million smart meters were installed nationwide replacing the existing meters of most MV and LV customers. The primary goals of the project, known as “Telegestore”, were to:  allow remote reading of residential consumer energy consumption and the enablement real-time contract changes such as the activation or termination of service.

Current Projects

In 2009 Enel started the “Biggest Program” in the Smart Grid framework also known as the “Smart MV Networks” in Southern Italy. This Program is divided into 4 projects, each with specific tasks and objectives. The program was funded with 77M from the Italian Government which was originally granted by the European Commission (EC) in 2007.

The main goals of this Program can be summarized in the following:

  1. Test and improve distributed generation along with the management of active/passive power networks. This will lead to make MV power Networks ready for being connected with Photovoltaic plants with sizes 0.1-1 MW.
  2. Control voltage in order to allow a safe and clean disconnection of main generation in the case of primary supply loss.
  3. Distributed delivery in order to allow the reclosing (remotely controlled) of MV producers depending on the network conditions and in compliance with rules given by the Italian regulation.
  4. Possibility of a meshed grid configuration, in order to increase short-circuit power redistribution.

    Fundamental to this program is the development and installation of a high bandwidth communication network backbone.

    The Program “Smart MV Networks” is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. Currently 400km of overhead line and hundreds of automated remotely controllable switchgears have been installed.

Electric Vehicle (EV)

As said before Italy sees the development of EV technologies as fundamental to its energy policy.
As part of that policy a (EV) pilot project between ENEL spa and Daimler (E-mobility Italy) is currently underway which when completed will deploy 400 recharging stations in the cities of Milan, Rome and Pisa. As part of the project Daimler will deliver 100 Smart electric cars to private customers, maintenance free. For its part  ENEL will be building an distribution network capable of supplying RECS certified power (Renewable Energy Certificate System), which is an international system involving 25 European countries, whose mission is to fund the development of renewable sources like water, sun, wind and earth heat.


ADDRESS is one of the most important Smart Grid research project in Europe in which Italy takes an important leadership role. The project is led by ENEL spa and co-sponsored by the EC. Its main focus is to develop new technical as well as commercial solutions for allowing small and medium consumers to join in the energy market, by offering services of modulation of consumption and production of electric energy. ADDRESS is formed by 25 partners of 11 countries in EU: universities, research centers, private companies in the field of production, transmission and distribution of electric energy and of the production of electric appliances as well.

The ADDRESS vision introduces a new actor to electrical energy systems management, the Aggregator.  The Aggregator’s role is to collect all the requests of the market and try to accomplish them by managing the amount of energy produced and consumed by its customers. To this purpose in every customer’s residence a device called the “Energy Box”, will be installed which will service the Aggregator’s requests and consequently control all the electric appliances present in the house both energy consuming such as dish-washers, washing machines, … or energy producing such as photovoltaic cells, wind-energy systems, ... In this way both the Aggregator and the customers will share in a profit sharing network or marketplace. Furthermore the active participation of customers to energy regulation mechanisms and to distributed generation supply will make the whole system mode sustainable, efficient, and reliable. Finally, thanks in part to smart management technology the picks of demand which usually represent one of the most important risks of failure for the entire system and that could lead inevitably to the construction of expensive power plants will be more effectively managed. To be successful the ADDRESS vision will have to embrace multiple areas of systems development including: network management, economic/business systems; telecommunications, distributed measurement systems.

In 2011, first laboratory tests will be carried out on prototypes. Then in-field tests will also be performed, by involving consumers in Spain, Italy and in some regions of France. A first workshop is expected to be held in the near term for presenting the first results. For further information and details please visit the ADDRESS website.

Other useful links are as follows:

  • Procedura e criteri (in Italian)
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is Associate Professor of Electrical and Electronic Measurements at the University of Bologna, Italy. He has been a member of the Ad Hoc Working Group of IEC TC25 "On the new definition of the Ampere". He has been member of the IEEE Working Group for the revision of the IEEE Standard 1459-2000: "IEEE Standard Definitions for the Measurement of Electric Power Quantities Under Sinusoidal, Nonsinusoidal, Balanced, or Unbalanced Conditions".

    He has received the Best Paper Award at the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference in 2006. Currently He is Chairman of the TC-39 of the Instrumentation and Measurement Society “Measurements in Power Systems”, IEC representative in the Joint Committee for Guides in Metrology "Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement", member of the “Sensors for Smart Grids “ working group and General Co-chair of the “Applied Measurement for Power System” (AMPS) workshops. His main fields of research are distributed measurement instrumentation and measurement methods of electrical quantities. He is co-inventor of 16 patents and author and co-author of more than 170 scientific papers.