Grid project Airolo – Lavorgo All'Acqua – Maggia – Magadino

Studio Generale

Exploiting synergies together

Guest author *: Pietro Jolli

Having presented the Studio Generale and the collaboration between the Canton, Swissgrid, Azienda Elletrica Ticinese (AET) and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), we continue our series dedicated to this key planning tool. In the following interview, Roberto Pronini, Director of AET, tells us about his experience of the Studio Generale on high- and extra-high-voltage grids from the company’s point of view.

Azienda Elettrica Ticinese (AET) is a publicly owned company belonging to the Canton of Ticino. It controls 40 percent of hydroelectricity production in Ticino and owns a supra-regional medium- and high-voltage transmission grid extending over 400 km. The majority of AET’s production plants are concentrated in Alto Ticino, along the Ticino river in the Leventina Valley. With over 60 years of experience in the planning and design, construction and maintenance of grid plants south of the Alps, AET is one of the natural partners for the Studio Generale on high-voltage grids.

How did the Studio Generale on the high- and extra-high-voltage grids of Ticino come about?
Roberto Pronini: The study was initiated in 2013, following Swissgrid’s acquisition of the extra-high-voltage plants in the Canton.

For years there have been discussions in Ticino about renewing the power line between Airolo and Lavorgo, an indispensable piece in completing the 380 kV national and international network across the Canton. The entry of the national grid company has been the key factor that has finally brought this project to life.

A large part of the Alto Ticino grid, including Maggia Valley, the region of Locarno, Bedretto Valley and Upper Leventina, would need to be reorganised around this new line between Airolo and Lavorgo. The Canton has therefore gathered all the interested parties (Swissgrid, the Canton of Ticino, AET and SBB) around the table in order to optimise the routes in the area in the long term.

This results in a more appropriate and efficient project planning both from a technical and an economic point of view.

Roberto Pronini, Director of AET

What are the advantages of a collaboration between several partners?
The fact that we can examine the reorganisation of an entire grid area together with all the interested parties and consider the long-term development enables us to obtain a broader vision, to identify solutions that might otherwise not come to light, and to reduce the length and impact of the transmission lines on the surrounding landscape.

This results in a more appropriate and efficient project planning both from a technical and an economic point of view. Discussion between partners involved in numerous other activities at a regional level also enables important synergies to be exploited for the benefit of the entire project.

In Alto Ticino, this has meant developing a plan that anticipates and integrates a number of projects under construction in the region, from the new Ritom hydroelectric plant and the wind farm to the opening of the AlpTransit base tunnel and the start of work on the second motorway tunnel.

AET: La via dell'energia
AET: La via dell'energia

How does AET benefit from the project?
Alongside the Studio Generale, AET has initiated its own internal process for the strategic planning of the grid, in which the principal investments have been specified for the reorganisation of its own infrastructure on grid level 3 and grid level 5 for the next 30 years. This strategic planning has integrated the results of the Studio Generale and has benefited from the established relationships with the other partners involved.

Discussion between partners enables important synergies to be exploited for the benefit of the entire project.

Roberto Pronini, Director of AET

As a result of the strategic planning, we have rationalised the high-voltage AET grid in the region, reducing it down to just two levels, shortening the routes and thereby increasing safety and transmission capacity. The temporal horizon of 30 years has also resulted in higher cost savings.

What are the future goals?
The Studio Generale will be expanded to cover the entire cantonal area. Having completed the phase dedicated to the Alto Ticino West, we are now working on the second phase involving Blenio Valley, Bassa Leventina, the Riviera and the Magadino plain. This will then be followed by Sottoceneri.

Guest author *

Pietro Jolli
Pietro Jolli

Head of Communication
Azienda Elettrica Ticinese (AET)

* Dialogue is very important for Swissgrid. The mutual exchange of ideas helps to develop understanding and increase knowledge. That is why we also publish articles by guest authors on relevant topics on the Swissgrid blog. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and not those of Swissgrid.

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