Bridging the energy gaps across the Mediterranean region: Med-TSO Action Plan 2020-25 presented by Vice-president Carlo Crea

Carlo Crea (TERNA – Italy), Vice-President of Med-TSO

With 2020 begins a new phase for the Association of Mediterranean Transmission System Operators, described in the Action Plan 2020-25. The plan was brought to life after the European Commission shared its renewed interest in the Association’s technical activities, aimed at reinforcing a multilateral cooperation across members with the hopes of inspiring further integration of power systems.
We asked the Vice-president, Carlo Crea (Terna, Italy), to present the main features of the document.

As you are one of the Vice-presidents, but also the chairman of the Strategic Orientation Committee in charge of driving this Action Plan 2020-25, could you briefly illustrate its main features and objectives? Could you provide some concrete examples of activities designed to achieve the above-mentioned objectives?

Starting from Med-TSO’s need to widen the activities to be compliant with its Statute, the Strategic Orientation Committee and the Operational Activities Coordination Committee have identified a list of prospective flagship and qualified activities, organized as ‘core’ and ‘opportunity’, and have assessed the resources required for their implementation, taking into account that some of the activities are funded through the new EC grant. The activities labelled as ‘core’ include the ones funded by the EC, which are as follows:

  1. Improvement of the Mediterranean Transmission Network development Plan;
  2. Consolidation of common technical regulatory frameworks;
  3. Identification and operationalization of Interconnected Electricity Exchange Zone, with a view of increasing electricity exchanges;
  4. Optimized planning capacities and Operations processes;
  5. Efficient support to secretarial tasks of the UfM Regional Electricity Market Platform in close collaboration with MEDREG Association.

Other activities are labelled as ‘opportunity,’ as their implementation is subject to the availability of internal and/or third party financial resource. They include:

  1. Knowledge Sharing and Capacity building;
  2. Common trainings and workshops with regional stakeholders;
  3. Support to Members, either for specific requests or for initiatives proposed by Med-TSO;
  4. Studies and position papers on the status and needs of regulation (TSO perspective);
  5. Assessment of third-party projects.

What are the next challenges the association will have to face and how does the Action Plan 2020-25 aim to respond to these challenges?

I wish to answer by quoting the EC: “[…] energy poverty is considered as one of the root causes of migration, as it drives people to try to pursue better livelihoods elsewhere. […] The clean energy transition can be a vector of economic opportunities, job creation and a strong incentive for dynamic research and innovation. […] The region suffers from a very low degree of integration that prevents taking advantages of opportunities on domains where a global approach would bring significant benefits. Better-interconnected electricity networks embedding modern digitalization technologies, coupled with energy efficiency and increased use of untapped renewable energy sources would enhance the region’s energy diversification and resilience.”
Med-TSO Action Plan intends to give a concrete contribution to a bigger level of integration, by working on the technical and regulatory elements able to promote investments in electricity interconnections in line with the clean energy transition.

What do you think the role of Med-TSO will be in the next years?

Our ambition is to strengthen the role of Med-TSO in the region, to become a reference Association for all of the relevant issues. As a matter of fact, the EC considers Med-TSO as a kind of a “regional extension” in the Mediterranean region of the European Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E). Actually, relations between the two associations are tighter and tighter, although their organization and their mandates are not on the same level.
The challenge that Med-TSO faces in the next years is to gain, at the Mediterranean level, the same role played by ENTSO-E in all of the EU energy-related matters. This would mean that the interconnection of the grids and the electricity exchanges in the Mediterranean would become real, thus having contributed to improving the livelihoods of the inhabitants of Members’ countries.