North Africa


As mentioned, Terna does not currently have any investment activities in North Africa, but only development activities.

In developing projects for connection with North African countries, Terna favours projects to produce and transport electricity with particular regard to renewable sources which bring environmental benefits and increase the security of investments by safeguarding their risk profile.

This development strategy will be achieved by integrating the Euro-Mediterranean electricity grid, in order to:

  • optimise and progressively share primary generation resources (conventional and renewable) existing in the area;
  • exploit the availability of renewable energy sources located on the southern shore of the Mediterranean and connect them with the outlet markets;
  • promote the construction of electrical infrastructure on the Southern shore, needed to activate international energy exchanges along the South-south and South-north axis.

This approach translates into a Euro-Mediterranean multilateral cooperation project, involving:

  • the construction of an electrical corridor between the Maghreb and Europe, through projects relating to the interconnection with Tunisia and Algeria;
  • participation in cooperation, institutional and industrial initiatives. 

The interconnection projects currently under development are:

Project Elmed: This is an integrated production and transmission project based on market procedures involving the production of electricity in Tunisia and its export to Italy under an intergovernmental agreement that provides institutional coverage for the industrial initiative. Terna and the Tunisian national electricity company STEG have signed a partnership agreement to carry out the project and have set up a mixed company (Elmed Études) tasked with assisting the Tunisian Ministry in managing the tender procedure for the allocation of production rights in Tunisia, and export to Italy.  Elmed Études has already carried out the technical studies (an analysis of the Tunisian network in order to support the impact of Project Elmed) and regulatory studies (the regulatory framework needed for the project's implementation).

The project is not yet operational, as the institutional agreements between the governments of Italy and Tunisia have yet to be confirmed. The original project provides for:

  • a mix of production from renewable sources (minimum 100 MW) and conventional sources in Tunisia of 1,200 MW, of which 400 will be allocated to the Tunisian market and 800 will be exported to Italy by the company awarded the Tunisian production rights, to be selected through an international tender launched by the Tunisian government;
  • an interconnection between Italy and Tunisia via an underwater line constructed and managed by a mixed company (Terna - STEG) controlled by Terna; the transport capacity will be 1,000 MW.

Interconnection between Italy and Algeria: with a view to connecting the electricity systems of Algeria and Italy, and the systems in the Maghreb and Europe in general, Terna and Sonelgaz signed an agreement in March 2011 in order to update and implement a previous feasibility study relating to the underwater link between Algeria and Italy completed in 2004 by the national transmission grid operator at the time and Sonelgaz, and the definition of the technical, financial, industrial, institutional and regulatory conditions needed for its realisation.  The activities will be completed by the end of 2013.

The other cooperative initiatives include:

Paving the Way for the Mediterranean Solar Plan: this is a European Commission project to implement and develop the Mediterranean Solar Plan, which Terna is working on as part of a consortium with RTE (France), Sonelgaz (Algeria), MVV Decon (Germany) and with ENEA.

The project involves technical services for nine beneficiary countries in the MENA (Middle East – North Africa) area, in order to define a legal and regulatory framework that will encourage the production of energy from renewable sources on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, and the integration of electricity systems on both sides.

The consortium works closely with the institutions in the beneficiary countries, transferring knowledge and know-how.  Terna's contribution is focused on assessing the production and transmission systems in the countries involved, formulating proposals for the development of renewable-source electricity exchanges, and on defining a regulatory framework, harmonised at the Mediterranean level, that will encourage the integration of regional electrical systems.  The project will be completed by the end of summer 2013.

Medgrid: this is a private French-law company involved in promoting a Euro-Mediterranean electricity grid for the transmission of renewable-source electricity between MENA countries, and transporting it to Europe.

Desertec: this German-led industrial initiative has the aim of promoting Europe-Mediterranean cooperation in the field of electricity production, mainly from renewable resources, in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) and exporting it to Europe. 

Med-TSO: Terna for an integrated Euro-Mediterranean power grid



Med-TSO is the Mediterranean Association of Electricity Operators, formed on 19 April 2012 in Rome, in order to create a special form of cooperation between the TSOs with the aim of integrating electricity systems in the Mediterranean.  It includes 17 TSOs from 15 countries in the Mediterranean.

Apart from the Assembly, the organisation of the Med-TSO includes an Executive Council composed of the Chairman (Sonelgaz - Algeria), the Vice-Chairmen (TEIAS – Turkey and RTE - France), and the Secretary-General (Terna - Italy). The Secretary-General has the task of directing the Association's operational structure according to guidelines received from the General Assembly and Executive Council.

The first task given to Med-TSO by the European Commission is to prepare the Master Plan for Mediterranean Interconnections which includes internal reinforcements on the networks of the countries involved.  The results will be presented at the end of 2013, at the Meeting of Energy Ministers from the EU and the rest of the Mediterranean. 

The tools used by Med-TSO include the studies carried out by its members, and the transfer of know-how and experience.  In this sense, cooperation with international institutions – the European Commission, Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, ENTSO-E (the Association of European TSOs), MEDREG (the Association of Mediterranean electricity and gas regulators), is a fundamental part of promoting coordinated actions with a multilateral approach.  Together with international financial institutions, the above bodies have stated their willingness to support Med-TSO in order to create greater synergies to meet European-Mediterranean energy objectives, with particular regard to the development and integration of national identity systems focusing on the promotion of renewable resources and the harmonisation of regulatory frameworks.

Networks and rules are essential components in the coordinated development of the Mediterranean's electricity systems, a fundamental objective of Med-TSO, and are also essential to activate investments in the area.