ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSCompleted

Objectives of the service

In 2006 Carlo Gavazzi Space has initiated a systematic study on the potential added value of integrating different space technologies in the management of power grids. The study has been carried out in close partnership with TERNA, a major energy transmission grid operator in Italy. The concept of the "SpaceGrid" system has been elaborated, whereby Satellite Earth Observation imagery and Satellite Communications are integrated in the Power Grid Management system in order to provide an innovative tool for facing current and rapidly evolving needs of power grid managers. A core of services has been defined, focused to electricity dispatching and power grid inspection operations. The objective of the "SpaceGrid Feasibility Study" is to assess the technical feasibility and economical viability of such a core of services supported by integrated space assets and to define the roadmap to their pre-operational development and demonstration.


Users and their needs

TERNA is the target User. TERNA is a major energy transmission grid operator. The company is the primary owner of the National High Voltage Electricity Transmission Grid (NTG), with nearly 60 thousand km of lines throughout the national territory. TERNA is the first independent operator in Europe and the seventh in the world in terms of kilometres of lines managed. The company is also responsible for the transmission and dispatching of energy throughout the entire territory, and therefore for the safe management of the balance between electricity supply and demand in Italy, 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. TERNA is an outstanding Italian company with over 3500 employees that are daily involved in guaranteeing the electricity system's safety throughout the national territory. The Company manages grid planning, development and maintenance by providing know-how and technology in order to improve grid efficiency.


Service/ system concept

The first phase of the project aims at defining a service concept customized to meet the specific requirements of power grid operators. TERNA work procedures and operational workflows are being studied and analyzed during this current study to identify the correct interfaces for SpaceGrid services. This task is meant to facilitate the smooth transition to operational use of the SpaceGrid services once these services will have been validated in an completed ARTES 20 Demonstration Project (SpaceGrid phase 2).


Space Added Value

Added values of satellite based communications in  the grid management are:

  1. Rapid deployment of communication links for new plants (mainly renewable energy plants)
  2. Ability to reach remote sites
  3. Availability in emergency conditions

Added values of satellite Earth Observation data in the grid management are: 

  1. Ability to inspect remote and/or unreachable sites of the grid infrastructure 
  2. systematic, highly repeatable and synoptic measurements
  3. Non invasive inspection of the territory where the grid is located 
  4. Independency of the measurement of meteorological  parameters affecting renewable energy production (solar, wind, water) 
  5. Availability of historical data archive


Current Status

The first phase has been successfully completed in October 2010. The SPACEGRID prototype system has been designed, following the positive results of the Cost/Benefit analysis made by TERNA. The proposal for the implementation and demonstration of the SPACEGRID prototype system in the next phase of the project (Spacegrid phase 2) has been outlined.

Status Date

Updated: 10 November 2010