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Stefano Donnarumma at the helm of GO15

The CEO of Terna assumes the 2022 presidency of the association of the world's biggest transmission grid operators.

Stefano Donnarumma, CEO of Terna, is the new president of GO15, the global association of the world’s biggest transmission system operators (TSOs). It is the first time that the position has been held by an Italian and represents Terna’s increasingly significant role among a group of operations that manage over 50% of global electricity flows across all seven continents. Terna is one of three European players involved, along with the French and Belgian power grid operators, but the association also includes operators from the United States, Russia, China, Brazil and India, among others.

Terna CEO Stefano Donnarumma assumes the presidency of GO15 from Ahmed Ali Al-Ebrahim, CEO of the Saudi operator GCCIA, Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (photo by Terna)

Earmarked for the role since the end of 2021, Donnarumma officially assumed the position on 01 January 2022 with a clear plan of action: «Together with our members we will work to find solutions to the most critical challenges, such as grid congestion, possible electricity outages and grid resilience», he said on his appointment to the GO15 presidency. These challenges are set against the backdrop of the climate emergency and the need to increasingly integrate renewables into the electricity system.

«No-one is able to decide when it's sunny or windy», noted Donnarumma in a previous interview with Il Corriere della Sera. «So we must enable the grids to receive the energy produced from these sources and manage it in a stable and secure manner. We must provide the system with the capacity to remain balanced, to resolve bottlenecks or gaps. To do this, we require storage systems and plants, be these electrochemical such as batteries or hydroelectric pumping, that can offset variations in solar and wind production. Once we phase out coal power stations in 2025, for a certain period gas will guarantee grid stability, allowing for the supply to be modulated. But by 2050, the year of carbon neutrality, we must have sufficient storage systems».

A control centre operated by Terna, the electricity transmission grid operator (photo by Terna)

Under the presidency of Stefano Donnarumma, GO15 - founded in 2004 on Terna’s initiative - will continue to share and promote best practices while understanding that each electricity system has its own unique characteristics: the structure of the existing grid, the various generation types, the availability of primary resources and the local topography. «Sharing is fundamental for GO15 operations. We exchange information, we share technical and technological solutions. We are all aiming to find innovative solutions to resolve or prevent issues», continued Donnarumma.

The work of GO15 will also focus increasingly on sharing the best methods and tools available in order to increase the resilience of grid infrastructures in the face of extreme climatic events, which are becoming increasingly intense and frequent. In this context, Terna will bring its experience and know-how of the Italian transmission grid, which has 26 technologically advanced cross-border interconnections.

As well as being a member of the association's steering board and governing board, Terna also co-chairs the strategic work group on “Resilience, infrastructure development and interconnections”. Donnarumma succeeds Ahmed Ali Al-Ebrahim, CEO of GCCIA, the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority, which regulates the interconnection of six countries around the Persian Gulf. Al-Ebrahim assumes the role of co-vice president alongside John Bear, CEO of MISO, Midcontinent Transmission System Operator, an independent power grid operator in the United States.