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Terna Invests €50 Million in Innovative Startups and SMEs

Terna Forward’s objective is to identify new technological opportunities and transfer them to the other companies of the Group. Furthermore, the company, strong in its skills in the electricity sector, intends to create and act as an incubator for innovative projects, capable of contributing to the development and dissemination of renewable sources, by virtue of Terna’s role of director and enabler in the energy transition.

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Terna enters corporate venture capital. The company that manages the national electricity grid has, in fact, set up Terna Forward, a vehicle dedicated to investments in startups and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises, with an initial availability of €50 million. The company, led by CEO Stefano Donnarumma, focuses on open innovation and looks to the world of innovation, in the year which, in all probability, should mark a new record for investments in startups.

“Innovation is a strategic driver of our activities,” commented Massimiliano Garri, director of Terna’s Innovation and Market Solutions. “With Terna Forward, we have decided to devote specific attention and resources to the most advanced digitization technologies, opening ourselves up to collaborations with other companies and investing in those with high growth potential.”

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Terna’s role in the energy transition

Terna Forward’s objective is to identify new technological opportunities and transfer them to the other companies of the Group. Furthermore, the company, strong in its skills in the electricity sector, intends to create and act as an incubator for innovative projects, capable of contributing to the development and dissemination of renewable sources, by virtue of Terna’s role of director and enabler in the energy transition.

“New technologies will play a key role in enabling the energy transition for the benefit of the entire electricity system. In this context”, Garri points out, “Terna has planned approximately €1.2 billion of investments, of the total €10 billion of the update of the 2021-2025 Business Plan, dedicated to digitization and innovation.”

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To date, the structure created by Terna for innovation is developing around 70 projects. The group has oriented the management of its portfolio according to a progressive investment approach, based on the level of maturity of the technologies. In this context, Terna Forward will have the task of promoting and supporting the most ambitious companies with high innovative potential.

Which areas does Terna Forward look at

The new company is looking at various fields of application and development. First, the use of mechatronics, i.e. the use of robots, drones, and exoskeletons, by startups will be evaluated. Particular attention is also paid to the use of strategic technologies with the best growth potential. Terna Forward will also focus on the development and testing of solutions capable of improving the working conditions of its technical personnel.

The criteria adopted by the newly formed corporate venture capital firm vary according to the time perspective. In the short term, Terna Forward aims to start a collaboration to start the first laboratory experiments and test the prototypes created on various case studies. This first trend includes the use of robots for activities on lines and pylons, the use of exoskeletons on site and in the field, and the use of drones to carry out inspections of electrical substations. From a long-term perspective, these technologies should then be applied to the national electricity grid. Translated, it means taking advantage of the solutions developed on approximately 75,000 kilometers of lines and 900 electricity stations throughout Italy.

The purpose of Terna Forward is therefore to identify the most promising realities that offer the technologies with the greatest impact to achieve the objectives of the energy transition and invest directly in their development and skills.

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(Featured image by PIRO4D via Pixabay)

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First published in StartupItaliaa third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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J. Frank Sigerson is a business and financial journalist primarily covering crypto, cannabis, crowdfunding, technology, and marketing. He also writes about the movers and shakers in the stock market, especially in biotech, healthcare, mining, and blockchain. In the past, he has shared his thoughts on IT and design, social media, pop culture, food and wine, TV, film, and music. His works have been published in Investing.com, Equities.com, Seeking Alpha, Mogul, Small Cap Network, CNN, Technology.org, among others.