As the distribution grid operator for all of Ticino, Azienda Elettrica Ticinese (AET) is the first point of contact for all electricity matters. AET was founded in 1958. It currently owns, maintains and operates six hydroelectric power plants as well as numerous photovoltaic plants in Ticino.
Swissgrid and AET do not just jointly implement grid construction projects in Ticino; AET is also a supplier of ancillary services and works together with Swissgrid as part of operational planning, as a balance group for schedule management, as well as during operations and grid interventions.
Of particular topical relevance is the cooperation between Swissgrid and AET as part of the expansion of the power line between Airolo and Lavorgo from 220kV to 380kV. This expansion to enable the completion of the 380kV grid is of high strategic importance at a national and international level. The new line will supplement the important east-west axis between Chamoson (VS) and Lavorgo, create a transport route for the hydropower generated in the Maggia Valley and increase security of supply in Ticino. The north-south transfer capacity will also be expanded.
Besides the grid construction projects in Ticino, Swissgrid is also responsible for maintaining the transmission grid in the region. From quality management through to planning, coordination and monitoring the assignment of service providers with the introduction of appropriate safety measures, local teams ensure that power flows now and in the future. To ensure the flexible, efficient and sustainable management of all grid systems, Swissgrid has established various regional support points throughout Switzerland. One of these is located in Ticino and benefits from the good understanding between AET and Swissgrid.
Besides the transmission of energy, Swissgrid also provides additional services that are extremely important for the supply of electricity: these include ancillary services, whose largest cost block is the procurement of control power.
Swissgrid's objective was to reduce the costs of control power. To achieve this, it established a market from which the required control power could be procured. Swissgrid utilised a range of levers to significantly reduce the price of these ancillary services, including adjustments to the product portfolio, opening the market to international participants and introducing control power pools.