The share of distributed energy resources in the energy system is growing. Therefore, also those power generating plants must contribute to the stability of the grid. In order to make that contribution power generating plants must be equipped with a Power Plant Controller to monitor the local grid parameters and control accordingly. 

To align with European Regulations, in particular EU Regulation 2016/631 (Requirements for Generators – RfG), Italy has adapted the regulation CEI 0-16 applicable for active and passive users connected to the distribution system. Annex O of this regulation introduces a Power Plant Controller (PPC or CCI – Controllore Centrale di Impianto in Italian) which has to be installed in every power generating plant connected to the Italian medium voltage grid with a nominal power equal to or greater than 1 MW.  

Required main features of the PPC  

 The PPC must fulfill these main features: 

  • Mandatory- Monitoring function: the PPC must be able to monitor electrical parameters at the grid connection point and communicate them to the distribution system operator (DSO) via the IEC 61850 protocol  
  • Optional - Control function: if required by the DSO, the PPC must control active and reactive power injection at the grid connection point 
  • Optional - Dispatching services and plant optimization: the PPC must enable functions that the power generating plant can participate in the dispatching service markets and fulfill the plant operators' optimization needs 

The following data must be collected by the PPC and transmitted to the grid operator: 

  • P, Q, V and optionally I at the grid connection point 
  • Status of the DG (general protection device) and DDG (unit protection device) 
  • Power of the individual inverters (must only be transmitted if they have a rated power greater than 170 kW)  

New and existing power generating plants

The installation of a PPC refers to all power generating plants – both existing and new. Existing and new power generating plants are defined by the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy Networks and Environment (ARERA) regulation 540/2021/R/eel as: 

  • existing power generating plants: commissioned by 30 November 2022. 
  • new power generating plants: commissioned after 1 December 2022. 

According to the regulation 540/2021/R/eel, the distributors have sent a notification to plant owners to inform them about the necessary adaptations for existing power generating plants until May 31, 2022. The distribution companies are also required to send an updated operating regulation (Regolamento de esercizio) by September 30, 2022. 

Financial bonus and compliance to the norm 

For existing plants, the plant owner will benefit from a financial bonus  depending on when the plant is compliant with the regulation. To indicate compliance, an adjustment notice needs to be sent to the distributor. 

  • 10.000 €, if the adjustment notice is sent by 31 March 2023  
  • 7.500 €, if the adjustment notice is sent between 1 April 2023 and 30 June 2023 
  • 5.000 €, if the adjustment notice is sent between 1 July 2023 and 30 September 2023  
  • 2.500 €, if the adjustment notice is sent between 1 October 2023 and 31 January 2024

After informing that the plant is compliant to the CEI 0-16 norm, the distributor will perform remote tests or sample inspections to verify if the installation is compliant within two months. These tests include the correct installation of the device and the functioning of the data exchange. 

In case of a negative outcome, the distribution company will notify the plant owner, giving listing of the necessary corrective actions and providing a deadline of at least two months for their implementation. 

In case of a positive outcome, the plant owner receives the bonus payment from their respective DSO, provided by CSEA (Fund for Energy and Environmental Services) accordingly to the date the compliance was communicated. 

meteocontrol´s turnkey solution: Our proven Power Plant Controller (PPC)

meteocontrol provides a holistic solution, including the PPC and all services to align your plant with the regulations and get your plants successfully connected to the Italian grid. 

Included services: 

  • design and project coordination including single line diagram and related documentation within the planning phase 
  • project-specific tuning of the controller to adapt to the dynamic requirements 
  • documented parametrization and on-site commissioning of the system to get the plant connected to the grid 
  • testing with the DSO 

Main features of the PPC

  • Communication gateway incl. standard protocols such as IEC 61850 and IEC 60870-5-104 
  • Power analyzer to measure the grid parameters at the point of connection 
  • Precise control of active and reactive power at the grid connection point 
  • Monitoring of all devices connected to the PPC - manufacturer independent 
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for 1h 

Additional CEI 0-16:2022-03 requirements

  • Cyber security in compliance with IEC 62443-4-1 /2 
  • Safe communication based on secure profile defined by IEC 62351-3 
  • Cryptographic module according to FIPS 140-2 
  • Tested for the safety requirements of IEC 61010-1 and IEC 61010-2-201 
  • Conformity to IEC 61557-12