Designing a compact underground electrical substation

What is the open innovation challenge?

UNARETI (an A2A Company) is seeking new designs to develop compact underground electrical substations for urban areas.

They are the second largest Distribution System Operator in Italy and are in charge of development and maintenance of the electricity grid in areas of northern Italy - mainly Milan, Brescia, and Cremona. UNARETI provide electricity and gas services from the national transmission system operator to the final consumers, with around 2 million points of delivery. They have more than 20,000 km of underground and overhead networks.

Existing electrical substations are usually placed in large indoor spaces inside buildings or below the ground with access through manholes or trapdoors.

However, new connections that require retrofitting or revamping of existing substations cannot always be achieved in the same location. This is due to urban constraints in deploying new cables or to limited power capacity available at switchgears. Finding locations for a new secondary substation is difficult and demanding in time.

UNARETI are looking for innovative solutions to develop a compact underground substation with specific size restrictions, no indoor space, and a single point of access above the surface.

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the submission by the Seeker.


Submissions to this challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on November 20, 2020.

Next steps

Find out more on the Innocentive website