Iberdrola earmarked ?90.5 million to R&D in 2009, 23% more than in 2008

Iberdrola spent €90.5 million on R&D in 2009, 23% more than in 2008. The company earmarked this spend to over 150 projects. The company has focused its R&D effort on improving energy efficiency, quality of supply and sustainable development. Against this backdrop, Iberdrola launched a number of projects related to renewable energy sources, the electric vehicles, smart grids and carbon capture technology.

This focus on innovation, which forms part of the company’s commitment to tackling the challenges facing the energy sector and remaining at the forefront in terms of technology, earned Iberdrola several accolades in 2009.

More specifically, it is worth highlighting its designation, for the second straight year, as the most innovative Spanish utility according to the European Union’s R&D Investment Scoreboard 2009, and as the world’s most innovative utility by the Boston Consulting Group. Also, the engineering subsidiary of the Group has collected the Principe Felipe award in the category of Industrial Quality and Innovation.

In the field of generation the company focused on improving the operating conditions of its electricity plants and making them more environmentally friendly. On this front it is worth highlighting the start up of the pilot CO2 capture and storage (CCS) facility within the Longannet coal-fired power station in Scotland, the first of its kind in the UK.

This facility, owned by group subsidiary, ScottishPower, has the capacity to process 1,000m3/hr of gas emissions from the Longannet power station. At the end of last year it hit its first milestone by reducing the amount of power required to perform this process by one-third.

Elsewhere, on the distribution side of the business, in 2009 the company performed work aimed at raising service standards, safeguarding supply and promoting smart grids. Against this backdrop, Iberdrola successfully spearheaded and executed Fenix, the European research project devised to design and develop a large-scale virtual power plant, allowing the integration of generation resources distributed across the power grid.

The initiatives pursued by the company in the power distribution field positioned it as one of the world’s most innovative utilities, earning it $96 million in grants from the Obama administration for the development of smart grids in the US.

On the renewable energy front, Iberdrola earmarked most of its research effort to the development of new environmentally-friendly generation technologies. The company commissioned noteworthy facilities, such as the 2 MW Corduente biomass plant, the first of its kind in Spain, and the 50 MW solar thermal plant in Puertollano.

The company also started work on other pioneering projects such as Emerge, a ground-breaking initiative in Spain for the installation of floating offshore wind farms, and the Ocean Lider project, with the group’s engineering subsidiary running point, which was conceived with the technology and know-how necessary for the development and implementation of large-scale ocean powered renewable energy.

Focus on the large-scale rollout of the electric vehicles

In addition, the company collaborated on electric mobility R&D projects in several parts of the world. In Spain it began installation of a network of recharging stations for electric vehicles at its corporate offices, with stations located in Madrid and Bilbao that will enable the company to begin replacing its fleet with electric vehicles.

Iberdrola is also involved in Movele Plan in Madrid which comprises the installation and management of 280 electric vehicle recharging stations throughout Madrid. Together with Seat it is working on Cenit Verde, a project born with the aim of developing Spanish electric transport technology. It is also collaborating in the Merge (Mobile Energy Resources of Electricity) initiative to analyse the impact of integrating these electric cars into the power grids of today and tomorrow.

Iberdrola is also collaborating on the EPV (Electrical Powered Vehicles) project, the goal of which is to introduce electric vehicles into the urban transport mix in the Valencia region. It is also looking into joint projects with Renault and will oversee development of the infrastructure needed to recharge all the prototype electric vehicles that the various departments of the Castilla y Leon regional government intend to use.

Abroad, Iberdrola is participating in a truck electrification project the US and in a scheme to foster the widespread rollout of the electric vehicle in Glasgow, Scotland.

Iberdrola, the world’s leading wind power company, has acquired the El Andévalo (Huelva) wind farm from Gamesa (manufacturer of wind turbines). It is the largest renewable energy facility in Spain. The company has invested around €320 million in this operation, which includes the purchase of the wind farms that comprise the complex and the necessary infrastructure to transfer the electricity generated.

The acquisition of this wind facility consolidates Iberdrola as the largest wind energy development company in Spain. This acquisition takes to 5,520 MW the company’s installed capacity in Spain, This is spread between its 175 wind farms (5,126 MW in total), 135 mini-hydro power stations (342 MW), the Puertollano (Ciudad Real) solar thermal plant (50 MW) and its first forest biomass plant in Corduente in Guadalajara province (2 MW).