Iberdrola: Electric vehicles and wind energy

IBERDROLA spent €136 million on R&D in 2011, 4.6% more than in 2010.Funds were used to carry out over 150 projects aimed at tackling emerging energy challenges

IBERDROLA has become a benchmark in innovation. The company has embarked on initiatives in the fields of renewable energies, smart networks, the electric vehicle and clean generation technologies.

This firm commitment has made IBERDROLA the most innovative electricity utility in Spain and the fourth in Europe according to the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard.

Last year, IBERDROLA held the second call for the Perseo Awards, which seek to promote research in energy, supporting cutting-edge projects aimed at meeting future challenges. The awards have two categories: new products for energetic efficiency and innovative biomass technologies. Wattio was the winner and the Servitel runner-up in new products for energy efficiency. Ingelia was the winner in innovation biomass technologies.

Meanwhile, in a move to underscore its commitment to management excellence, the company has expanded the scope of certification of its R&D management system under the UNE 166002 standard, which already covers its main areas: engineering, generation, renewables, grids and the corporation.

Renewable energies

In renewable energies, IBERDROLA has focused on making its various technologies more efficient and searching for new generation sources. The main initiatives include the European Twenties project, whose goal is to demonstrate that the large-scale integration of wind power into the system is possible.

Offshore wind power projects include Emerge, aimed at developing deepwater floating platform technology; Azimut, aimed at expanding on existing knowledge to optimise offshore wind farm, and EERA DTOC, for the design of tools for offshore wind turbines clusters.

In marine energy (wave and current), the IBERDROLA Group has the Ocean Lider projects, spearheaded by IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA to develop offshore generation technologies, which has already obtained interesting results in the planning and installation of offshore generation facilities and their environmental impact, and Orcadian, which focuses on the construction and deployment of second-generation wave energy converters with Pelamis technology off the coasts of Scotland.

IBERDROLA leads two wind resource projects: Avanza SoftComputing and Innpacto OpenFoam, focused on enhancing resource forecasting and analysis by optimising models and the study of wind series.

Smart grids

R&D in electricity generation has concentrated on improving the grid, especially work safety, environmental impact and supply quality indicators.

IBERDROLA is leading the way in the deployment of smart grids, carrying out projects aimed at developing a modern, remote-controlled power grid in Europe, through the Open Node, Open Meter, Address, Finseny and Grid4EU projects, and in Spain, through STAR in Castellón, the Bidelec-Sareak in Vizcaya and the Price project in Madrid.

In the US, IBERDROLA has launched the Advanced Metering Infrastructure project, which will allow 600,000 customers to be integrated within an smart grid structure. Through the ScottishPower subsidiary, the group has also begun testing smart grids in Glasgow to improve the reliability and quality of electricity supply.

Clean generation technologies

In this area, IBERDROLA’s R&D efforts are aimed at optimising operating conditions, improving safety and reducing environmental impact by means of reducing emissions or new and more efficient generation plants.

Initiatives carried out include the second part of Coeben, an initiative aimed at reducing NOx emissions at the Velilla plant; Caldere, to detect failures and assess the residual life of boiler pipes of thermal power stations; and Horex, to develop diagnostic, monitoring and repair technologies for chemical expansion in concrete reservoirs.

Electric vehicles

In 2011, IBERDROLA stepped up its commitment to the electric car throughout the value chain, entering into agreements with government authorities, automobile manufacturers and recharging system suppliers. It also participated actively in standardisation initiatives and R&D projects in Spain and abroad.

Last year, IBERDROLA became the first Spanish company to launch an electric car sharing service, under which its sales employees can use electric vehicles to make their rounds in Madrid, Bilbao, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid and Barcelona, where its offices have recharging points.

The company is also still involved in the Green Mobility Plan, Spain’s first comprehensive solution to providing citizens with real access to mobility, selling them electric vehicles, installing recharging stations, offering them financing and supply a 100% renewable power supply.