Iberdrola invested €337.5 million in Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I) activities in 2021. This amount represents an increase of 51% compared to the previous year, when the figure stood at €293 million.
These resources have been allocated primarily to projects related to renewable energy, smart grids, digital transformation, green hydrogen and the development of customised solutions for our customers.
As a result, the electricity company’s accumulated investment in R&D&I over the last decade exceeds €2 billion.
This commitment to innovation has positioned the group chaired by Ignacio Sánchez Galán as the world’s most invested private utility, according to data from the report ‘The 2021 Industrial Investment Scoreboard’ prepared by the European Commission.
Leading innovation for the energy transition
Specifically, Iberdrola has continued to make progress in the implementation of smart grids and in the digitalisation of the system. Iberdrola has developed the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, a global innovation and knowledge centre that aims to be a global benchmark in smart grids and responds to the challenges of the energy transition. The centre acts as a driving force for innovation, combining the company’s technological capacity with that of its collaborators: suppliers, universities, technology centres and start-ups. It will also serve to attract strategic suppliers and international talent, thus strengthening the business ecosystem.
The company has already identified more than 120 projects for future development worth €110 million and has reached agreements with 30 technology partners for the development of grid digitalisation solutions, integration of renewables, deployment of electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
The company has also inaugurated the Iberdrola Innovation and Training Campus, a 180,000 m2 complex with state-of-the-art facilities in San Agustín de Guadalix (Madrid), which is the company’s global centre for knowledge, innovation and employability. With close to 13,000 people receiving training in its classrooms every year, it represents Iberdrola’s commitment to technology, R&D and collaboration with technology centres as levers to lead the energy transition, the green recovery of the economy and employment, and the employability of young and senior professionals in sectors of the future.
Another of the initiatives being undertaken by the company is the construction of the largest green hydrogen plant for industrial use in Europe. The Puertollano (Ciudad Real) plant will comprise a 100 MW solar photovoltaic plant, a lithium-ion battery system with a storage capacity of 20 MWh and one of the largest hydrogen production systems for electrolysis in the world (20 MW). All from 100% renewable sources. In addition, the first phase of the new Barcelona hydrogen plant is now in commercial operation, which will enable up to 60 TMB buses to be supplied with hydrogen by 2030.
Artificial Intelligence for a 360-degree business view
Iberdrola is leading a tractor project in Artificial Intelligence, which has been awarded the European Union’s Next Generation Funds. Its objective is to develop advanced technologies that extend the useful life of renewable generation facilities, increase the efficiency, flexibility and sustainability of electricity grids and enable a new framework to accelerate prosumers’ participation in the energy market.
With a total budget of €16.2 million, it is the only proposal for the energy sector approved in the framework of the call “R&D&I Missions in AI” of the Spanish Government’s Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence and foresees the creation of more than 30 jobs in the coming years.
The consortium led by Iberdrola has the participation of technology partner Indra and nine start-ups: Ariadna, Balantia, Baobab, Barbara IoT, eProgram, Flexidao, Rated Power, Singlair and Stemy. It also collaborates with seven research centres and universities: Tecnalia, BCAM, Granada University, Polytechnic University of Madrid, University of Salamanca, Vicomtech, and the Institute of Knowledge Engineering.
Iberdrola, with energy start-ups
Part of the investment is also channelled through the Iberdrola PERSEO international start-up programme, which aims to facilitate the group’s access to the technologies of the future and foster the creation and development of a global and dynamic ecosystem of technology companies and entrepreneurs in the electricity sector.
Since its creation in 2008, PERSEO has invested more than €85 million in start-ups that develop innovative technologies and business models, focusing on those that improve the sustainability of the energy sector through further electrification and decarbonisation of the economy.