Iberdrola teams up with Minsait to detect fires in the vicinity of power lines

Iberdrola, through i-DE’s Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub (GSGIH), and Minsait are joining forces to fight fires. The Indra subsidiary is developing a solution that will enable the early detection of fires in the vicinity of power lines and alert i-DE’s Distribution Operation Centres, which will send the alarm to the Fire Brigade. To do this, it will use an algorithm capable of interpreting images from cameras installed on electricity pylons. 

The fight against deforestation and the conservation of natural areas is one of the objectives of Iberdrola, which is seeking solutions that enable the early detection of fires to reduce the environmental impact and the impact on electricity supply. With this initiative, it will implement preventive actions to minimise the impact on customers and disconnect the lines in the area to avoid greater damage. In addition, this project provides critical information to environmental agencies to identify the origin of the fire.

The collaboration between Iberdrola and Minsait is part of the company’s PERSEO start-up programme, which aims to facilitate access to the technologies of the future while fostering the development of a global ecosystem of start-ups in the electricity sector with a focus on sustainability. 

i-DE’s GSGIH set a challenge earlier this year to find solutions for early detection of fires in protected areas close to power lines, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact, the extent of the fire and minimising the impact on the continuity of supply to customers

Leading smart grids

Iberdrola has more than 1.2 million kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Spain. This network consists of more than 4,500 high to medium voltage substations and more than 1.6 million medium to low voltage distribution transformers, built and operated to provide a high quality and reliable service to more than 32 million electricity supply points.

In Spain alone, electricity lines cross 19,314 kilometres of protected areas, and there are 144 substations, 8,793 transformer stations, 31 reservoirs, and 14 wind farms in these types of locations. The areas where Iberdrola carries out its activities serve as habitats for a variety of wild flora and fauna that, in some cases, are even under some type of protection (biosphere reserves, natural parks).

Iberdrola’s commitment to the protection and conservation of natural areas is carried out in accordance with the principles established in its biodiversity policy, through its environmental management, action plans, and monitoring of restored and compensated habitats in accordance with the principle of positive conservation.

Perseo, an example of commitment to start-ups

Since its creation in 2008, PERSEO has invested more than 100 million euros 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.

The programme has focused its activities on analysing business opportunities and technological collaboration with start-ups and emerging companies around the world, analysing 300 companies each year and creating an ecosystem of almost 7,000 entrepreneurial companies. This investment instrument currently holds a portfolio of eight companies.

Through PERSEO, Iberdrola carries out more than 25 real tests of technologies per year, which serve as a first step towards establishing a commercial relationship or partnership with start-ups. In addition, in the last two years the group has launched a total of fourteen challenges in which 700 start-ups have participated. In the case of initiatives related to grids, these are carried out in collaboration with the GSGIH, a global benchmark in smart grids, based on open collaboration and co-working between i-DE technicians, suppliers, start-ups and different organisations from all over the world.

Beyond the financial contribution, PERSEO’s support to these companies has been key in defining their product and business, offering them its knowledge and access to Iberdrola’s market. On the other hand, the work carried out with the start-ups has served Iberdrola as a technological antenna to find out where their sector is heading.