Iberdrola is Committed to Digitalisation and Innovation in Grids

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 4/16/2024, Location: Europe

Iberdrola, through i-DE, its distribution company in Spain, has organised the Smart Grids INNOVA Madrid 2024 conference at the Iberdrola campus in San Agustín de Guadalix. During the various sessions were attended by the company's collaborating companies and suppliers, universities, technology institutes and institutions in Madrid, which highlighted the importance of innovation as a facilitating lever for the decarbonisation of the economy.

Smart grids pave the way towards the decarbonisation and electrification of the economy, facilitating the integration of greater renewable generation, sustainable mobility and air conditioning (electric vehicles and heat pumps), smart cities and self-consumption. Thus, basic services, such as water and transport, benefit from the transformation of the electricity grid, not only to optimise their service and strengthen their commitment to the environment, but also to offer the best quality of service and information to their customers.

This reality was discussed during the Smart Grids INNOVA Madrid 2024 conference, held by i-DE, the distribution company of the Iberdrola Group in Spain. The different sessions of the conference were attended by collaborating companies and suppliers of the company, universities, technology institutes and institutions of Madrid, which highlighted the importance of innovation as a facilitating lever for decarbonising the economy.

The meeting, held at Iberdrola España's campus in San Agustín de Guadalix, addressed the key factors for electricity grids to assume their fundamental role in the energy transition, such as technology, investment and incentive regulatory frameworks.

Iberdrola España’s Institutional Delegate in the Community of Madrid Efigenio Golvano was in charge of welcoming the participants to the event. "We are called to use technology to bring all energy transition’s benefits to citizens. We are at a time of acceleration in which, more than ever, we play a decisive role", he said.

The Minister of Digitalisation of the Community of Madrid Miguel López-Valverde Argüeso then highlighted public administrations’ responsibility "in facing the enormous challenges posed by an enormously changing environment in which innovation and disruptive projects are decisive elements for well-being and economic growth". In this regard, he stressed the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors as a way of achieving a true and real digital transformation.

The Minister also reviewed the figures that place the Region of Madrid at the head of numerous economic indicators and that make it a pole of attraction for talent and investment, as well as an unbeatable showcase in which large companies and emerging entrepreneurs want to appear. Thus, for instance, the Minister recalled that 1 in 4 new jobs created so far this year originated in the region, where 1 in 3 new jobs are also dedicated to innovation and digitisation. In addition, Madrid is home to 25% of the main medium and high-tech companies.

At a table moderated by Marta Castro, Director of Regulation at Asociación de Empresas de Energía Eléctrica (Aelec), Jaime Flores, the Deputy Director of Innovación, Desarrollo e Innovación de Canal de Isabel II, pointed out that Canal de Isabel II understands the opportunity offered by innovation as a tool to provide a better service to its customers and to continue reinforcing our commitment to environmental care, especially from the energy point of view.

"Canal is the company with the largest installed capacity for electricity generation in the Community of Madrid, and we aim to produce, in 2030, enough energy to consume. Our digitalisation efforts always have this goal in mind: every process we optimise is a drop of water that is not wasted, a kilowatt that is not consumed, a gram of CO2 that is not emitted," said Flores.

Carlos Sierra, the Director of Transport Services at Empresa Municipal de Transportes (EMT) de Madrid said that "the Smart Charging implementation strategy being deployed at EMT's Carabanchel and Fuencarral operations centres is the definitive boost, from an operational point of view, to the ambitious commitment to electrifying the fleet and its infrastructures".

Madrid is the Spanish city with the largest 100% clean bus fleet and the highest number of electrified lines. Last December marked one year since the last diesel municipal buses were withdrawn from the EMT, a milestone that made Madrid the first Spanish city – and one of the first capitals in Europe – with a 100% clean bus fleet operating.

José Pablo Chaves, the Deputy Assistant Director of the Institute for Technological Research at the ICAI School of Engineering at Universidad Pontificia Comillas, spoke about the University's vision. "Sandbox projects are essential to be able to test new technologies or new concepts, such as flexible operations provided by users to networks. These projects are especially relevant in regulated businesses such as electricity grids," he said. José Pablo Chaves recalled that last year a public call was opened on these issues, but requested that it should be considered on a recurring basis and as part of the network business’ remuneration in the future to encourage innovation in the sector.

i-DE’s Central Region Director María Martínez stressed that distribution companies must respond to the challenges of electrifying the system as they are the path towards a green economy that allows further renewables’ integration, the rise of self-consumption, the development of sustainable mobility, the implementation of heat pumps and the need to provide the customer with data to have a greater ability to decide on their energy use.

Finally, Rafael García González, Deputy Minister for the Environment of the Community of Madrid, was in charge of closing the conference, "From the Community of Madrid we want to play a leading role in decarbonising our region, encouraging more sustainable and eco-friendly energy systems. To this end, we want to simplify bureaucracy, by eliminating red tape and cumbersome procedures, and providing the necessary resources to reduce response times for the implementation of projects and infrastructures that contribute to decarbonisation in the shortest possible time and to the region’s economic development", said the deputy secretary.

Demonstration projects

The company brought, from its Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub in Bilbao, a sample of the most cutting-edge technology for grid management that reduces risk for workers on-the-ground and optimises electricity grids’ maintenance.

During the conference, a demonstration was given of these innovative projects that are being developed to improve electricity grids, such as the use of satellites for vegetation management, the use of mixed reality to enhance worker safety, the application of smart sensors in infrastructures, Smart Cities planning platforms, as well as the introduction of big data for the benefit of customers.

The Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, launched by Iberdrola España in collaboration with the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, has become a hub for growth and collaboration around decarbonisation and the leading role of electricity grids. To this end, it combines its technological capacity with that of equipment and service providers, universities and start-ups from all over the world, thus setting out the electricity grid design of the future.

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