During 2015, IBERDROLA Distribution has continued to increase its efforts in R&D projects, related to smart grids in the Spanish and European field. The Group’s R&D activity in the Networks area focuses on optimizing the distribution grid, with an emphasis on worker safety, environmental issues, and the improvement in the quality of supply.
In Europe, IBERDROLA leads the UPGRID project, which seeks to strengthen its capacity as an active demand integrator and distributed generation of low voltage. There are ongoing projects: IGREENGrid which ends during 2016, in order to develop precise methods which allow the renewable energy sources integration into electricity distribution networks and DISCERN, ends in 2016, which compares grid intelligence solutions and seeks the most optimised set of architectures. The projects ADVANCED and GRID+ have concluded and the European Commission decided to continue this activity through the new project GRID++ (with EASE), participating through EDSO4SG. In Spain, IBERDROLA finished in 2015 PRICE project, aims to cover the needs identified for the development of an intelligent network within a framework of efficiency, safety and sustainability. In order to maintain and normaliz the airlines, IBERDROLA leads MATUSALEN project for the development of a tool which determines the voltage cables in underground lines and will finish in 2017. The next projects finish in late 2015; TABON in order to develop a verification technology and inspection lines and SILECTRIC, new insulators for overhead lines and high voltage switchgear. In United Kingdom, there are projects to promote the smart grids. Nowadays, there are three ongoing projects: ARC project aims to accelerate the renewables connection process in the distribution network, FLEXNET project, in order to develop solutions and technologies which improve and increase network capacity by 20% and VISOR project that implements a monitoring system of transmission network to know the capability and the dynamic performance during the planning and operation. It is important to mention ROAMES project, which objective is to look for optimize the use of LIDAR technology for network management and surrounding vegetation, which allows savings of 20-60% on the cost of deforestation.
In Brazil, there are ongoing innovative projects for the inspection of distribution networks like VANTS and ROBÔ; projects for the installation of underground networks in the cities, in order to reduce the impact of air lines and projects to improve protection among others. It is important to mention, ELEKTROBUS project, which aim is to develop a prototype vehicle with an electric propulsion system through ultra-capacitors.
In USA, the Integrated Aerial Damage Assessment System Project, which objective is to develop an air system in order to evaluate the damage caused by strong storms in electrical network.
In Qatar, IBERDROLA has an R&D Technology Centre for smart grids. Along with the state-owned of Qatari electricity, Kahramaa, continues the definition process and deployment of smart grid pilot project. Respect of IBERDROLA Cathedra at Salamanca University, an agreement for the exchange of teaching staff with Qatari institutions and joint collaboration in R&D projects in the region has been signed. In addition, the Company has an agreement with Qatar University and the University of Salamanca to present together R&D projects to Qatar National Research Funds (QNRF).