Iberdrola invested €136 million in the field of Research, Development and Innovation (R&D) in 2011, a 4.6% increase on the previous financial year.
The Company has become a benchmark in the area of innovation, having set up over 150 initiatives linked to renewable energies, smart grids, electric vehicles or green generation technologies.
Thanks to this decisive and firm commitment, it has become the most innovative Spanish utility and fourth in Europe, according to the R&D Scoreboard drawn up by the European Commission.
In 2011, Iberdrola maintained its efforts towards promoting innovation in the energy sector and held the second edition of the Perseo Awards, which support cutting-edge projects that may provide answers to the challenges we will be facing in the future. The Company established two categories in these awards: new products for energy efficiency, in which the winner was the Wattio company and the runners-up prize went to the Servitel group, and innovative biomass technologies, in which the winner was Ingelia.
Moreover, with a view to ratifying its commitment to excellence in management, the Group has extended the certification perimeter of its R&D Management System according to the UNE 166.002 standard, which already covers the Company's main divisions: engineering, generation, renewable energies, grids and the corporation.
In this field, Iberdrola has focused on improving the efficiency of the various technologies and seeking new generation sources.
For example, in the offshore wind power sector, the highlights are the initiatives Emerge (to develop technology for floating platforms in deep waters), Azimut (extending technical knowledge for optimising the development of marine wind farms) and EERA DTOC (designing tools for large-scale offshore installations).
In the marine energies sector (waves and currents), the Group's portfolio includes the Ocean Leader project, which aims to promote marine generation technologies and has obtained very interesting results in relation to the planning and installation of offshore generation equipment and the associated environmental impact, and the Orcadian project, which focuses on the construction and roll-out of the second generation of wave converters with Pelamis technology on the Scottish coast.
The Company's R&D activity in the field of electricity distribution has focused on overhauling the grid, particularly regarding occupational safety, the environment and quality of supply levels.
The Company is doing ground-breaking work in the roll-out of smart grids, having carried out projects to deploy a modern electricity grid based on remote management, both at European level (Open Node, Open Meter, Address, Finseny and Grid4EU initiatives) and in Spain, where it has carried out the STAR project in Castellón, the Bidelec-Sareak project in Biscay and the Price project in Madrid.
In the United States, Iberdrola has rolled out the Advanced Metering Infrastructure plan, which will allow to integrate 600,000 customers in a smart grid infrastructure. Via its subsidiary ScottishPower, the Group has also launched a trial project for smart grid in Glasgow with a view to enhancing the reliability and quality of the electricity supply.
Clean generation technologies
Iberdrola's R&D efforts in the area of generation aim to optimise operating conditions, enhance safety levels and reduce the environmental impact, by reducing emissions and commissioning new, more efficient generation plants.
Some of the initiatives carried out by the Company include the second part of the Coeben project, to bring down the NOx levels at Velilla thermal power plant; the Caldere project, to detect faults and assess the remaining useful life of boiler pipes at thermal power plants; and the Horex, to develop methodologies for diagnosing, monitoring and treating the phenomenon of the chemical expansion of concrete in dams.
In 2011, Iberdrola intensified its commitment to electric vehicles, at every stage in the value chain, by entering into agreements with Public Administrations, the main vehicle manufacturers and suppliers of charging systems, and by playing an active role in standardisation groups and R&D projects, both in Spain and abroad.
Last year, the Company became the first Spanish company to launch a car-sharing scheme using electric vehicles, meaning that its employees can avail of electric vehicles for commercial transactions in Madrid, Bilbao, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid and Barcelona, where the Group's offices are equipped with charging points for this type of vehicles.
The Company is also continuing its Green Mobility plan, the first comprehensive solution in Spain to promote public access to electric mobility, by offering customers the vehicle for purchase, installing the charging point, providing finance for the transaction and supplying a 100% renewable energy supply.
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