In 2010, IBERDROLA invested EURO 130 million in the area of Research, Development and Innovation (R+D+innovation), a 44% increase on the previous year. The company allocated this investment to over 150 projects, with the overarching aim of meeting the new challenges faced in the energy sector.
IBERDROLA has become a benchmark in the field of innovation. Among other reasons, this is due to the increase in resources allocated to this area, following the strong process of internationalisation in recent years and the commencement of far-reaching energy projects.
For example, the company has set up initiatives linked to electric mobility, renewable energies, clean generation technologies, smart grids and energy storage systems.
In 2010, the company intensified its technological support for the various needs linked to electric vehicles, launching the IBERDROLA Green Mobility Plan, a comprehensive solution that for the first time in Spain offers customers the electric vehicle purchase, the installation of the charging point, finance for the transaction and a 100% renewable power supply.
The Group has projects of this kind underway in Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. In the former, it has entered into agreements with companies like FCC to promote electric fleets and deploy charging points and it is collaborating with public administrations such as Castile and Léon, the Basque Country, Murcia or Madrid to promote the progressive roll-out of these cars.
In the United States and the United Kingdom it has two projects underway, via IBERDROLA U.S.A. and ScottishPower, respectively, to develop the charging infrastructure that is necessary for the use of electric vehicles. These initiatives go hand-in-hand with the company's participation in various international working groups focused on charging standardisation.
At the forefront in carbon capture and storage
The company's efforts in the area of generation have focused on improving operating conditions at power plants, reducing their possible environmental impact and improving safety standards. In this regard, some of the initiatives that have been set up are linked to carbon capture, such as the Cenit Vida project researching new techniques for trapping the gas, or Sost-CO2, which aims to go beyond trapping carbon dioxide and is working on new ways to use it on a massive scale.
On the other hand, in the area of distribution, the company has set up initiatives in the area of smart grids with a view to achieving infrastructure that is capable of enhancing quality of supply, reducing the number of exceptions and encouraging customer participation. Projects in this area are underway in Castellón, Maine and Glasgow.
The most important initiative carried out by the company in the area of energy storage is what is known as the CAES (Compressed Air Energy Storage) in the state of New York. This project consists of using a compressor to store air in a cavern during off-peak periods and releasing it at peak load times to generate electricity.
In the field of renewable energies, IBERDROLA has dedicated its main efforts towards work on developing new environmentally friendly generation technologies, particularly off shore wind farms. Via its renewables subsidiary, the company is a participant in the Emerge project, which aims to install floating wind farms deep down under the sea, with an installed power of around 5 megawatts (MW).
IBERDROLA, together with Vattenfall, has been awarded the concession to build one of the world's largest off-shore wind farms in the United Kingdom. It will be called the East Anglia Array and will be built in the North Sea. Its installed power will be up to 7,200 MW and work may start on the project in 2015.
Finally, IBERDROLA organised the first edition of the Perseo Awards last year, with the aim of promoting research in the energy sector by supporting pioneering initiatives that can meet the challenges faced in this area in future.
These awards are part of the Perseo initiative, a venture capital fund dedicated to investing in innovative technologies for renewable electricity generation and reducing the environmental impact of existing production systems. Perseo has an annual budget of EURO 6 million and the aim of ensuring IBERDROLA's involvement in the technologies of the future.
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