Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub


Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub: we lead innovation in smart grids

Iberdrola has created the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, a global innovation and knowledge centre that aims to be a world reference in smart grids and will enable it to respond to the challenges of the energy transition. The centre acts as a driving platform for innovation, combining the company's technological capacity with that of collaborators: suppliers, universities, technology centres and startups. It will also attract strategic suppliers and international talent, thereby strengthening the business ecosystem.

The hub was launched in October 2021 in the presence of the chairman of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, and the Deputy General of Bizkaia, Unai Rementeria. Galán explained that "we understood before anyone else that our commitment to decarbonisation could only be successful if we digitalised the electricity grids", and recalled that half of the €150 bn in the company's investment plan to 2030 is earmarked for networks.

Likewise, King Felipe VI met in November with the companies collaborating in the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, accompanied by the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu; the Vice-President of the Government, Nadia Calviño; the Deputy General of Bizkaia, Unai Rementeria; the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mª Aburto; and Ignacio Galán. The King was interested in the different projects and, specifically, in the development of smart grids, their sustainability, efficiency and how they will affect the quality of services. The chairman of Iberdrola stressed the importance of entrepreneurship and investment to convey a message of commitment and trust to society.


Iberdrola intends to remain at the forefront of the energy transition by developing new business and technological models in distribution networks. With the creation of the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, the group aims to double the number of smart grid innovation projects, consolidating and expanding the current successful collaboration model with electrical equipment manufacturers.

The company has already identified more than 120 projects for future development with a value of 110 million euros and has reached agreements with 30 technology partners to develop grid digitalisation solutions, integrate renewables and boost the deployment of electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

The lines of work, which are international in scope, will enable the development and deployment of innovative solutions for the activity of Iberdrola Networks throughout the world. The hub focuses its activities on countries in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

The initiative brings together the innovative potential of more than 200 professionals in undertaking R&D&i projects related to the challenges of the electricity networks of the future, including greater digitalisation, the processing of the data generated by this infrastructure and the response, in terms of robustness and flexibility, of the electricity grid to new models of consumption, such as electric mobility and self-consumption.

In addition, the centre has been established as a market-oriented technological collaboration space, where the best international talent will always be in contact with suppliers, startups and universities to stimulate their industrial capacity and accelerate innovation processes.

It is also connected to the Biscay Startup Bay strategy, as it will also become a scaleup for startups in the energy sector that will set up in the Torre Bizkaia.

The innovation hub covers over 1,000 m2 at Iberdrola's Network headquarters in Larraskitu (Biscay). 

It has the support of the Regional Government of Biscay, which will facilitate the interaction with a dynamic, totally innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub: world centre for smart grid innovation.
Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub: world centre for smart grid innovation.


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Its objectives include:

​​  Develop the next generation of smart grids, with special attention to distribution system operators (DSOs), in order to take advantage of Iberdrola's capabilities and expert knowledge in this field, which can serve as a reference for the different actors: suppliers, customers, regulators, etc.

 Establish a state-of-the-art technology centre in electricity distribution, partnering with relevant new and established actors.

 Create solid business proposals for the opportunities (and obligations) generated by smart grids for Iberdrola and its partners.

 Facilitate the implementation of new technological solutions to improve customer relations through user empowerment, new commercial proposals, customer interactions, user satisfaction, etc.

 Reduce operating costs by applying new technologies and solutions in the distribution network: more automation, remote control, digitalisation of the transformation centres, Internet of things, machine learning, from meter to cash, etc.

 Enable a more effective and early response to forthcoming legislative requirements and incentives in each of the locations where Iberdrola operates: United Kingdom, United States, Brazil and Spain.

 Maximise the potential of smart grids as a vehicle for job creation External link, opens in new window. and generation of a positive impact.

 Develop a place of open collaboration, coworking and development solutions in partnership with manufacturers and startups.

 Promote development and training in disruptive technologies in the energy sector.

 Reinforce the innovation leadership of i-DE External link, opens in new window., promoting its alliance with the wider local industrial fabric, to allow for efficiency of costs and processes.

 Make the innovative efforts of Iberdrola and the Provincial Council of Biscay visible, positioning Bilbao and Biscay at the forefront of technological development.


One of the main features of this new hub is the collaboration with startups from around the world. Amongst other initiatives, the company has already launched various challenges aimed at finding innovative solutions related to the area of networks.

    Anti-collision elements on overhead lines

    Anti-collision elements on overhead lines

    This challenge seeks innovative solutions to avoid collisions of avifauna on overhead distribution lines.

    Non-technical power losses from the electricity system.

    Non-technical power losses from the electricity system

    The objective of this challenge is to find competitive and innovative solutions to reduce non-technical losses from the distribution network. 

    Synchronism in Distribution Grids.

    Synchronism in Distribution Grids

    The Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub has added UK startup Smart Power Networks (SMPnet) to its network of international partners after winning the Synchronism in Distribution Grids Challenge. 

    Inspection of critical systems at substations.

    Inspection of critical systems at substations

    The Polish startup Smart PD was the winner of this challenge, which aims to find simple and low-cost solutions that make it possible to identify anomalies during cell assembly work in medium and high voltage substations. 



The activity of the centre will be structured around three main areas:

 Technological activity

This is the main one, defined and led by Iberdrola to strengthen its current and future knowledge and positioning in smart grids. Four strategic lines stand out within this activity


Customer service

Customer service

Projects related to customer orientation.

  • Advice on issues related to tariffs, self-consumption, DER, electric vehicle,, etc.
  • Interaction with the network: new developments that give the client the opportunity to interact with the network more (connection/disconnection of homes, In-Home Display, virtual assistants, etc.)

Distribution system operator (DSO)

Distribution system operator (DSO)

  • Flexibility: projects that do not apply traditional network criteria (too conservative in terms of available capacity) and can provide the network with flexibility so that it can be operated efficiently in all scenarios and is not be as static as it has traditionally been.
  • Regulation: impact, analysis and orientation towards possible regulatory mechanisms regarding climate change, electric vehicle, energy storage and losses.

New technologies

New technologies

Smart grids

Smart grids

  • Infrastructure: Telecommunications and Telecontrol.
  • Digitization of network assets: developments on assets to have a more flexible and automated network with a higher level of monitoring.
  • System renovation and integration of new functionalities to plan, operate and maintain the distribution network.

 Non-technological activity

To make the most of the local ecosystem and take advantage of future opportunities at global level. This includes scholarship, incubation and acceleration programmes and agreements with local academic institutions and global benchmarks.


Control and visibility of all activities, budget control, synergies and collaborations with technological partners and Basque institutions, etc.


The Iberdrola group is committed to smart grids as one of the fundamental pillars on which the energy transition is based. As a result, 40 % of its planned organic investments for the period 2020-2025 (over 27 billion euros) will be in networks, bringing its regulated asset base to 47 billion euros in 2025, 1.5 times its current value.

The company, which is at the forefront of digital transformation, focuses on innovation in the area of networks with the aim of offering its clients an excellent service, based on quality of supply and network information; maximising the efficiency of the system's operations through operational excellence and the digitalisation of its assets; and leading the transformation towards a more efficient integration of energy distribution and the introduction of electric vehicles.

The network business offers opportunities for innovation in order to digitalise the system and develop new products and services for customers, as well as to meet its need for technology and disruptive business models.