STARTUP CHALLENGE: NON-TECHNICAL POWER LOSSES
Solutions to prevent non-technical losses from transmission networks
Iberdrola, through its International Startups Programme - PERSEO, launched this challenge to find competitive, innovative solutions to reduce non-technical losses from the distribution network.
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Iberdrola has over 1.1 million kilometres of electricity transmission and distribution lines throughout the United States, Brazil, the UK and Spain. This network comprises over 4,400 high-to-medium-voltage substations and more than 1.5 million medium-to-low-voltage distribution transformers built and operated to provide a high-quality and reliable service to a total of 31 million electricity supply points.
The electricity system, of which Iberdrola's networks are a part, is subject to energy losses that must be correctly identified, categorised and accounted for to avoid additional costs for end customers and society at large. These losses are generally divided into two types: technical losses, caused in the network installations by the operation of the system itself, and non-technical losses, mainly due to fraud, such as illegal connections and meter tampering.
To identify non-technical losses in its areas of influence, Iberdrola has several mechanisms in place based on the group's accumulated experience and knowledge. However, there are areas of the network, particularly in Brazil, where the challenge of detecting and reducing network losses is especially troublesome. By installing smart meters, network sensors and other measurement instruments, the company has succeeded in reducing losses significantly, but it is still on the lookout for additional mechanisms that will allow it to further improve in this area.
In this context, in October 2021 Iberdrola — through its PERSEO international startup programme and the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub — launched this new challenge to find innovative solutions to identify and reduce non-technical losses, particularly in Brazil. Iberdrola was looking for proposals for finding new devices and tools that allow identifying areas with significant non-technical losses, thereby helping the company to reduce overall system energy losses and increasing the success rate of inspection visits.
The proposals will be analysed by experts in the Iberdrola Network Business according to criteria relating to scalability, robustness and ease of implementation and use.
GLOBAL SMART GRIDS INNOVATION HUB
The challenge was launched within the framework of Iberdrola's new smart grid innovation centre, the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, which is designed to be a global benchmark in smart networks, through open collaboration and coworking among i-DE suppliers, startups and different organisations worldwide.
The hub will act as a driving force for innovation, combining the company's technological capacity with that of its collaborators: suppliers, universities, technology centres and startups. It will also be used to attract strategic suppliers and international talent, thus strengthening the business ecosystem.
Iberdrola has already identified and is working on more than 120 projects worth 110 million euros and has reached agreements with 30 technology partners on developing grid digitalisation solutions, renewables integration, electric vehicle deployment 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 prize will consist of a collaboration and test agreement with PERSEO or any other group company, which will support the cost of those activities and provide the winner with all necessary technical support, as well as a site and real data to test the solution, giving access to equipment, teams, infrastructure, high technology sites and shared work areas. The project will be developed in collaboration with the technical specialists from the Iberdrola Network area.
In addition, it will be included directly in the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hubs registration process as a collaborator able to benefit from the services, activities and resources that the GSGI Hub makes available.
If the assay or test of the concept is satisfactory, Iberdrola may offer the winner the opportunity to scale up the solution adapting it by means of commercial agreements.
What's more, PERSEO will consider investing in the participating company and/or the winner of the challenge.