R&D Networks

We foment the development of smart grids

During 2021, the Iberdrola group's Distribution subsidiary i-DE has continued to focus on various R&D&i initiatives, particularly for improving customer service, maintaining and expanding the smart-grid model and the digitalisation of the grid, and advancing toward greater integration of renewable energy into the grid, electric vehicles and storage systems.

Ignacio Galán, chairman of the Iberdrola group

Thanks to smart grids, we can give us a heads-up on possible incidents and help to resolve them with greater speed and efficiency

Main international initiatives

  • Through EDSO4SG, Iberdrola continues to participate in the INTENSYS4EU project in which the European Commission is supporting the search for a new R&D focus in the smart grid and energy storage fields to tackle the new integrated energy challenges, where the consumer is at the heart of the energy system. In Spain we have the LAYCA project, financed by CDTI, which seeks to develop a system to locate faults and categorise medium-voltage grid failures.

    In the field of normalising and maintaining overhead cables, within the HAZITEK call for tender the Basque Government has chosen the mGRIDSTORAGE project led by i-DE in which an advanced microgrid model with storage for distribution grids is being developed.

    In the operational systems area, work is under way on new analytical models for detecting non-technical losses using hourly load curves. Similarly, work is continuing on the Asset Management project using NFC labels, and the new change management portal has been launched; this will bring about improvements in the communication and implementation of procedural efficiencies.

    The CARTOLIDAR project was undertaken: this used LIDAR technology, photometry and other helicopter-mounted equipment to improve the power-line inventory and map the vegetation around power lines.


    CARTOLIDAR Project. Power line inspection. Video voice transcription (Spanish version) [PDF]

    In the UK, the operator of the Ofgem system has financed the Fusion and LV Engine projects, both targeted at optimising low-voltage grids which represent some of the major opportunities and challenges in the drive towards a more flexible system. Both these reinforce Iberdrola's role as a leading company in the UK in the field of technical and commercial innovation.

    Work also continues on developing sustainable solutions for the roll-out of the new smart grid. The aim of the FITNESS project is to design sustainable and advanced electricity substations. The VISOR project is also worthy of note. It is implementing the first Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) in the national IT infrastructure. It improves visibility of the system's dynamic behaviour and enhances grid resilience while the Assess Late project — developed in cooperation with Strathclyde University — analyses how electric vehicles and increased demand will affect the distributed generation grid.

    The COORDINET Project kicked off in 2019 and included different links in the electricity sector value chain to create an environment to streamline participation by all agents. The same year, the European Commission approved the ATELIER Project to develop Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) in eight European cities.

  • In the US the initiatives included in the Energy Smart Community (ESC) program are noteworthy; their purpose is to design and implement the smart grid of the future — more flexible, reliable and with greater response capacity. ESC includes other projects to improve grid and distributed energy resource management, and the ability to respond to demand and the customer experience, by offering a wider range of products and greater control over consumption.

    Within the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, the Energy Marketplace project is aimed at creating a platform to facilitate transactions between distributed generation suppliers and customers, and the Flexible Interconnect Capacity Solution project seeks to identify less costly and quicker methods of connecting large distributed energy resources to the grid, providing an infrastructure model as a service. Also ongoing are the AMI project to automate measuring infrastructures and various initiatives to mitigate damage caused by meteorological phenomena.

  • The innovation projects in Brazil are being applied to five main areas:

    • Smart grids
    • Grid quality and reliability
    • Installation security
    • Reduction of losses
    • Sustainability

    We highlight the various stages of the national Smart Grid technology development projects, the BID MONITOR project, which is pursuing the development of a support system for decision-making in electricity sales and finally, the CIDADE INTELIGENTE project for implementing an urban reference model based on Smart Grids.

    Regarding grid quality and reliability, the systems for detecting water in transformer oil and for monitoring the useful life of batteries in substations and distribution switches are noteworthy. Similarly, the Microrredes GD project has assessed the effect of distributed generation on the grid and on connection points (PACs).

    Finally, equally noteworthy are other initiatives developed to optimise hybrid distributed generation systems in isolated grids.

  • The Iberdrola Technology Centre in Qatar — Iberdrola Innovation Middle East — aims to respond to the challenges of digitising the energy system in which the company will develop new innovation and consulting services, focused on three key areas: smart grids, integration of renewables and energy efficiency.


    Ignacio Galán during the inauguration of the Iberdrola Innovation Middle East technological centre in Qatar, from where Iberdrola will face the challenges posed by the digitisation of the energy sector.

    Located in the Qatar Science & Technology Park, Qatar's singular technological hub aims to create new products and services for digital utilities, working at the intersection between information and communication technologies and energy.

    In 2019, highly digitalised R&D+i projects were launched with significant marketing potential in different areas: smart networks, integration of renewables and energy management.