R&D in renewables
We are moving forward in our international commitment to offshore wind power
The main innovation activities in the field of Renewables in 2019 focussed on improving the efficiency of our working assets and associated processes, encouraging the integration of renewable energy and reducing costs in the design and construction of the installations - principally in the field of offshore marine wind power, and in all the countries in which we operate.
MAIN INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
The Iberdrola group is seeking to reduce operation and maintenance costs, as well as improving production. To do so:
- We are partners in the European-Brazilian cooperation project High Performance Computing for Energy (HPC4E) with the aim of using fluid dynamics models for wind farm design and simulation.
- We are undertaking feasibility studies in the field of extending the use of wind power assets beyond their working life and we are looking at repowering options.
- We are developing internal tools to analyse component reliability and working to reduce maintenance costs in principal systems, and to minimise failure rates.
- We are taking part in the Arbórea project, which promotes the use of drones for visual and thermographic inspection of wind turbine blades for early detection to avoid more serious future damage and more complex and costly repairs. Iberdrola and Arbórea Intellbird launch a new digital power line inspection system, still in the experimental phase, to slash power line maintenance times, giving more reliable results and applying the data gathered for the early detection of structural faults.
Digital inspection of power lines.
- We are analysing and incorporating new wind turbine control strategies.
- We continue to work on the Meteoflow project for ongoing improvements in production forecasting with the aim of reducing deviations from actual production.
- We are coordinating the European ROMEO project, which seeks to develop new models and tools for early detection of faults through the application of advanced big data techniques.
OUR MOST OUTSTANDING PROJECTS
The Iberdrola group has completed a number of initiatives in connection with the field of energy storage to improve the integration of renewable energy sources.
- ESS2GRID is a tool and a methodology for determining the size of a battery system to operate in the rapid/enhanced frequency response market in the United Kingdom. The application reproduces the requirements of the United Kingdom's National Grid's Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) tender, being able to evaluate and select the best solution from among several alternatives and determine many results from a technical and economic perspective.
- The first energy storage project was installed in late 2019 in the Balancing Authority of the United States. The ion lithium 10 MW / 20 MWh battery was incorporated as an additional asset in the BA to reduce balancing costs and improve operational flexibility.
- SPR Futures. Internal initiative that enables employees to explore future business opportunities. The group was initially organised by technology areas; however, ideas and resources were subsequently combined and used to carry out sprint projects. These are used to evaluate the viability of ideas put forward for additional research.
Innovation is vital in offshore wind energy farm operations to reduce costs, cut risks and guarantee competitiveness. Among the most significant projects in which the Iberdrola group is taking part are the following:
- Lifes50+ project: analyses medium-term foundation options in comparison with other systems. The solution proposed by the company has been selected as the most promising thanks to its modern developments.
- Offshore Wind Accelerator Initiative: is an initiative spearheaded by the UK organisation The Carbon Trust and partnered by the world´s leading developers of offshore wind farms. The main objective is to reduce offshore windpower technology costs and is organised around projects of common interest to all developers.
- Promotion project: looks to investigate the development of various HVDC systems (converters, protectors and switches).
- BRIO project: analyses the wind farm once its service life is over and the valuing of high added-value components in the wind turbine blades.
- Leanwind project: mainly focusses on reducing costs during a wind farm's useful service life and throughout the entire supply chain through the application of “lean” principles and the development of innovative solutions and tools.
- In collaboration with ORE Catapult, we are taking part in 2 projects aimed at analysing the phenomenon of blade erosion (BLEEP), as well as the identification of opportunities to improve operational efficiency (SPARTA).
- Under the auspices of the Technology Innovation Center a project is underway to improve the simulation and logistics of the installation of offshore wind farms.
- Finally, we have commenced two activities aimed at understanding more about the effects of scouring on offshore foundations (Joint Industry Program HasPRO), and especially on jacket-type foundations.
The Toledo Renewable Energy Operation Centre (CORE by its Spanish initials), open in December 2003, was pioneering in the sector and is an international benchmark in renewable energy facility management.Renewable Energy Operation Centre (CORE), Toledo (Spain).
This centre specialises in remote control and real-time maintenance of all electricity generation sites from renewable sources. Its aims are to optimise the technical administration and financial performance of this type of infrastructure and improve the quality of energy from renewables supplied to the grid. It provides service to wind farms and mini-hydro power stations, both in the Iberdrola Renewable Energy Business and for other developers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Recently, photovoltaic plants have also been incorporated.
It now controls more than 150 plants, overseeing, in real time, more than 1,800,000 pieces of data and more than 7 GW of active renewable capacity.
The company also has a Renewable Control Centre (CORE) in Portland, open in 2010, which has since become the most advanced renewable energy facility in the United States. It currently controls more than 55 wind farms and photovoltaic plants, including the new offshore wind farms. In total, it supervises more than 1,500,000 pieces of data in real time and manages almost 7 GW of active renewable capacity.Renewable Energy Operations Centre (CORE), Portland (US).
Iberdrola group also has a third CORE in Glasgow, UK. Opened in 2011, it has evolved over time to incorporate new offshore wind farms and now controls more than 30 wind farms in the UK and Germany. It supervises 250,000 pieces of data in real time and manages more than 2 GW of active renewable capacity.
The CORE in Río de Janeiro (Brazil) was opened in 2019, and is the base from which the company operates, in a centralised manner, its 516 MW of wind energy distributed across 14 wind farms. Additionally, a fifth CORE will open in 2020 to manage the group's hydraulic plants — a task currently shared by four centres — paving the way for large hydro in the CORE platform.
Each renewable energy facility is equipped with a local control and information system, which collects the main operating variables from the machines and the electrical substation, as well as facilitating the applicable maintenance tasks, connecting remotely to the Renewable Energy Operation Centre (CORE).
The CORE receives all this information which is presented to the operators in an organised and simplified format enabling them to swiftly detect and analyse any breakdowns or stoppages, and produce a remote analysis. Based on the diagnosis, the appropriate remedial decisions are taken: remote restart or alerting of local operation and maintenance standby personnel. This helps limit breakdown stoppage times and increases the availability of each facility.
Iberdrola puts at the disposition of any owner of renewable facilities the offer of services and the experience of the specialist team that makes up CORE.
- Connection of the installation to CORE, regardless of the number of generators, power or technology.
- Remote monitoring and operation:
- Monthly production reports.
- Management of energy billing with the distributor company.
- Smart alarm management. Incident detection, situation diagnostics and activation of alarms and response protocols.
- Facility surveillance using cameras connected to CORE.
- Production forecasting based on weather predictions to facilitate operation planning and foresee extreme situations.
- Advanced energy management, in coordination with the grid operator, to improve system stability and energy quality, using forecasting of production capacity and control of reactive power, amongst others.
- Web access to CORE services.