AI Centre of Excellence

An innovative centre for research into Artificial Intelligence applied to the energy sector

In order to anticipate the demands that will occur with the change of energy model, Iberdrola has launched the Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence − an initiative created within the scope of the IA4TES project (Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Energy Transition). With its physical headquarters in San Agustín del Guadalix (Madrid), the centre stands out for, among other things, research and testing of disruptive AI technologies with a focus on the energy sector.

Iberdrola's AI Center of Excellence (CoE) became operational in September 2022 as one of the main results of the AI for Sustainable Energy Transition project, also known as IA4TES. Led by Iberdrola throughout its three-year duration (2022-2024), the main objective of this project is to study the solutions provided by different Artificial Intelligence technologies in the electricity sector, with the Centre of Excellence being the link between all the research and initiatives developed.

Located in Iberdrola's Innovation and Training Campus, a 180,000 m2 complex with state-of-the-art facilities in San Agustín del Guadalix (Madrid), this centre is made up of a consortium led by Iberdrola with the participation of different institutions with experience in centres of excellence, such as Minsait, Tecnalia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidad de Granada and Universidad de Salamanca.

Although the Centre of Excellence originates within the IA4TES project, its temporary projection goes beyond it. It will continue its activity for several years after the project to maintain the initiatives proposed within it.

So, thanks to this centre, Iberdrola Group will lead one of the most important European artificial intelligence projects for sustainable energy transition together with nine start-ups, four research centres and three universities − creating in Spain a favourable ecosystem for innovating and developing new technologies.

What are the functions of the AI Centre of Excellence?

Since it became operational, the centre has been responsible for the proactive monitoring of various AI initiatives’ progress carried out by the IA4TES project. However, it is also responsible for other tasks as a reference group in tech research. Among the main functions of the AI Centre of Excellence are the following:

 

Dissemination

The aim is to highlight the importance of the research work carried out by the centre through publication on websites and related media of the consortium partners. In addition, conferences, events and forums are held to disseminate the results and the latest innovations in the area of AI. 

Training and attracting talent

Generating and attracting new talent through academic institutions (secondary school, vocational training and universities) is a key mission for the centre, seeking to offer the opportunity for training and continuous learning. The agreements with universities through the Iberdrola U programme stand out. Through this initiative, we seek to work on lines of action such as promoting scholarships, internships, internal training and young entrepreneurs.

Internationalisation

The centre aims to expand its influence and reach globally and seeks to establish strategic collaborations with institutions in different countries. Knowledge exchange also contributes to developing research in the field of AI.

Agreements and alliances

The initiative establishes collaboration agreements and other types of agreements with leading Artificial Intelligence research centres and institutions around the world. In this regard, the Iberdrola Group takes advantage of the multiple synergies it has with universities, technology centres, associations and start-ups to create an AI work ecosystem.

Proofs of Concept (PoC)

One of its main objectives is to present ideas or products through small Proofs of Concept (PoC) based on disruptive Artificial Intelligence technologies that have application in the energy area. With this, the centre becomes a real research and tech hub, promoting the development of digital capabilities in the sector.

Intellectual Property Management

This function is essential to protect, manage and enhance the intellectual assets generated by the research carried out at the centre.

AI Centre of Excellence Projects

Since the start of the IA4TES project, studies of over 60 use cases for the application of Artificial Intelligence have already been initiated, which are divided into three main areas of action: smart sustainable production, smart grids and smart consumption. Below are some examples of AI projects developed by the centre:
 

  • Aiming to improve in-store service through artificial vision, this project, in collaboration with Pixel Labs, uses images captured with consent and without personal identification to train models capable of capturing in-store movements. The technology promises to quantify and optimise different aspects of sales: waiting time in the shop, customer volume, average waiting time and service time ratio, peak and off-peak times, hot spots in the shop, etc. 

  • In collaboration with the consultancy firm Intento, the AI Centre of Excellence has created artificial intelligence models capable of understanding official translations contracted by institutions that require translations by certified translators. The goal is to demonstrate the maturity of technology to translate 80,000 pages of technical texts on facilities and assets, as well as manuals and many other types of text.

  • Iberdrola was one of the first companies to make use of the opportunities offered by drones, and this is one of the main lines of research at the CoE. The project carried out in collaboration with Soticol, the start-up specialising in robotics, uses a navigation system based on LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) on board a drone to access hard-to-reach or hazardous areas to conduct inspections. This approach enables the autonomous navigation of drones with a real-time vision system. 

  • One of the latest technological advances in the offshore wind market is the launch of a drone capable of checking the status of wind turbines at an offshore wind farm. The initiative, carried out by Navantia, Alerion and Eolo, with the participation of Iberdrola, seeks to collect and send high-resolution data and images of these facilities to help in their maintenance.

  • Immersive experiences provide an innovative communication channel between the organisation and customers. For this reason, Iberdrola's AI centre carried out a project together with NTT Data to test what a virtual sales office in the metaverse would look like to market electricity or gas contracts, electric mobility products, energy efficiency and home automation.

  • The centre also makes use of the opportunity offered by Generative AI and all its capacity to process large amounts of documents quickly and efficiently. Eight use cases are being developed with all Iberdrola businesses that can be grouped into five areas: information search in reports; quick reference of training manuals; market observation and opportunity detection; text generation for complaint response; and departmental chatbots to facilitate onboarding. 

In short, the consortium participating in the activities of the Centre of Excellence represents an innovative initiative in the field of Artificial Intelligence research, a concept that has become a comprehensive and revolutionary tool for any company. Its operation and the projects it is carrying out are proof that Spain will be a powerful centre of knowledge at world level in the area of AI applied to the electricity sector − making the country a benchmark in modern electricity grids.