Iberdrola seeks innovative companies for early fire detection in protected areas

  • The aim is to reduce the environmental impact and minimise the impact on the continuity of supply to customers.
  • Iberdrola's commitment to the protection and conservation of natural areas is carried out in accordance with its Biodiversity Policy.

Iberdrola takes another step towards caring for the environment. The energy company, through its PERSEO start-up programme, and in collaboration with the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, is looking for solutions that enable the early detection of fires in protected areas near power lines, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact and minimising the repercussions on the continuity of supply to customers.

Upon detection of the fire, Iberdrola's Distribution Operation Centre could inform the authorities and the Fire Brigade at an early stage, as well as initiate preventive actions to minimise the impact on customers and disconnect the lines in the area to avoid greater damage. In this way, it also seeks to support environmental organisations with critical information that will enable them to identify the origin of the fire. 

The challenge will value the incorporation of technologies related to thermal infrared, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision and real-time satellite imagery, among others.

In addition, consideration will be given to the ability to identify the fire over long distances, the maturity, reliability and scalability of the solution, whether hardware or software, the simplicity of installation and maintenance, integration with current monitoring systems, application in other energy assets such as substations, transformer stations and wind farms and the positive impact on some of the Just Transition areas, such as Lada and Velilla del Río Carrión. 

Firm commitment to the protection and conservation of natural areas

Iberdrola has more than 1.1 million kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Spain. This network consists of more than 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 areas in which Iberdrola carries out its activities serve as habitats for a variety of wild flora and fauna that, in some cases, are even under some form of protection (Biosphere Reserves, Natura 2000 Network, Natural Park, etc.). 

In Spain alone, electricity lines cross 19,314 kilometres of protected areas and there are 144 substations, 8,793 transformation centres, 31 reservoirs and 14 wind farms in this type of location. 

Iberdrola's commitment to the protection and conservation of natural areas is carried out in accordance with its Biodiversity Policy, through its environmental management, action plans, and monitoring of restored and compensated habitats in accordance with the principle of positive conservation.

Among other activities, Iberdrola actively fights through the Tree Programme, which will plant more than 20 million trees by 2030, and works preventively at those facilities and assets at risk of suffering incidents due to demand peaks or weather conditions.

More than 10 years innovating with start-ups

Since its creation in 2008, PERSEO has invested 85 million euros in start-ups that develop innovative technologies and business models, focusing on those that improve the sustainability of the energy sector through further electrification and decarbonisation of the economy.

The programme has focused its activities on analysing business opportunities and technological collaboration with start-ups and emerging companies around the world, analysing 300 companies each year and creating an ecosystem of almost 7,000 entrepreneurial companies. This investment instrument currently holds a portfolio of eight companies.

Through PERSEO, Iberdrola carries out more than 25 real tests of technologies per year, which serve as a first step towards establishing a business relationship or partnership with start-ups. In addition, in the last two years the group has launched a total of fourteen challenges in which 700 start-ups have participated.

Beyond the financial contribution, PERSEO's support to these companies has been key in defining their product and business, offering them its knowledge and access to Iberdrola's market. On the other hand, the work carried out with the start-ups has served our company as a technological antenna to find out where our sector is heading.