R&D GENERATION AND RETAIL
Clean technologies, sustainable mobility and digital, tailored products
- The CO2 FORMARE project reaffirms Iberdrola's firm commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its generation plants
- The company works continuously on developing new products and services that are tailored to customer needs
Efforts made in the generation area throughout 2016 centred on flexibility and operating efficiency, respect for the environment and the improvement of facility safety.
- Flexibility, operating efficiency and facility safety: After completing the HOREX project a few years ago, research into the chemical expansion of concretes has continued with the PREXES project, which focuses on developing a prediction model for expansion in concrete hydraulic structures. Regarding facility safety, the VIDAGEN project commenced in 2016 with the aim of designing and developing a global life management tool for pressurised equipment with the possibility of integrating a structural analysis module at a later stage.
Some highlights in the United Kingdom include the Rye House combined cycle low-pressure turbine rotor disc inspection and repair project using robotic tools and the design and installation of an uninterruptible power supply with batteries at Lanark & Galloway. Also notable is the research into the fatigue of the Cruachan hydraulic generator poles.
- The FILTRONUC and RESONUC projects are noteworthy in the nuclear sector. The first one focuses on designing and developing a new design for the filtered vent system to maximise the filtration performance in the vent line without impairing system safety. Within the framework of RESONUC, critical system resonance is being monitored and characterised to establish a solution that can guarantee optimum functionality as a significant element in the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants.
- Environment: Iberdrola remains resolute in its commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its generation plants through the execution of an ambitious project known as CO2FORMARE, which provides a sustainable solution to the macrofouling issue in the cooling systems running at electricity generation stations while reducing the environmental impact of both air as well as water pollution. In 2016, the technical knowledge generated in the COEBEN-II project developed at the Velilla del Rio Carrión thermal power plant was employed for launching the QUEMANOx and REMINOx projects, which, through new burner designs and a combination of technologies developed previously, adapted our facilities in Lada and Velilla to the increasingly stringent environmental requirements and provided an alternative to high-cost commercial solutions.
Innovation is essential in retail activities to be able to provide customers with products and services that best adapt to their needs. In this regard, in 2016 Iberdrola launched:
New initiatives for improving customer experience:
Innovative campaigns and projects were run throughout 2016 with a focus on rendering greater personalisation in contents and offers, sending proactive communications in real time, and enhancing self-service online so we can offer an optimum and coherent client experience throughout the life cycle, and thus increase customer engagement. The following are just some of these initiatives:
- Optimum rate: Iberdrola advises customers regarding the Customised Plan that best adapts to their usage so that they can pay less for the hours in which they consume the most. To do so, Iberdrola analyses the hourly consumption of millions of customers to propose plans that fit their consumption, and so they do not have to adapt their habits. Launched in 2015, these plans were the first of their kind in the sector created to adapt to customers so that customers need not adapt to the energy offerings.
- Your Energy Advisor: an online portal that gives comprehensive advice to individuals and companies, whether customers or not, in all aspects that could amount to savings on their bills: optimisation of the economic offer, optimisation of power, advice on energy savings and efficiency, callback service to dispel any doubts and omni-channel advice (through web, telephone and personal attention channels).
New Smart Home products: Consumption Monitor and Smart Lamps
Iberdrola has opted for a range of home energy management products through devices connected to the internet that give customers a better knowledge of the energy consumed and even the management of such consumption, thus achieving energy savings. A smart thermostat has been on the market since the beginning of 2015, and since 2016 the Consumption Monitor, an electric meter capable of breaking down the consumption of main domestic appliances, and Smart Lamps, smart LED bulbs that can be controlled from a mobile device have also been available on the market.
In addition, Iberdrola continues participating in RD&I projects in the Green Mobility area, a business area in charge of responding to the demands of customers and society in general regarding electric mobility. In 2017, Iberdrola continued its participation in the outstanding innovation projects REMOURBAN and AZKARGA. The CIRVE project also began in 2016, and Iberdrola will participate in this project by developing corridors of fast recharging infrastructures for electric vehicles that will enable electric mobility and connect Spain with France and Portugal.
A pilot is being run in the United Kingdom to evaluate the benefits of using batteries associated with photovoltaic micro-generation. Work is also being done on customer consumption data analysis to provide customers with energy efficiency advice and tips. Finally, the active demand management program being offered to large customers is an outstanding advance. Turning to new digital products, the new PowerUp platform lets consumers purchase gas or electricity in packs of one day, one month or even up to 180 days in advance at a pre-established price.