R&D RENEWABLE ENERGY
Offshore wind power, one of Iberdrola's greatest commitments
In the field of onshore wind energy, Iberdrola invests in improving the efficiency of operating assets and the integration of renewable energies.
Innovation activities in the renewable energies area have centred around improving the efficiency of operational assets and integration of renewable energies in the onshore wind power field, and developing new designs or processes for ongoing and future projects associated with offshore wind power.
MAIN PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
By improving the efficiency of wind farms, we aim to reduce operating and maintenance costs while upgrading production:
In the area of energy resources, we continue optimising upon our own complex wind farm design models based on fluid dynamics and the use of supercomputers. Such is the case of the Sedar project (High-Resolution Wind Power Simulation), a simulation software to estimate the production capacity of an onshore or offshore wind farm throughout its useful life before it is built, thanks to MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, with 50,000 processors.
MareNostrum, the protagonist of the Barcelona Supercomputer Center (BSC).
Additionally, we are participating in the Europe-Brazil HPC4E (High Performance Computing for Energy) collaborative project to prepare computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models for the "hexa-scale" supercomputers of the future.
Extending the life of the facilities, reducing their costs and impact and guaranteeing their reliability are other major challenges. Features to point out in this activity are the continuity of the OLEO and MINEROIL projects that analyse the long term performance of lubricating oils in different machinery models, and the Arbórea project, which uses drones to visually and thermographically inspect the blades of wind turbines for the early detection of future serious damage or more costly repairs. Finally, with the aim of improving production without increasing loads on certain components, new wind turbine control strategies have been analysed and incorporated.
Amongst the available wind farm operating management tools, work continues on the continuous improvement of production forecasting to reduce deviations when compared with actual production (Meteoflow), and monitoring is being shored up for the main wind turbine systems and their performance to yield early detection of faults in components or production reduction through the use of artificial intelligence and big data tools.
Last but not least, salient initiatives specifically conceived to address sustainability also merit particular mention, such as the BRIO project, which entails the analysis of wind farms that have reached the end of their useful service life and the assessment of wind turbine blade components having an elevated added value.
The projects conceived to improve the integration of renewable energies include the exceptional ESS2Wind project, which aims to analyse the possible application of battery storage systems associated with wind farms to provide auxiliary services to the system. Hybrid wind, solar and storage integration studies have also been conducted.
Offshore wind power has grown a lot in the past few years, with a substantial reduction in its costs, allowing it to be more competitive. The key: innovation in this type of projects.
An example is the ROMEO initiative led by Iberdrola and financed with the Horizon 2020 program of the EU, which is aimed at the reduction of the operation and maintenance costs of offshore wind farms through advanced monitoring strategies and systems and with the analysis of the real behaviour of the fundamental components of wind turbines.
Some of the leading companies of the European offshore wind power sector are participating in ROMEO. This initiative will have solid economic, environmental and social benefits in relation to the commitments acquired by the EU in combating climate change and the growing presence of renewable energies in the European electric mix.
This project will develop an analytical and management platform that focuses on the cloud and on the Internet of Things, acting as an advanced analytical ecosystem for the fault diagnosis and forecasting models.
The project progress will be tested in wind farms developed by Iberdrola: East Anglia ONE (United Kingdom) and Wikinger (Germany). The technologies will be tested at these wind farms under real conditions, so these can be validated. The project will run until 2022, receive €10M in financing and have a total budget of €16M.
Other European projects
Iberdrola continues to collaborate in the European Best Paths project, which entails the analysis of multi-terminal HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) networks across different suppliers to observe the interactions with the power electronics in wind turbines for a scenario in which a large amount of offshore wind power will be connected to the grid. In the same area, we began our participation in the European Promotion, project, which expands further in this field to develop technology for various HVDC systems (converters, safeguards and switches).
The Renewable Energy Operation Centre in Toledo went into service in 2003. This is a pioneering initiative in the industry, both for the cutting-edge technology it uses and for its operation and scope. It is a real-time remote control, management and maintenance centre for all electric power generation facilities using renewable energy sources.
It is designed to optimise the technical management of the company's facilities as well as their economic performance, thereby enhancing the quality of the renewable energy 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.
Iberdrola commissioned its Renewable Energy Control Centre in Portland, the most advanced renewable energy installation in the U.S., providing control and operation for nearly 800,000 signals from the Company's 2,500 wind turbines in this country.
How to operate
The control system in each installation collects the main operational information from the generators and their associated substation. The control system is connected to the REOC through a remote communication channel, and therefore facilitates maintenance tasks.
The REOC receives this information and processes it into an organized and simplified structure that enables easy identification and diagnosis of failures. This diagnosis triggers the appropriate actions for its solution: remote reset or activation of local maintenance teams. As a consequence, average down time decreases thus increasing availability.
The services and the experienced team of Iberdrolas Energies Operation Center are available to any renewable energies developer:
- Full connection of the installation to the REOC.
- Remote operation and control:
- Monthly reporting of energy generated.
- Energy invoicing to the distribution utility.
- Multimedia alarm and status control. Identification, diagnosis and activation of corrective measures.
- Video surveillance of facilities.
- Prediction of energy generation based on weather forecasts.
- Advanced energy management, in coordination with the grid operator, to improve system stability and energy quality, using generation prediction and reactive power control.
- Web access to the Center's services.