R&D RENEWABLES

We are moving forward in our international commitment to offshore wind power

The main innovation activities in the field of Renewables in 2017 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

  • Wind farm efficiency

    The Iberdrola group is seeking to reduce operation and maintenance costs, as well as improving production. To do so:

    • We are participating in the joint Europe-Brazil project HPC4E (High Performance Computing for Energy) with the aim of preparing fluid dynamics models for the future "exascale" supercomputers.
    • 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

    Romeo. More information.
     

    HPCE. More information.

  • Improvement in the integration of renewable energy

    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.

    • In 2017 Avangrid Renewables began the certification process to register as an independent Balancing Authority (BA), taking on the responsibility of balancing supply and demand in real time.
    • We developed the ESS2GRID project with the aim of analysing battery storage systems located at renewable energy evacuation points, to provide frequency regulation services in the UK. This program simulates the behaviour of batteries and assesses their cost/benefit ratio.
    • Throughout 2017 work has been done on various specialist tools to assess specific uses of storage systems linked to renewable facilities. These tools simulate the behaviour of batteries connected to photovoltaic installations, hybrid wind/photovoltaic systems and to the portfolio of wind farms and thermal generation in the US.
  • Innovation in offshore wind energy

    Innovation is vital in offshore wind 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: projects designed to optimise foundations by analysing safety factors.
    • Best Paths project: analyses the multi-terminal HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) networks of 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.
    • 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 (Sodercan SPJ project).

    The forthcoming installation of East Anglia ONE stands out. It will come into service in 2020 on the SE coast of England, supplying electricity to half a million homes, and will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world. Furthermore, ScottishPower Renewables has been given the go-ahead from the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for the start of East Anglia THREE. With this, the future East Anglian complex will reach a power capacity of 2,000 MW, making it one of the largest renewable energy installations in the world. Work has already begun on preparations for the project, and construction will begin in 2022.

    Finally, in Brazil the commitment to solar power is noteworthy, with the construction of a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) type pilot scheme with storage in the state of Bahia. Similarly, Iberdrola is building new wind and photovoltaic installations in various Mexican states such as those in Santiago and Hermosillo.

  • Renewable Energy Operations Centre (CORE)

    The Toledo Renewable Energy Operations Centre, a pioneer in the sector, has now exceeded a decade in service as an international benchmark in the management of renewable energy facilities.

    Renewable Energy Operations Centre (CORE), Toledo (Spain).

    Renewable Energy Operations 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.

    The company also has a Renewable Control Centre (CORE) in Portland, which has become the most advanced renewable energy facility in the US, handling around 800,000 signals from some 2,500 of the company's wind turbines in that country.

    Renewable Energy Operations Centre (CORE), Portland (US).

    Renewable Energy Operations Centre (CORE), Portland (US).

    Operation

    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 Operating 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.

    Operation of the Renewable Energy Control Centre (CORE) [PDF]
     

    Services

    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.

    Basic services:

    • 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.

    Additional services

    • 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.