Smart grid innovation
Image: Iberdrola

The Global Smart Grid Innovation Hub in Bilbao, Spain will focus on R&D on the new challenges facing electricity distribution networks.

Electrification across sectors such as transportation and the incorporation of more renewables are demanding growing investments in distribution networks.

Iberdrola’s new Innovation Hub located at the company’s Distribution Operation Centre in Bilbao is planned to drive innovation to meet the challenges that are arising.

The hub will combine the company’s research and development and technology capabilities with that of suppliers, startups and other collaborators from across the world to undertake cutting edge smart grid projects.

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Iberdrola has already identified more than 120 innovation projects worth €110 million ($127.9 million).

The lines of work, which are international in scope, will enable the development and deployment of new solutions to the company’s electricity network activities throughout the world, a statement says.

The Hub due to start operating in the Spring of 2021 is expected to involve the collaboration of more than 200 professionals. The focus will include enhanced digitalisation, data analytics and the resilience and flexibility of the network to manage new consumption models, including electric mobility and self-generation.

Collaborating in the project is the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, which will facilitate the relationship between the innovation ecosystem and the financial tools to accelerate startup participation.

Iberdrola is far from alone among utilities in centralising its innovation efforts. Nevertheless the scale of its activities is already significant with investment of close to €2 billion in R+D+I activities over the past decade. Over the last two years, the company has developed 85 innovation projects, claiming to become a world leader in smart grid technology.