Iberdrola invested €145 million in the field of Research and Development (R&D) in 2013, a 10% increase on the previous financial year. The company allocated most of this investment to the development of projects involving offshore wind power, smart grids, clean generation and new technologies and business models.
Thanks to this unwavering commitment to remaining at the forefront, the company has become a benchmark in this field and is considered to be the most innovative Spanish utility and the fourth most innovative in Europe, according to the ranking drawn up by the European Commission.
The company's firm and unswerving commitment to R&D is also reflected in its support to technology-based entrepreneurs and companies through the Perseo venture capital scheme. Via this initiative, Iberdrola has already invested over €70 million since 2008 on technological start-ups that ensure the future sustainability of the energy model.
In the last year, the Perseo portfolio was expanded to include the firm 'Stem' based in Silicon Valley, which develops solutions to improve energy efficiency at facilities belonging to retail and industrial customers, and the Spanish firm Arbórea Intellbird, which focuses on the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles.
In the field of renewable energies, where the group is a world leader, IBERDROLA set up various offshore projects last year. Some of the most important of these projects include 'Innpacto Emerge' and 'Aqua Ventus', which focus on the development of floating platforms in deep waters, 'Cenit Azimut' and 'EERA Dtoc', geared towards optimising the development of offshore wind farms, the 'Low Impact' initiative, which aims to promote gravity foundations for installation at intermediate depth or the 'Offshore Wind Accelerator', a special programme run by the UK Carbon Trust to find solutions that allow to reduce the costs and risks associated to this technique.
In the smart grids sector, Iberdrola has focused on optimising the distribution network, with a special emphasis on occupational safety, environmental aspects and enhancing quality of supply. In Europe, the company is spearheading the GRID4EU and iGREENGrid projects, which seek to develop methodologies for integrating renewable energies in electricity distribution grids. IN Spain, it is continuing to promote the STAR project, which has already been rolled out in Castile-La Mancha, Castile and León, Extremadura, the Madrid Region, the Basque Country, Murcia, Navarre, La Rioja and the Valencia Region. This project will allow to replace 10.3 million traditional meters with new smart devices and to adapt some 80,000 transformer stations, which will be equipped with remote management, supervision and automation capacities.
Efforts in the area of generation have focused on flexibility and operational efficiency, respect for the environment and enhancing safety at facilities. For example, the group has launched the 'GT-CONTROLFLEX' project, which seeks to increase operational flexibility at combined cycle power plants and the 'Rejas' initiative, which aims to lengthen the life cycle of hydraulic equipment.
All of these initiatives promoted by Iberdrola are intended to guarantee its efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness with a view to being able to meet the needs and challenges that lie ahead. In this regard, the company has set up 'Iberdrola Servicios de Innovación' (Innovation Services) to manage all its R&D activities at Group level.