Eduardo Garcia Sanchez is head of the Innovation Department at Red Eléctrica de España (REE) and talks to us today about Grid2030, the innovation program freshly launched by REE and InnoEnergy
Eduardo, tells us about REE and its role on the future of electricity networks?
At REE, we are the sole technical operator of the Spanish transmission electricity system. Our focus and efforts are into developing one of the most modern and flexible grid systems in the world. We want to meet Europe’s long-term energy goals and to integrate high shares of renewable energy sources. Additionally, we strive, every day, to improve the power grid’s capacity and flexibility. This way we can assure providing quality power, as well as enabling active participation of consumers and a resilient operation, overall allowing the grid to better serve our society.
Can you explain how did the Grid2030 programme arise and what is its goal?
Working towards our objective of better serving society, we do have a long track record in R&D. With Grid2030 we want to build on this experience and to go beyond our existing commitment by exploring new targeted disruptive research, development and innovation activities that could impact our business in the mid-term future. The best partner in Europe today to support such a process is InnoEnergy, for their experience in running such programs as well as for their specialisation in the energy sector. We are collaborating with them to develop `Grid2030’, a four year program with the aim to bring the next wave of electricity transmission technologies and innovations to life and to promote the development of products or services which contribute to the consolidation of an energy system practically free of emissions.
Can you tell us who can participate in the program?
The Grid2030 program is looking for any type of public and private entities: researchers, entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporations that have a research or technological connection with the challenges of the call, namely: related to the removing of barriers to the massive use of power electronics in our operations and, to the development of the mechanisms and technologies that will allow us to increase the flexibility in the grid management. We also look for parties with activities in the technology adoption chain, such as in product/service development, technology commercialization, industrial design etc. focusing their participation on the commercial pull they can bring to technology development projects.
Could you explain how to participate and what are the benefits for the participants?
Those who have a research, product or service related with the challenges and would like to participate should inform the Grid2030 team directly so that we help them with the preparation of the process. Even though we are calling for individual applications, involving relevant partners in the process can add value before completing the application form. Our team will be there to provide the applicants with early feedback and to answer questions before submitting the application.
A group of selected applicants with most promising proposals will then be invited to work together on co-creating meaningful projects under our guidance. At the end of this process, REE is committed to financially support the bests of those projects.
The benefits for applicants are many along the process; the Grid2030 Program is a unique opportunity if you want to accelerate the development of your technology or application in terms of innovation management, relations and public exposure. Participants will have the chance not only to access funding and expert support, but also to enter in relation with relevant entities, build key relationships and experience the pull of REE as a potential early adopter of their solution.
In the current open call, what challenges are proposed to the applicants?
As anticipated, there are a number of development areas that Red Eléctrica de España has identified to be relevant, out of which a couple of main challenges have been selected.
Our first challenge is to accelerate the widespread deployment of power electronics in the system by removing existing barriers for their mass deployment in the power grid of the future, mainly by reducing costs associated with these facilities or by improving their performance. We see this happening by developing new configurations and optimized designs, using new materials and advanced control methodologies and interoperability, among other changes that could cause a disruptive change to the current state of technology.
Our second challenge for this call lies into the development of new resources for the system flexibility, compatible with a carbon-free energy system. Working lines under this challenge are as diverse as looking into advances in controllability of renewable generation, identifying new or improved storage systems and components, all in all aligned towards significant cost reduction for the energy system as a whole. These improvements could come from the use of different materials, advances in production processes, design of new solutions or technologies, but not limited to those, we hope to review as many innovative approaches as possible.
All information on Grid 2030 is available on the section.
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