Red Eléctrica de España (REE) has invested over €14 million in a portfolio of 60 R&D+i projects during 2013. This investment represents an increase of 80 % compared to 2012 and is part of the Innovation and Technological Development Plan designed by the Company for the period 2012-2016.
During 2013, various actions were carried out aimed at the development of an integrated transmission grid at a European level, the incorporation of new technologies into the grid, sustainable development and the promotion of new resources for system operation, such as the electric vehicle and energy storage, in order to achieve the Company’s strategic goals in a more efficient manner.
Of the 60 projects launched in 2013, the Company completed 15 of which 13 have been funded entirely by Red Eléctrica, one was carried out in the scope of a European consortium and one in the framework of a national consortium.
Within the European scope, the Twenties project has been concluded, meeting its objective to overcome barriers and move forward with the integration of new technologies that enable the massive incorporation of wind power into the European electricity system. The results of the project have proven the technical feasibility of six full-scale demonstrations around three main axes: the capacity of wind power generation and the aggregation of distributed generation energy resources and demand to provide system services to the operators and owners of the electricity transmission grids or TSO (Transmission System Operator), the development of offshore transmission grids in HVDC (high voltage direct current), and the application of new technologies in the transmission grid to increase its flexibility and ability to safely and predictably handle a higher quantity of wind power production. These elements will contribute to achieving the European Union’s energy targets for 2020: a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% improvement in energy efficiency and that 20% of the energy consumed be from renewable sources.
Spearheaded by Red Eléctrica, the Twenties project has been carried out over three years and has involved 26 partners from ten member states of the European Union, plus an associate country. It had a budget of €57 million, of which €32 million was funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities.
At a national level, the Cenit Verde project has focused on the design and implementation of a prototype electric car and the management and control systems necessary for its efficient integration into the electricity system. It has been supported by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Centre for Industrial Technological Development and during four years 16 companies and 14 government agencies have participated.
With regard to the Company’s in-house projects, noteworthy is the construction of a transformer with a transformation capacity similar to that of a conventional one, but reduced in size and weight, allowing its rapid deployment to Red Eléctrica substations in emergency situations to quickly replace units that have suffered sudden breakdowns. The project was carried out in collaboration with ABB and the transformer has been operational since March this year.
Another noteworthy project this year is the design, construction and implementation of an electronic device capable of controlling the power flow in an electricity transmission line in real time and avoid it being overloaded, diverting flow through other lines. The most important benefit that it will contribute to the electricity system is to maintain safety levels without the need to increase the number of electricity facilities or reduce renewable energy generation. This project, the ESP-Líder, is funded by the INNPACTO Programme of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and was carried out in collaboration with Ingeteam and Incoesa as industrial partners.
Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the field installation of the ALMACENA project was put in service. It consists of the installation of a lithium-ion battery connected to the electricity transmission grid capable of storing the energy equivalent to the simultaneous demand of 300 households, for use at any given moment when it is required by the system.
Of particular importance is a project that has been launched this year and whose goal is to develop a technique that reduces the impact on Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows caused by the laying of submarine electricity cables and that involves the replanting of laboratory germinated seeds of this marine plant and Posidonia oceanica fragments produced by natural detachment.
The application of this technique, once proven and validated, will represent a very valuable tool for Red Eléctrica projects that require the laying of submarine cables, as it can be implemented immediately after the effect on Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows, with a lesser impact than those techniques used today and with a faster recovery of the affected areas. This technique can also be applied to the recovery of Cymodocea nodosa meadows, another flowering plant with similar characteristics and of great biological interest.
All projects, those completed as well as those underway, are part of Red Eléctrica’s Innovation and Technological Development Plan for the period 2012-2016; a plan which responds to the Company's commitment to innovation and technological development and that is understood as fundamental to the competitiveness of the industrial fabric and of the Company itself.