In 2017, Red Eléctrica de España earmarked more than €9.3 million for the development of 85 initiatives related to innovation, considered as part of its strategy for the 2016-2019 period; a strategy defined with the purpose of boosting innovation as a lever for growth.
This volume of investment, which in 2017 represented an increase of 8.1% on that of the previous year, has been geared towards initiatives in various areas of the Company's business activity and has focused mainly on four vectors: digitalisation, people, sustainability and technology.
In this regard, the Company has focused its efforts on continuing the development of the Best Paths project (BEyond the State-of-the-art Technologies for re-Powering Ac corridors & multi-Terminal HVDC Systems), a European project coordinated by Red Eléctrica, and in which 39 partners participate, including universities, technology centres, industries, electricity companies and TSOs. Its purpose is to overcome the technical barriers that the current pan-European electricity network could face to safely, efficiently and reliably integrate massive amounts of energy from renewable sources.
Also, within the framework of the ‘2020 Horizon’ programme of the European Commission, Red Eléctrica participates in the MIGRATE project as a partner and leads a work package that aims to improve the understanding of the implications that high levels of penetration of renewable energy sources may have on the behaviour of the electricity system.
In addition, in collaboration with InnoEnergy, Red Eléctrica launched in November 2017 the Grid2030 programme, a pioneering initiative in the sector in Spain and open at European level to promote long-term research through open calls for technological initiatives applied to the transmission grid, which was set up with the aim of detecting ideas of future interest for the electricity system and financing solutions that have a direct impact on the efficiency and sustainability of electricity systems.
On the other hand, among the projects assigned to national innovation promotion programmes, Red Eléctrica continues to work on the AMCOS-Stability FACTS project for the design of a prototype that improves the stability of frequency and voltage in small isolated systems.
Also in 2017, the VEGETA project has been successfully completed, a methodology to globally optimise the entire vegetation treatment cycle in the safety corridors of power lines, with the aim of achieving efficient and socially responsible management.
In addition, Red Eléctrica has worked on various initiatives, such as the creation of a direct and global solar radiation prediction model; a system and methodology for the spot inspection of overhead electricity lines by means of drone aircraft; the estimation of the useful life of metallic structures; a study regarding the transition from alternating current to direct current of electricity lines; the evaluation of the useful life of insulated cables; the probabilistic coverage of the demand with grid restrictions; the use of geothermal energy for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), and the research on high-critical temperature superconducting materials.
Collaboration in the promotion of innovation
In 2017, Red Eléctrica also carried out actions to promote innovation within the Company through the ‘II Innovation Recognition Competition’ open to its employees. It is an initiative aimed at generating new ideas and fostering a culture of innovation within the Company. The highest recognition was awarded to innovative idea of using an unmanned vessel for the inspection and monitoring of underwater electricity lines, a project that will begin in 2018.
In the international arena, Red Eléctrica continues to participate as a member of the Research, Development and Innovation Committee of ENTSO-E; association of European TSOs (Transmission System Operators). In addition, also noteworthy is the collaboration with the European Technology and Innovation Platform Smart Networks for Energy Transition (ETIP SNET), included in the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), in which Red Eléctrica participates as a member of the Governing Board on behalf of the European TSOs. Finally, Red Eléctrica also continues to work closely with the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE).
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