José Carlos Fernández, Head of the Technology Innovation Department of Red Eléctrica de España, tells us in this interview about the second edition of Grid2030.
José Carlos, what is the role of Red Eléctrica in the future of the power networks?
As the sole transmission owner and system operator of the Spanish power system, we focus our efforts into developing one of the most modern and flexible grid systems in the world. We want to meet the long-term energy targets set by Europe and integrate high shares of renewable energy sources. We strive every day to improve the capacity and flexibility of the network. This way, we can ensure the quality of the energy supply, as well as allow the active participation of consumers and a flexible operation, offering a better service to society.
Can you explain how did you come up with the Grid2030 program and what is your goal?
Within the initiatives to achieve our goal of service to society, we have a long history in innovation projects.
With Grid2030 we want to make the most of this experience and go beyond our current commitment, exploring disruptive research initiatives that contribute to our central role as facilitators of the energy transition. With the Grid2030 program, we want to foster the next wave of technologies and innovations in the electricity sector to promote the development of products or services that allow REE to contribute to the consolidation of a power system practically free of emissions. We believe that without innovation in Red Eléctrica, the transition to this new model will not be possible.
For this InnoEnergy plays an indispensable role due to their experience in running such programs, as well as for their specialisation in the energy sector and access to their European innovation ecosystem.
Can you tell us who the program is for?
The Grid2030 program is open to the participation of all types of entities: public and private, universities, research centres, European companies or even from outside Europe. It is also aimed at participants with activities in the technology adoption chain, such as product / service development, technology commercialization, industrial design, etc., focusing their participation on the commercial attraction they can bring to technology development projects. In short, to any entity that has a technological or research connection with the challenges of the call.
For this edition these challenges are focused on two topics of great interest within the sector at the moment: the improvement of the knowledge of the physical state of the power transmission infrastructure and the development of digital technologies and services for the energy transition.
Could you explain what needs to be done to participate and what are the benefits for the participants?
Those who have a product or service proposal related to the mentioned challenges and wish to participate should contact the Grid2030 team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you with the process. Although individual applications are requested, involving relevant partners in the process before completing the participation form can add value. Our team is available to provide comments and answer questions before sending the final request..
The candidates with the most promising proposals will be invited to work on the joint creation of significant projects, always with the guidance of experts from Red Eléctrica and InnoEnergy. At the end of this process, Red Eléctrica is committed to support the best resulting projects financially with up to one million euros.
The benefits for the participants throughout the process are many; the Grid2030 program is a unique opportunity if they wish to accelerate the development of your technology or application in terms of innovation management, relationships and public exposure. Participants will have the opportunity, not only to access funding and help from experts, but also to get in touch with relevant entities in the sector, build key relationships and experience the impact of working with the support of Red Eléctrica. Even projects that are not selected will benefit from the synergies created during the program, and may be attractive for their execution under other forms of collaboration with Red Eléctrica.
What are the lessons learnt from the first edition and what would you recommend to the participants?
In the first edition we received 79 proposals and invited 27 of them to participate in the process of co-creation of Grid2030 projects. We handled a significant volume of applications and we faced a wide variety of development cases of project proposals.
For those moments of intense work that we spent with the participants and for all we received in return from them afterwards, we are convinced of the important value of the Grid2030 program and the accelerating effect of having access to an entire ecosystem of innovation, regardless of whether a proposal results winner or not at the end of the process. Each participant experiences cross-learning and can make their work known to potential partners, suppliers, customers or users. Each proposal is improved by being challenged again and again on topics as relevant as their technological concepts, their business approach, their intellectual property strategy, their work plan and many more.
In this context, and beyond the self-interest of each initial proposal, openness, participation and flexibility have turned out to be key values. The two winning proposals of the first edition are a clear example of this: they have taken advantage of the program to align their initial proposals with the interests of Red Eléctrica and have managed to create the most suitable consortia to carry out their initiatives.
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