Iberdrola, one of the world's largest energy companies, has launched a Startup Challenge program designed to discover and support innovative ideas that respond to challenges facing the global energy industry. The first in a series of planned competitions is inviting inventors and the startup community from around the world to develop ideas to counteract the effects of climate change and severe weather events on the power grid. Iberdrola looks forward to ideas that could help prevent problems or restore the grid after a storm.
Temperature rises and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events pose a major challenge for power grid operators around the world. Storm winds, rising water levels, extreme heat, ice and snow can cause major damage and disruption.
For prevention purposes, planning, operation, maintenance and technology could be studied to better monitor and manage electrical installations before they are damaged.
To improve the restoration of services, ideas could include solutions that minimize the impact on households and businesses when the damage is caused.
"Climate change poses many risks to society, and more frequent and intense weather events are a real challenge for grid operators. Even equipment designed and built to the highest standards can be completely destroyed by the most violent storms," says Armando Martinez, Director of Network Operations for the Iberdrola Group.
Martinez added: "Companies like Iberdrola are constantly improving and innovating processes, and we also carefully monitor and evaluate new technologies. However, we are confident that there are concepts currently being developed in labs and on whiteboards that could eventually become global game changers."
The winner will have the opportunity to conduct a pilot project combining the company's skills with Iberdrola's resources and market knowledge. If the pilot is a success, Iberdrola will include it in its maintenance tools. The winning company will also be given the opportunity to become a supplier.
Iberdrola, through its PERSEO Startup Program, is also open to discussions about the possibility of investing in the winning company.
"With the right support and advice, a good idea on paper can quickly become a core part of day-to-day business operations. We help you to transfer successful ideas into a pilot phase and then into a full supplier agreement. Ultimately, a concept to improve our processes could be in demand from grid operators around the world," said Agustin Delgado, Innovation Manager and Sustainability Officer at Iberdrola.
Companies interested in participating can register for the competition by 30 June via the Iberdrola website. Search for Iberdrola Startup Challenge.
With 34,000 employees, Iberdrola is the largest producer of wind power and one of the fifth largest energy supply companies in the world in terms of stock market value. The group is active in numerous countries and supplies electricity to over 100 million people. Turnover in 2017 amounted to 31.3 billion euros and net profit to 2.8 billion euros. Iberdrola is included in numerous international sustainability indices, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the FTSE 4Good. The Group is regarded as one of the most sustainable energy supply companies in the world.
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