IBERDROLA AND GAS NATURAL FENOSA ARE TO SPEARHEAD A MAJOR SMARTGRID PROJECT IN MADRID
Backed by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology through the INNPACTO programme, and with a required outlay of €34 million
- The PRICE initiative aims to deploy smart grids throughout the Henares Corridor and will benefit the 500,000-plus customers of both companies living and working in the surrounding area
- IBERDROLA and GAS NATURAL FENOSA are heading the project, which boasts a further 22 technological and industrial partners, research centres and universities, along with the Spanish electricity grid operator (Red Eléctrica de España)
IBERDROLA and GAS NATURAL FENOSA have launched a joint initiative to complete initial deployment of smart grids in the Autonomous Community of Madrid and the province of Guadalajara, specifically within the Henares Corridor.
The PRICE project will benefit the 500,000-plus customer base of both companies living and working in the surrounding area and will entail the installation of roughly 200,000 smart meters -100,000 by each company- coupled with modification work on 1,600 transformer stations to bring them in line with this new approach to distributing electricity.
The initiative has the backing of the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology through the INNPACTO 2011 programme, which aims to foster cooperation between research bodies and companies and encourage joint R&D+i projects.
The estimated cost of the PRICE smart grid project, which exceeds €34 million, will be financed by the ministry through €21 million in loans and €3 million in subsidies, with IBERDROLA and NATURAL FENOSA undertaking to fund the remaining €10 million themselves in equal parts.
The initiative, which will run until 2014, will not only help to improve grid operations and maintenance, but will also optimise the gradual integration of renewable energies and distributed generation, encourage the use of electric vehicles and enable electricity suppliers to offer their customers a host of new services.
PRICE has the support of 22 members, including industrial and IT suppliers, research centres, universities and the Spanish electricity grid operator (REE).
IBERDROLA and GAS NATURAL FENOSA expect this project to become an international benchmark in the field of smart grids, given that its objectives include offering public, open and standard technological solutions that guarantee interoperability and competition.
A four-pronged project
This lofty initiative being spearheaded by the two leading electrical utilities within the Autonomous Community of Madrid has a four-pronged approach. Firstly, the aim is to upgrade existing distribution infrastructure so as to convert them into smart grids, allowing them to be monitored and operated remotely. Secondly, smart meters will be installed to ensure remote management of consumption and low-voltage generation, thus allowing the region to curb energy losses and improve imbalances within the grid.
Thirdly, and so as to promote reliance on distributed generation within the system, the initiative envisages the creation of control centres to optimise and oversee third-party generation of electricity output channelled into the grids of both IBERDROLA and GAS NATURAL FENOSA within this corridor of the wider region of Madrid and Guadalajara. With this objective in mind, two medium-voltage transmission lines will be upgraded so as to control the associated power flow and voltage.
Lastly, the PRICE project envisages a sustainable mobility study, installation of recharging stations for electric vehicles, and the creation of consumption control and management devices in certain buildings to gauge the response to demand management programmes aimed at adjusting consumption to specific tariffs.
The smart grids will provide customers with numerous advantages by paving the way for a number of remote services, such as reading consumption in real time, processing new contracts and terminating existing ones, and modifying contracted power. The new system will also heighten customer involvement within the electricity market, both in terms of generation and consumption, as they will now have the information required to modulate the market and help boost energy efficiency.
Moreover, the new grids will help increase the security of the electricity supply and improve quality of service.
Looking at the wider picture, smart grids are considered an essential part of meeting the 20/20/20 energy objective set by the European Union for 2020, which seeks to slash CO2
emissions by 20%, increase energy efficiency by 20%, and ensure that 20% of all energy consumed comes from renewable sources through the mass integration of electric vehicles, renewable energies and small generation plants, as well as the possibility of managing demand.
On this front, the PRICE project, headed by IBERDROLA and GAS NATURAL FENOSA, aims to cement the leadership of Spanish industry in electrical distribution infrastructures.