Iberdrola Joins Forces with Basque Startup Woza to Shield its Power Lines from Climate Change
Iberdrola has teamed up with Bilbao, Biscay-based Woza Labs to protect its power lines from the effects of climate change. The startup will use its expertise to create digital solutions, like geographic information systems and satellite image analysis, helping Iberdrola's network business predict, plan, and measure climate risks that may cause damage to network assets.
Woza Labs was the winner of Iberdrola's PERSEO startup challenge, which was launched in October. The Basque business will devise a programme to assess how climate change and its derivatives—powerful winds, torrential rains, and Filomenas—may harm Iberdrola's grids. This will allow the company to prioritise grid investments or reforms to mitigate these risks. The aim is to scale this type of solution to the geographies where the group operates.
Distribution lines are one of the pillars of the global electricity system, becoming even more critical with the incorporation of renewable energy, the push for energy efficiency, and the enhancement of supply quality. Iberdrola wants to fix the distribution networks in forest areas with its 1.1 million electricity lines. Most of the problems in these areas are due to climate change.
Because the distribution grid is growing and environmental problems are getting worse, it needs investments to make it stronger so it can handle these threats. Iberdrola's grid business is significant. On November 9, at its Capital Markets & ESG Day, the company announced that it will put about €27 billion, or 57% of the total €47 billion it plans to invest between 2023 and 2025, into this business.
The enhancement of distribution lines is the way to transform the traditional unidirectional method of supplying power—from transmission grids to consumption sites—into one that serves as an intelligent and interactive platform. So, this infrastructure will be able to use more renewable energy and have more space for new developments like electric vehicles, self-consumption, and heating systems that use electricity.
The challenge was launched in collaboration with Iberdrola's new smart grid innovation centre, the Global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, as part of BiOK!, a meeting place offered by BEAZ (an entity of the Department of Economic Promotion of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia) for the generation of new business opportunities.
Iberdrola owns and operates power transmission and distribution lines in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Spain. This network comprises over 4,400 high- to medium-voltage substations and 1.5 million medium- to low-voltage distribution transformers that were developed and operated to offer high-quality and reliable service to 31 million electricity supply points.