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Leaders in the fight against climate change, Iberdrola, is actively contributing to the creation of a sustainable and low-carbon future. With their current main environmental goal being to achieve a 30% reduction of CO2 by 2020, to ultimately become carbon neutral by 2050, GPEX News were keen to hear more.

Ahead of the Global Power & Energy Exhibition (GPEX) taking place 17-20 September in Barcelona, GPEX News spoke with confirmed speaker and Chief Innovation & Sustainability Officer at Iberdrola, Agustin Delgado Martin to hear more about digitalisation and exactly how they are driving the energy transition. 

GPEX News: How is Iberdrola driving the energy transition in Spain and internationally?

Agustin Delgado Martin: Iberdrola has accelerated the energy transition by setting the right processes towards a sustainable, secure and competitive model, to result in more clean energy, storage capacity, networks and digitalisation.

  • A leader in clean energy: Iberdrola is the first renewable producer amongst European utilities and the cleanest power company in the USA, with almost zero emissions. 
  • A leader in Networks and digitalisation: Iberdrola also promotes the development of smart grids and has become a pioneer in digitisation, with over ten million smart meters installed. 
  • A leader in energy storage: 4.5GW of large-scale, efficient, pumped storage capacity in operation and construction.
  • A leader in research, development and innovation: Iberdrola is the most innovative Spanish utility, the second in Europe and the fourth in the world with the largest volume of resources dedicated to R&D.
  • A leader in the fight against climate change: Iberdrola is working hard to create awareness around the fight against climate change, to further encourage companies, citizens and policymakers to take bold actions.

GPEX News: What would you say are the key challenges to utilities’ transition to clean energy?

Agustin Delgado Martin: Transitioning to a low-carbon electricity system will require innovations across the system, including:

New disruptive technologies and enabling infrastructure: In addition to the development of renewable energy generation technologies, the electrification of the economy will involve the complementary deployment of flexible capacity, the integration of electricity storage, the electrification of large sectors (as transport and heating) and the deployment of electric vehicles. 

New regulatory and market structures and new business models: Current market, regulatory, and business structures are designed to support the fossil fuel-based model of generation; Moving to a low-carbon future requires new regulatory frameworks, for instance:

  • Facilitate a reasonable return on investment in large-scale renewables (with high up-front investment costs and relatively low operational costs). 
  • Capacity Mechanisms should be introduced to ensure the level of security of supply required.
  • Facilitating the electrification of road transport (as well as the heating and cooling sectors as appropriate).
  • Upgrade network remuneration models to incent the optimal use of existing infrastructure, new smart grids and future distributed energy resources.
  • Changing the role and expectations of electricity customers: Innovative technologies and further innovation in market design and regulation would allow customer generation, storage, and flexible demand to substitute fossil fuel generation as a grid flexibility resource. 

GPEX News: What are the opportunities for energy digitalisation?

Agustin Delgado Martin: Digital technologies have tremendous potential to contribute to growth in the sector:

  • Asset life cycle management: Technology solutions can enable real-time, remote-control or predictive maintenance to extend the life cycle or operating efficiency of the generation, transmission or distribution assets and infrastructure. 
  • Grid optimisation and aggregation: Grid optimisation is possible through real-time load balancing, network controls and end-to-end connected markets.
  • Integrated customer services: Innovative digitally enabled products and services relating to energy generation and energy management are bundled into an integrated customer service. 
  • Beyond the electron: Hyper-personalized connected services beyond the electricity value chain, that adapt to the consumer. Electricity moves from being a commodity to becoming an experience. 

GPEX News: Which innovative technology do you think will change the face of the energy industry?

Agustin Delgado Martin: Three trends, in particular, are converging to produce game-changing disruptions along the electricity system: Electrification, decentralisation and digitalisation. In this scenario, grid edge technologies and smart grid themselves will play a key role:

  • Becoming a platform that integrates storage resources, electric vehicles and renewable energy resources, maximising the value of distributed energy systems such as photovoltaic solar or wind farms.
  • Allowing active customer participation to enable far better energy conservation.
  • Addressing contingency needs, optimising power flow and minimising system losses.
  • Providing the detection of precursors of failure in order to drive preventive maintenance and dynamic work management systems.

GPEX News: Where do you see Iberdrola in the next 5-10 years?

Agustin Delgado Martin: In the next 5 years, Iberdrola will make an effort of 32.000 M€ in order to keep driving the energy transition. For example: 

  • Increase renewable capacity and storage capacity. 
  • Complete the full deployment of smart meters and smarter networks, adapting to the new needs of consumers, such as the incorporation of electric vehicles.
  • Promote new technological solutions which adapt to the habits of the customer, increasing its connectivity. 
  • Digitalisation and innovation will be one of the strategic pillars. In 2017 alone, Iberdrola allocated more than 246 million euros to R&D activities, 17% more than the previous year. 

GPEX News: You will be speaking at the GPEX 2018 Summit this September, what do you expect the outcomes of the event to be?

Agustin Delgado Martin: At the Summit, the main challenges, strategies, technologies and innovations shaping our energy future will be addressed. We should contribute to stimulate a collaborative culture throughout the value chain of the energy sector. In addition, governments should be aware of the need to address regulatory, legal and market design issues. Regarding the citizens, we should create awareness around the fight against climate change and encourage their participation and contribution. 


Agustin Delgado Martin
Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer



The Global Power and Energy Exhibition, taking place in Barcelona on 17-20 September, will showcase the strategies and technologies needed to adapt to the global energy transition. Do not miss out and register now to join the global power and energy leaders.