Iberdrola seeks startups to inspect and digitise its wind farms

  • The electricity company will allocate more than half of the 15.5 billion investment planned for renewables between 2024-2026 to offshore installations
  • The aim is to find solutions to improve this type of wind farms with fully autonomous or remote-controlled equipment

Iberdrola’s commitment to offshore wind farms is absolute. Europe’s largest electricity company by stock market value, with around 80 billion euros, will invest around 15.5 billion euros in renewables between 2024 and 2026, 54% of which will go to offshore wind in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Through the PERSEO startup programme, the company is looking for solutions to improve its offshore wind installations with fully autonomous or remote-controlled equipment.

The mission is to improve the technology of these types of wind farms, as offshore environments are often harsh and experience extreme weather conditions. The equipment must be able to withstand these conditions to optimise maintenance inspections and reduce time and risk for employees. The safety of the workforce is one of the pillars of the utility. 

The PERSEO initiative is looking for a company to offer autonomous or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), subsea component inspection systems for turbines and substations (jackets, foundations, subsea cables…), image or video capture and condition scanning with subsequent data analysis – complete inspection packages including 3D modelling solutions or digital twins – and on-site preventive maintenance and repair capabilities when possible or necessary.

Interested companies should send their proposals to Iberdrola, and, following a selection process, the chosen company will conduct tests with PERSEO or another Iberdrola company that will cover the cost of these activities and provide the winner with all the technical assistance needed. This includes testing in a real data environment to evaluate the solution, access to tools, equipment, infrastructure, high-tech sites and shared work areas. The project will be developed in collaboration with specialised technicians from Iberdrola’s renewables and offshore business areas.

In addition, if the trial or test is successful, Iberdrola may offer the winner the opportunity to scale the solution through commercial agreements. Furthermore, PERSEO may consider investing in the participating company or in the winning solution of the challenge.

At the end of last year, Iberdrola had installed capacity of around 1,800 MW in offshore wind and some 3,000 MW already under construction, with the aim of reaching 4,800 MW of capacity in this technology by 2026. Its operational wind farms are in the United Kingdom (West of Duddon Sands and East Anglia One), Germany (Wikinger) and France (Saint Brieuc), while the German Baltic Eagle and the US Vineyard Wind, as well as the German Widanker and the British East Anglia Three, are scheduled to start up this year. 

The driving force behind start-ups in the energy sector

Since its creation in 2008, PERSEO has invested more than 175 million euros in startups that develop innovative technologies and business models, focusing on those that improve the sustainability of the energy sector through greater electrification and decarbonisation of the economy. The programme has focused its actions on the analysis of business opportunities and technological collaboration with startups and emerging companies around the world.

Through PERSEO, Iberdrola launched the Venture Builder programme in 2020 with 40 million euros for the creation of new business models aimed at supporting electrification in sectors that are difficult to decarbonise and the development of circular economy solutions, among others.

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