Renewables and energy industry leader Iberdrola is back for another startup challenge! This time, Iberdrola seeks innovative ways to automate its electrical substation control rooms. The Iberdrola Substation Control Room Automation Startup Challenge invites startups to apply today and offers and gain exciting benefits including solution testing and investment opportunities!
Iberdrola operates more than 400,000 Transformer Centers (TCs) in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Spain. The TCs house more than 1.5 million very high-to-medium voltage distribution transformers, built and operated to provide a high quality and reliable service to a total of 31 million electricity supply points.
Addressing the Challenge of Substation Control Room Monitoring
TCs have buildings or control rooms that contain electronic or other equipment, such as batteries, that are part of the control, protection, and telecommunications systems. This equipment is sensitive to environmental conditions and some, in the event of a failure, could cause gas emissions, excessive heat, etc.
Electrical substations are equipped with various features to ensure they are safe and user-friendly. These include lighting, heating & cooling systems, security cameras, motion detectors, and ventilation systems. However, these components are not always efficiently managed or automated based on real-time sensor data.
Automating these systems can enhance the lifespan of critical equipment in the substations. Additionally, having systems to detect potential problems can help prevent accidents. This not only keeps people safe but also protects the environment and the substation facilities.
Simplicity of Home Automation Systems + More Powerful = Perfect Solution
Home automation equipment is widely used in both industrial and home settings. Many businesses and individuals remotely control their environments, often through mobile apps. These controls include adjusting room temperatures, turning lights on and off, and more. They often combine sensors, a management platform, and a digital assistant device, like Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s Alexa, or Google’s Nest.
Iberdrola Substation Control Room Automation Startup Challenge is looking for solutions that are as simple and cost-effective as the ones available in the market, like the plug-and-play models used in homes. The needs for sensors and information in this context are quite similar to those in domestic settings.
However, when it comes to industrial use, the standards for the durability, safety, and reliability of control devices and sensors are higher than in home environments. This includes the need for robust equipment that can handle electromagnetic interference and maintain reliable performance in critical situations. Additionally, these systems must be cyber-secure and integrate seamlessly with advanced infrastructure systems, such as i-DE’s SmartPoint.
What is SmartPoint?
In addition to local automation, Iberdrola has been committed to the digitalization of tasks for years to benefit from its benefits, such as cost reduction, increased productivity, improved user experience, improved competitive positioning, reduced time, and improved communication.
i-DE (Iberdrola group’s distributor in Spain) already has a platform, SmartPoint, that is developed on AWS. It acts as an IoT device manager, runs AI algorithms and manages a digital twin of facilities. It abstracts the data captured from the manufacturer/sensor to avoid information silos derived from the use of the manufacturer’s individual platforms — generating a “place” with the ability to “mix” data from different sources for decision-making. So, the proposed solution should be able to communicate with SmartPoint if necessary.
Match Your Solution Capabilities with Iberdrola’s Functional Requirements
The situations that the challenge aims to solve include the following aspects:
- Temperatures outside the appropriate ranges for the maintenance of equipment, particularly electronics and batteries
- Condensation due to insufficient humidity control
- Excessive consumption of air conditioning
- Aging and failure of air conditioning equipment due to excessive periods of operation
- Lights on without presence
- Inadequate gas extraction
- Intrusion of people and animals, including rodents
The minimum functional requirements of the proposed solution are as follows:
- Intelligent climate control, adapted to the needs of substation control equipment in terms of temperature
- Interior and exterior lighting control
- Alarm generation by local sensor processing, including:
- Climate control failures (unusual temperatures, humidity, or lighting)
- Intrusion by people or animals
The following aspects will also be evaluated:
- Sensor Selection
- Manager/gateway that acts as a signal aggregator, computes at the edge
- Cloud Communication (AWS) to notify alarms,
- Ability to attend virtually and make calls.
- Remote, local voice, automatable.
- Electromagnetic compatibility at the substation level
- Cybersecurity: information encryption
- Device Fleet Management (OTA)
Why Should You Apply for the Substation Control Room Automation Challenge?
The winner of Iberdrola Substation Control Room Automation Startup Challenge will receive the following benefits:
- Collaboration Agreement & Pilot Test: The prize for the winner consists of a collaboration and test agreement with PERSEO or any other Iberdrola group company. The group will support the cost of the pilot activities.
- Access-all-Areas: Iberdrola will provide the winner with all necessary technical support, as well as a site and real data to test the solution. This includes access to equipment, teams, infrastructure, high-technology sites, and shared work areas.
- Scale Your Technology: If the pilot test is satisfactory, Iberdrola may offer the winner the opportunity to scale up the solution by adapting it through commercial agreements.
- Potential Investment: What’s more, PERSEO will consider investing in the participating company and/or the winner of the challenge.
- BONUS: Your solution will also be included directly in a world leader in smart grids, the Global Smart Grids Innovation (GSGI) Hub registration process, as a collaborator. You will be able to benefit from the services, activities, and resources that the hub makes available.
How to Apply for the Iberdrola Global Challenge?
Submit your proposals via https://connect.startus.cc/iberdrola-startup-challenge-substation-control-room-automation/ in Spanish or English by 21st January 2024!
Each Proposal must include:
1) General information:
- Participant data — If the participant is a team or a legal entity, the representative applying must identify themselves as such and should include a certificate of their power of attorney to represent the team or legal entity
- Link to the website (optional)
- Address (city, country)
- Contact information (contact person, job title, email, telephone number)
2) Description of the Proposal:
- Description of the solution in 50 characters
- Presentation of the company/organization
- Demo or video link (optional)
- Maturity of the solution (R&D, proof of concept, entire commercial proposal)
- Preliminary investment and improvements in times and CAPEX
- Description of required construction activities
- Contractual agreements
- Reference numbers
3) List of Intellectual Property Rights:
- Owned by the participant
- Granted to the participant under a license
- Created by or on behalf of the participant
Iberdrola is no stranger to working with startups and emerging companies — over the last two years, the Group has launched over 22 innovation challenges to address pressing issues in today’s energy networks.
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