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electrical system

In order to make the energy transition possible, the Red Eléctrica Group, through its subsidiary Red Eléctrica de España, will invest a total of 3,221 million euros nationwide in the development of the high voltage transmission grid and in electricity system operation. This figure represents just over half (53%) of the total investment of 6 billion euros that the Company plans to make in the coming years as part of its new 2018-2022 Strategic Plan and that will focus on the integration of renewables.

Of the more than 3,000 million euros that have been earmarked for the energy transition, 1,538 million will be focused on the integration of clean energy (47%), 908 million on bolstering the reliability of the transmission grids and strengthening security of supply, 434 million will be allocated to continue implementing cutting-edge technological and digital tools, 215 million to boost energy storage projects and 54 million will be earmarked for energy control systems.

Both as the transmission agent and system operator, we work to respond to the needs of the energy transition, providing the technology that enables a smarter system in order to further guarantee the security and quality of supply with a higher share of intermittent renewable generation, and at the same time be able to manage an electricity system that is increasingly more complex and which makes it possible to integrate a greater number of energy sources distributed nationwide.

With regard to the development and strengthening of the transmission grid, the road map for 2019 onwards encompasses a great number of projects, many of which are already in the implementation phase. Many of them are key for achieving the European Union’s targets set out in their energy and environmental policy: for example, the interconnection with France across the Bay of Biscay in order to continue making progress towards reaching the cross-border interconnection capacity target with France set at 10%, or many other projects scattered nationwide focused on integrating new renewable generation and that seek to contribute to achieving a share of 32% of carbon-free energy in the generation mix by 2030.

2018 has seen the start of many of projects aimed at facilitating the energy transition. In this regard and with this objective in mind, the total investment made by the Company in transmission grid development in the last twelve months has amounted to 378.2 million euros.

In 2018, some particularly relevant projects were undertaken:

  • The Canary Islands Wind Energy Plan. This plan encompasses the development of the transmission grid in order to provide it with sufficient connection points and capacity to evacuate new wind energy generation.
  • The Arenal – Cala Blava – Llucmajor axis (Majorca). A project aimed at improving support for electricity distribution in the central area of the island of Majorca and facilitating the integration of renewables.
  • The San Miguel de Salinas – Torrevieja line (Alicante). This project helps provide better electricity supply to Torrevieja, as well as contribute to supporting the distribution network and increasing security of supply.
  • The Cañuelo – Pinar axis (Cádiz). This project helps support the electricity distribution network in the area and helps deal with the high level of demand coming from the Port of Algeciras and the Campo de Gibraltar.
  • The 400/220 kV La Farga substation and the associated incoming and outgoing feeder lines (Girona). This project helps strengthen the existing 220-kV grid by connecting it to the 400-kV grid in order to guarantee the security of supply and to support the electricity distribution network in the province of Girona.
  • The Arbillera line (Zamora). This project is designed to provide power for the high speed ​​train in the Zamora-Ourense railway section.
  • The incoming and outgoing feeder lines of the Moncayo substation (Soria). This project facilitates the evacuation of installed renewable generation capacity in the area and strengthens the guarantee of supply in the province of Soria.

2018 has also brought with it other relevant data that reflect the efforts being made by the Company to help make the energy transition a reality and, in particular, the integration of renewables nationwide. Thus, peninsular electricity generation that produces zero CO2 emissions reached a share of 62.5%, compared to 57% in 2017, representing an increase of 5.5 percentage points. This increase in clean generation resulted in 15% less emissions: going from 63.8 million tonnes in 2017 to 54.2 million tonnes in 2018. With regard to combined cycle and coal-fired technologies, these have decreased their share in the generation mix by 22% and 18%, respectively, compared to the previous year.

Nuclear energy (20.6%) continues to be ranked in the top position within the generation mix, nonetheless, in 2018 it was followed closely by wind energy (19%). As a whole, renewable generation has gone from 33.7% to 40.1% in the peninsular system, representing an increase of 6.4 percentage points. In the complete set of renewable energy technologies, wind represented 49%, hydro 34%, solar 11%, and the other renewable technologies represented 5%. All this data is taken from the ‘Spanish Electricity System – Preliminary Report 2018’ published by Red Eléctrica.

The five pillars of the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

Facilitating the energy transition is just the first of the pillars of the new Strategic Plan of the Red Eléctrica Group. Although the Company is especially focused on this area, in keeping with its key role as transmission agent and operator of the electricity system, there are other goals that it is also undertaking: expanding the telecommunications business to become a strategic global telecom infrastructure operator; expanding its activity abroad in the electricity and telecommunications sectors; becoming a reference in technological innovation in the fields associated with the activities it carries out, and strengthening its operational efficiency and financial soundness.

In order to achieve these goals, the Company will invest a total of 6 billion euros over the next five years based on a balanced business model between the Company’s regulated activities and those operations subject to market risk and by diversifying business in a controlled manner, thereby boosting the expansion of operations in Spain as well as in the international arena. In addition, an improved business structure will be defined and implemented within the Group and the resources of its various subsidiaries will be strengthened.

This new Strategic Plan is the Company’s response to the challenges posed by the transformation of the production system model, marked by sustainability and the technological disruption. Electricity, telecommunications and talent are considered today as the new raw materials of economic development and are also the distinguishing features of Red Eléctrica’s new strategy.

Source: Red Eléctrica de España

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For another year, Acciona has revalidated its position as the “greenest” electric power generation company in the world. It has held this position since 2015 in the “New Energy Top 100 Green Utilities” ranking of Energy Intelligence, an independent consultancy that specialises in energy markets.

The ranking, which has just been published in its seventh edition, selects a hundred of the best electricity generation companies in the world and classifies them based on their CO2 emissions and installed capacity in renewable technologies (excluding hydroelectric) to determine their level of involvement in the transition to a low-carbon electric power system.

Acciona continues to be the main pure player in renewables and stands in first place in the world ranking of the US-based firm. In its report, Energy Intelligence highlights the growing role that specialised renewables companies such as Acciona play in achieving an ever cleaner energy system worldwide.

The 100 companies that make up the ranking total 3,370 gigawatts (GW) and account for around 50% of electricity generation capacity in the world. European companies figure prominently in the Top 10, with five companies, together with three from China and two from the USA. After Acciona, the greenest utilities are China General Nuclear, Iberdrola (ES), E.On (AL), NextEra Energy (US), Invenergy (US), EDP (Portugal), China Energy Investment, Orsted (DK) y State Power Investment (Ch).

An analysis of the Top 100 Green Utilities of Energy Intelligence reveals, among other things, that the companies listed had CO2 emissions below 500 kg/MWh last year (precisely 495 kg/MWh, as opposed to 565 kg/MWh in 2011).

It also highlights that, in the seven years of the study, non-hydro renewables have almost tripled in the ranking, up to 299 GW (116 GW in 2011). In this respect, Energy Intelligence emphasizes the role played by European electricity companies that have undergone greater transformations in their generation assets, adding a total of 35 GW in wind and solar in that period and divested in fossil assets to the extent of 90 GW.

Schneider Electric has announced an agreement to design and build a microgrid within critical buildings in the city of Milford, Connecticut. The technology will offer power resiliency during harsh weather. At a time when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Sandy offered municipalities a reminder of the importance of installing resilient power in critical facilities, and the US Department of Energy’s 2017 Grid Reliability Study includes microgrids as a way to provide necessary resilience.

The agreement will enable Schneider Electric to design and build a microgrid that performs on multiple levels. The microgrid will operate during grid outages, providing a resilient power supply to structures within the City of Milford that are crucial for public safety, health, and emergency response, as well as providing safe refuge during superstorms. In addition, the microgrid will provide the town with hard dollar cost savings and more sustainable energy usage.

In addition to providing the city of Milford with a resilient power supply, the microgrid will also offer Milford cost savings by reducing electricity consumption at four city buildings and heating fuel consumption at the Parsons Government Center. Additionally, the city will be using Virtual Net Metering Credits to reduce electricity costs at its other facilities. These reductions will help Milford achieve net savings on energy costs annually. With financing provided by a highly efficient Tax Exempt Lease Purchase (TELP), the city can take advantage of much lower cost of capital than a typical power purchase agreement, retaining more of its cost savings from the microgrid.

Schneider Electric’s new microgrid in Milford will power five critical facilities within the town, including a middle school, the senior center, River Park Elderly Apartments, the Parsons Government Center, and City Hall. The middle school, Parsons, and the senior center will be available as shelters for Milford residents when power outages occur.

The microgrid will be powered by a clean CHP system, which generates electricity and heat more efficiently than traditional generation. The microgrid will be solar-ready, with infrastructure installed so that solar PV panels may be added in the future for additional cost savings and sustainability, and will use a battery energy storage system to reduce peak power consumption from the local energy grid. These solutions will combine to make Milford’s energy consumption more sustainable.

The city of Milford received a grant from the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to provide funding for design, engineering, and connecting the buildings with underground cables. Milford will fund a generator that will supply heat and power, in addition to the battery energy storage system, while Schneider Electric will offer its microgrid design.

Source: Schneider Electric

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has published a new report on the global storage market. 2017 Global Energy Storage Forecast reveals that this market will grow to a cumulative 125 GW/305 GWh by 2030, attracting US$103 billion in investment over this period. Although this will represent a fraction of total installed generation capacity, the electricity system will look fundamentally different. Utility-scale storage becomes a practical alternative to new-build generation or network reinforcement, especially for underutilised assets in some markets. Behind-the-meter storage will increasingly be used to provide system services, such as peaking capacity, on top of customer applications.

The global energy storage market will double six times between 2016 and 2030, rising to a total of 125 GW/305 GWh. This is a similar trajectory to the remarkable expansion that the solar industry went through from 2000 to 2015, in which the share of photovoltaic as a percentage of total generation doubled seven times.

Regionally, energy storage build will be roughly equally spread across APAC, EMEA and the AMER. In the earlier years, between 2017 and 2020, APAC will represent almost half of the total installed capacity as South Korea, Japan, Australia and China have supported earlier build in these markets. Eight countries will lead the market, with 70% of capacity to be installed in the US, China, Japan, India, Germany, the UK, Australia and South Korea by 2030. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY December 2017 – January 2018

Last 2 November the Chilean government officially announced the Award of the National and International Public Tender to Supply Electrical Power and Capacity 2017/01, which offered 2,200 GWh/year of energy and will cover the electricity needs of regulated clients (homes and SMEs) of the National Electrical System over 20 years as from 2024.

The planning of this “National and International Public Tender to Supply Electrical Power and Capacity to cover the consumption of clients subject to price regulation (Supply Bid 2017/01)” started in December last year with the issue of the preliminary bidding terms to electricity distribution companies and continued with the publication of the definitive terms of the tender process in January this year.

24 national and foreign power companies submitted tenders under this auction, mainly for renewable energy. According to the CNE, around 20,700 GWh of energy was bid under this auction, almost 9 times the energy demand. Companies presented prices that started at 21.48 US$/MWh, with an average price of 32.5 US$/MWh finally awarded, incorporating new players into the electricity market most of which come from the renewable energy sector.

This supply bid is the third carried out by the government via its Tenders Law No. 20.805 and comprises seven supply blocks amounting to 1,700 GWh, with quarterly blocks totalling 500 GWh of energy, all effective as of 1 January, 2024 until 31 December, 2043.

This time around, 100% of the energy awarded was renewable, equivalent to some 600 MW of installed capacity in new renewables projects and which, in line with government sources, could attract around US$1 billion in investment in new infrastructure for the country.

Two auctions have already taken place under the current government. The first auction took place in October 2015 for 1,200 GWh/year, in which 30 tenders were submitted, all for renewable energy. This auction reached an average price of 79.3 US$/MWh, 40% lower than the 2013 auction that achieved 129 US$/MWh. In the second auction for 12,430 GWh/year, held in 2016, 84 tenders were received and an average price of 47.6 US$/MWh was awarded.

The price of the energy achieved in this tender is a landmark for the sector, given that it is the lowest price ever awarded in Chile. Thanks to these auctions, the price of energy for Chilean households has dropped by 75% in the last three years. The price of energy currently being paid by homes is 90 US$/MWh, the result of contracts entered into up until 2014. With this latest tender, it is hoped that new contracts will gradually bring down prices to around 50 US$/MWh, directly benefitting households.

The winners


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AES Dominicana announced that it brought online 20 MW of new battery-based energy storage arrays at two sites in the Dominican Republic, which played a key role in maintaining grid reliability in September when Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island. The two 10 MW arrays, which were supplied by AES Energy Storage, are the first of their kind in Central America and the Caribbean. Located on sites in the Santo Domingo region, both arrays are providing critical grid reliability services for the island by improving the efficiency and contributing to the stability of the Dominican Republic’s interconnected national electricity system (SENI).

AES Dominicana is using its Andres and Los Mina DPP Advancion energy storage arrays to provide fast, accurate frequency control to the Dominican grid, balancing second-to-second variations between electricity consumed and produced. By adding energy storage instead of utilizing existing thermal power plants to maintain frequency, the Dominican grid operator can enable the power plants on the island to run at their most efficient generating level while the battery systems absorb and discharge energy on the grid as needed. AES Dominicana’s 20 MW of energy storage is providing fast-response, critical reliability services that would otherwise be performed by a traditional thermal power plant three times the size.

In September 2017, the Dominican grid operator put the two energy storage arrays to a critical test: asking AES Dominicana to keep them online and operational to ensure grid reliability as two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, each approached the island. Both energy storage arrays performed more than double the amount of work during the storms as normal, helping keep the Dominican grid operating during category 3 and 4 hurricane conditions, even as nearly 40 and 55 percent of the island’s power plants were forced offline during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, respectively.

From supplying day-to-day balancing services and flexible peaking capacity to making island grids more resilient in the face of extreme weather events, advanced energy storage can provide island utilities with the critical and cost-effective flexible resource they need to provide reliable power to their communities.

Source: AES Energy Storage

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Electro Power Systems S.A. (“EPS”) announces the signing with Endesa of an EPC contract for the design, construction and commissioning of a 20 MW utility-scale storage system.

EPS will deliver a unique turnkey solution for serving Endesa’s thermoelectric plant Carboneras located in Almeria, Spain. The storage system will be the largest in Spain and will be composed by 24 inverters, 16 containers of which 8 for PCS and 8 for Li-ion storage, with a total installed capacity of 20 MW/11.7 MWh.


The installation of this utility-scale system aims to make the plant more flexible and improve its response to the load fluctuations in the current electricity system resulting from the intermittency caused by an increased penetration of renewables. The addition of storage is also expected to reduce maintenance costs for the plant’s main components and extend their useful life.

The project is part of the general evolution of the Carboneras coal plant to better serve the current electricity system. A significant penetration of intermittent renewable energies, mainly wind power, are forcing the plant to adjust its production and implement backup functions to meet electricity demand at all times.

The project is scheduled to enter into operation in June 2018.

Source: EPS

Acciona Energía now allocates 2,000 MW of wind power capacity to provide adjustment services to the electric power system in Spain. This represents a new technological milestone in terms of the full participation of renewable energy sources in the system and their ability to attain high levels of penetration in it.

The accreditation, which requires renewables to pass the same tests as conventional sources, is issued by Red Eléctrica de España (REE) as the technical operator of the system in Spain and the body responsible for its operation under optimal quality and security conditions.


The so-called “adjustment services” –also known as ancillary or balance services- are there to ensure the constant balance between power generation and demand, and they are remunerated. This balance is essential, given that all the electricity produced at a given time has to be consumed at that moment. If not corrected in time, any decoupling between supply and demand could jeopardize the quality of the electricity supply.

Objective: 3,500 MW

The company’s objective is to reach 3,500 MW of wind-based capacity to participate in adjustment services: technical restrictions markets, tertiary control and management of deviations, plus a certain capacity for secondary control still pending award.

Traditionally, adjustment services have been provided by conventional technologies such as thermal power stations or large-scale hydropower instalations. However, the technological evolution of renewables, together with the development of more sophisticated forecasting and management tools, have opened the door to their inclusion in these markets.

Acciona uses the latest technology, both in the management of energy – which it carries out through its subsidiary Acciona Green Energy Developments – and in the remote control of its generation facilities, undertaken by its Renewable Energy Control Center (CECOER) in constant coordination with REE.

The participation of renewables in adjustment services of the electric power system highlights the level of development these technologies have achieved. This means their integration into the grid can be increased, sometimes exceeding 70% of overall demand at a given moment in Spain without any negative effects on the quality, stability and security of the grid.

According to figures from REE, the volume of energy managed in the adjustment services of the Spanish power system in 2015 was 18,206 GWh, – 6.8% of all the power generated – with an associated cost of 1,040 million euros. The penetration of renewables in the total power generated on the Iberian Peninsula reached 36.9% last year, with a peak of 70.4% in coverage of instant power generation from wind power. This figure, a record that has not been beaten to date, was recorded on November 21st, 2015.  n the first eleven months of 2016 renewables produced 42.2% of the electricity generated in Spain (not including the island power systems).

Source: Acciona Energía

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Unión Fenosa Distribución has incorporated the use of drones in the supervision of their electricity installations. Their innovative use represents a big step forward: it complements helicopter flights that capture information and replaces activities such as rooftop inspections, which will all be carried out by these remote controlled devices.


How do they work?

The project team comprises a certified pilot, who flies the aircraft, and an operator, who deals with the information collected, together they control the drone up to a maximum height of 50 metres to focus its zoom on the most important areas for operational support or elements that need to be inspected. Once a target has been located, it collects information from all angles and focuses on the power cables to display the line trajectory and its surroundings.

It increases operator safety because it reduces the number of times work is carried out at height by people for the thorough inspection of support structures or checking outdoor substations. Furthermore, it increases productivity in power line checking by 20% and allows costs to be reduced by up to 30%.

The drones check over 235 km of power lines in the province of Leon

For the last five months, Unión Fenosa Distribución has been using drones to check the more than 250 kilometres of high-voltage power lines and 1,000 support structures managed by the company in the province of Leon. In this region, drones have been used on over 350 kilometres and checked over 1,800 high-voltage support structures.

Unión Fenosa Distribución supplies electricity to almost 168,000 supply points in 117 municipalities in the province of Leon via a power grid of almost 7,300 kilometres. In Castile-Leon, the company manages 310,000 supply points in 325 municipalities via a high-, medium- and low-voltage power grid of over 14,300 kilometres.

Source: Gas Natural Fenosa

Schneider Electric has launched Smartlink ELEC, a system designed for the owners and managers of small companies whose activity relies on devices connected to the electrical grid. It is essential for this type of business to have access to their electrical installation in order to monitor it and detect any possible faults, so as to avoid direct repercussions on the operation of their company. The Smartlink ELEC solution is able to connect to and control the electrical grid from anywhere via a free mobile app, enabling the management of the devices and the development of the business.

Smartlink ELEC converts an electrical distribution switchboard into a communication system, by collecting information on the installation and sending the data to the cloud, where it is processed and analysed. The data is then sent to the mobile, where the user can clearly and easily view it and take the necessary steps to manage their business as efficiently as possible.

This system requires no complicated installation or special programming. All that has to be done is install the Acti 9 Smartlink ELEC device in the switchboard and connect it to the grid via an Ethernet cable to a router.

The Smartlink ELEC device is able to perform the following actions:

  • 24/7 real time connection to the electrical installation, for total peace of mind.
  • Visualising and monitoring the status of the electrical system.
  • Receiving a warning if any critical electrical device is unexpectedly disconnected.
  • Receiving a notification in the event of anomalies, such as an increase in temperature levels, humidity or CO2 over and above established standards.
  • Monitoring the energy consumption.
  • Remotely controlling the electrical switchgear.
  • Increasing security and energy efficiency.
  • Remotely reconnecting the electrical protection activated to return the device to its normal status.
  • Remotely disconnecting the lighting, heating, illuminated signs, neon signage, etc., when not needed.
  • Remotely programming the schedule for the lighting and other devices to cover actual demand.