Iberdrola to Use UAVs for Power Lines Monitoring

iberdrola

Iberdrola—a Spanish private multinational electric utility company—and the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI —Spain’s National Innovation Agency) have entered into an agreement today with the Salamanca-based company Arbórea Intellbird, S.L. The two institutions will be investing a total of €500,000 ($663,000) in the company that is making unmanned aircraft to monitor electricity production and distribution.

This transaction is the first investment to be made in the area of Energy and Environment under the auspices of the Innvierte scheme. It signals the acquisition of stakes in the capital of Arbórea by Iberdrola (via the Perseo fund) and the CDTI (via the Innvierte scheme), with a view to boosting the company’s development and giving it a strong foothold in its sector.

In this regard, it is interesting to remember that Iberdrola has already entered into an agreement with the CDTI, according to which they will jointly invest over €25 million in new technologies for the energy sector.

Arbórea Intellbird, S.L., a company with headquarters at the University of Salamanca Science Park, focuses on the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles for use in various professional settings, including the inspection of electricity production and distributioninfrastructure. Its first product, the Eol6 “arachnocopter”, is a collapsible multi-rotor helicopter intended for use in inspecting wind turbinevanes.

The “arachnocopter” and its associated software platform allow to increase the efficiency of maintenance inspections on wind turbines, reducing downtime and achieving a level of detail that is much higher than traditional inspection methods.

This technological investment reflects the commitment of Iberdrola and the CDTI towards fostering entrepreneurship and the industrial sector in Spain. It is being made as part of their joint effort to promote innovative projects that allow for a change in the productive model in order to achieve a more sustainable society.

The priority goal of the Innvierte scheme is to harness public-private venture capital with a view to promoting the set-up and consolidation of innovative technology-based companies with a high potential for growth.

Iberdrola has been involved in this scheme since 2012, when it was selected on the basis of its prior experience in venture capital initiatives via the Perseo fund, which was created by the company for investments in sustainable cutting-edge technologies in the energy sector, such as marine energy or systems linked to energy efficiency.

Perseo, which was set up in the year 2008, has an annual budget of €6 million for investments in technological advances that can guarantee that the Group will remain at the forefront of the energy sector because of its access to the most advanced technologies.

Iberdrola is making direct investments in technological start-ups operating in the energy sector and has already earmarked over €25 million for new projects focusing on energy efficiency, marine energy and CO2 capture technology.

Perseo is one of the prongs of Iberdrola’s R&D innovation strategy. The company allocated €145 million towards this area in 2012, up 6.6% on the previous year. This figure means that it is the premier Spanish utility and the fifth in Europe in terms of innovation, according to the ranking drawn up by the European Commission.