ORANGE, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR), a leading sustainable energy company and part of the Iberdrola Group, yesterday held its sixth annual Innovation Forum, titled “Accelerating Transformation,” which showcased some of AVANGRID’s most innovative approaches to converting the grid to green energy.
“We are at an unprecedented time in the history of our world,” said Pedro Azagra, CEO of AVANGRID. “The global community has recognized the risks posed by climate change, and together AVANGRID and Iberdrola have an important role in the collective effort to transition to clean and sustainable energy. “The clean energy transformation presents new and challenges as well as valuable opportunities. Today we witnessed an amazing demonstration of how our company is innovating to meet these challenges and seize these opportunities for the benefit of our customers, our communities and our shareholders.
Former Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee kicked off the event with a keynote address outlining how clean energy policy can be a catalyst for innovation in the private sector. Klee’s presentation drew lessons from his time as the state’s energy policy leader and his current role as managing director of clean energy programming at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. “The climate crisis requires urgent action from a policy, innovation and capital deployment perspective,” Klee said. “Companies like AVANGRID and Iberdrola provide global innovation opportunities to accelerate America’s energy transformation.”
Energy sector innovations showcased by AVANGRID, the country’s third-largest renewable energy operator, included “digital twins” for onshore wind gearboxes that predict mechanical component wear and automatically trigger preventative maintenance to to minimize downtime of renewable energy generators.
The company’s networks business, which serves more than 3 million customers in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New York, has shown how harnessing imagery from low-earth satellites can provide high-resolution images of the power distribution network to gain information for better storm response. and vegetation management that were previously expensive and difficult to acquire.
“As an academic and researcher specializing in the optimization of large-scale energy systems, I am delighted to see an industry partner like AVANGRID place such a strong emphasis on innovation in the renewable energy sector,” said Andy Sun, who is the Iberdrola-AVANGRID Professor of Electrical Power Systems at MIT Sloan School of Management. Sun co-led a panel discussion with other leading energy researchers on the next phase of technological disruption facing the industry. The panel was also moderated by Emmanouil Anagnostou, Research Dean of the University of Connecticut School of Engineering and Founding Director of the Eversource Energy Center, and Manel Martinez, Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Engineering. Electrical and Computer Science from the University of New Mexico and a member of the Decision Support Research Group at the NM SMART Grid Center.
AVANGRID invested over $90 million in energy innovation projects in 2021 and is on track to increase that investment this year. The company operates approximately 8.4GW of wind and solar generation and is a leader in the emerging offshore wind industry with 2.4GW under contract, including its flagship 800MW Vineyard Wind 1 project, a 50/50 joint venture with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
AVANGRID and its global partner Iberdrola also highlighted their growing portfolio of cutting-edge green hydrogen projects aimed at decarbonizing heavy transport and energy-intensive industrial processes that are difficult to electrify, such as the manufacture of fertilizers for the agricultural sector. . Agustin Delgado, Innovation Director of Iberdrola, and Santiago Bañales, Managing Director of Iberdrola Innovation Middle East, also participated and presented at the event.
“AVANGRID and Iberdrola have always been at the forefront of the development of renewable energy markets, from onshore wind to offshore wind, and the same goes for green hydrogen, which is truly a promising tool for the global decarbonization goal,” says Azagra. “We are strengthened in our resolve to lead the green hydrogen market by the tremendous interest and support the Biden administration is providing through its Hydrogen Hubs initiative and landmark clean energy legislation.”
In addition to next-gen technology, the annual innovation event also celebrated the next generation of talent, headlined by more than 30 students from Cornell, UConn, Harvard, MIT, Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale who participated in the AVANGRID Innovation Challenge and the company’s inaugural Clean Energy Hackathon event. Both the innovation challenge and hackathon paired teams of students with subject matter experts from AVANGRID to develop solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the energy industry. Challenge winners receive a $10,000 scholarship, and the Hackathon offers cash prizes to first-, second-, and third-place student teams. The winning team for this year’s Innovation Challenge was led by Shiang-Wan Chin and Akshay Ajagekar, doctoral students at Cornell University, who developed a case study exploring the applications and impact of quantum computing for the utilities and renewable energy sectors. The winners of the hackathon were Yale School of Management MBA candidates Nick Page, Perry Bakas and Himanshu Krishman, who delivered a data-driven solution to the problem of strategic deployment of electric vehicle charging stations in just 32 hours of calculation.
“To lead change, we need to invest in innovation, and the talent and technology that drives it,” Azagra said. “The path to a cleaner future depends on our ability to modernize and expand our grid infrastructure – the backbone of our country’s energy system. As such, AVANGRID will play a central role in enabling this transformation. The work we do is vitally important in shaping the world in which we live.
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the premier sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, Connecticut, with approximately $40 billion in assets and operations in 24 US states, AVANGRID has two primary business segments: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs over 7,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021 and 2022 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s Best Corporate Citizens. In 2022, AVANGRID ranked second in the utilities sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies 2022 for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. AVANGRID is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, SA For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
About Iberdrola: Iberdrola is one of the world’s largest energy companies and a leader in renewable energy, spearheading the energy transition to a low-carbon economy. The group provides energy to nearly 100 million people in dozens of countries. With a focus on renewable energy, smart grids and smart customer solutions, Iberdrola’s main markets are Europe (Spain, UK, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Greece), United States, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. The company is also present in growing markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Ireland, Sweden and Poland, among others.
With a workforce of nearly 40,000 people and assets of more than €141.7 billion worldwide, Iberdrola helps support 400,000 jobs across its supply chain, with annual purchases of 12 .2 billion euros. A reference in the fight against climate change, Iberdrola has invested more than 130 billion euros over the past two decades to help build a sustainable energy model, based on sound environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.
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