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Smart grids

The Basque technology strategy (EnergiBasque) prioritises seven technology types, based on the region's industrial, technological and research strengths. In the area of power transmission and distribution, it has been decided to focus on smart grids, in an attempt to establish the Basque power industry as an international reference in this field. The Basque Government is participating in a model public-private project (Bidelek Sareak) jointly run by Ente Vasco de la Energía and Iberdrola Distribución Eléctrica.

Bidelek Sareak Project

Bidelek Sareak is an initiative of the Basque Government through its energy agency, Ente Vasco de la Energía and Iberdrola Distribución Eléctrica to provide smart grids in urban and rural areas that will increase the efficiency and security of the power supply. The main challenge for these smart grids is to develop a more flexible, robust and secure system which will benefit power distributors, users and the business community.

Bidelek Sareak aims to deploy smart grids in the urban nuclei of Bilbao and Portugalete and in the rural area of Lea Artibai. Roll-out began at the end of 2011 and will be completed in 2014. The Basque Country now has 230,000 smart meters, advanced technologies in 1,100 transformer centres and 3 modernised power substations with digital technology.

At the same time, in order to bring greater visibility to the project, a small smart grid has been installed in the “Bidelek Showroom”, an exhibition area fitted with fully operative equipment provided by the manufacturers and technology suppliers involved in the project.

For Ente Vasco de la Energía, one of the essential advantages of installing smart grids is that it will allow the consumers themselves to manage their consumption in the medium term. They will have access to a web-page with information on their electricity consumption and practical tips on ways of reducing it, so that they can decide when and how they consume energy.