To thrive in changing times, we must adapt and innovate. As a clean energy leader, Avangrid's vision is to build on innovation that can scale new and emerging technologies over time. That’s why we embrace innovation as a core value and are committed to investing in a smarter and cleaner energy future to meet the needs of our customers, improve reliability, reduce environmental impacts and enable climate change goals.
We are facing an unprecedented moment in history as we look to address the risks posed by climate change. At Avangrid, we see this as an opportunity to push for a clean energy transformation that will benefit our customers, our communities, our shareholders and the planet. Innovation is an essential component in the collective effort to transition to a clean, sustainable and equitable energy future.
In 2022, we invested more than $97 million into energy innovation projects (an increase of 7.5% over the previous year). These investments included $50 million in our networks business and $32 million in our renewables business, as well as $15 million in a range of innovative technologies. These investments drive us to improve reliability across our operations, to explore the development of new renewable energy sources like green hydrogen and to increase access to cost-efficient clean-energy technologies for our customers such as heat pumps, EV charging and smart meters. We also shared these innovations with other businesses, colleges and universities, and other organizations to maximize positive impacts.
SHOWCASING THE LATEST DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
At the 2022 Avangrid Digital Summit, we brought together a diverse array of technology leaders to share new innovations that will advance smart grids and improve the customer experience. Here, technology leaders from organizations like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Deloitte, IBM and others shared their newest digital products and services while collaborating on use cases with a focus on areas like smart grids and operations.
Featured technologies included advanced analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and many others. As the host of this summit, we looked for ways that these innovations can help us create a path to a decarbonized, electrified economy and a cleaner energy future.
THE PATH TO A CLEAN ENERGY GRID
At Avangrid's sixth annual Innovation Forum, we highlighted some of the most innovative ways we are delivering clean energy solutions more reliably. We presented technologies such as our “digital twins” onshore wind gearboxes. These devices predict wear and tear on mechanical components and automatically trigger precautionary maintenance to minimize downtime for renewable power generators.
Beyond these events, throughout the year we built strategic partnerships and research and development collaborations with several top universities, technology providers, public organizations and startups to advance innovation. Some examples of these innovations include:
Initiatives to advance adoption of EVs through rate case proposals for an EV charging hub, curbside charging, and medium and heavy-duty vehicle make-ready programs across New York.
Support for the Ithaca Electrification Initiative to inform the potential for 100% decarbonization as part of the city’s Green New Deal resolution, a government-led commitment to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030 that focuses on addressing historical inequities, economic inequality and social justice.
Collaboration with the University of Connecticut on various Department of Energy proposals including Sweet: Solar, Wind and Energy Storage Ingestion – an innovative approach for existing renewable generation to provide essential grid services such as voltage, frequency control and power recovery during system-wide outages.
Collaboration with the University of Maine to initiate a study and inform advanced grid support functions to improve voltage issues caused by integration of distributed energy research (DER) projects such as solar within the electric grid.
Collaboration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) to increase access to clean electric transportation options in prioritized communities, which include low-income and transportation-disadvantaged households in the Ithaca and Tompkins County area.
Cornell’s ARPA-E dynamic capacitive wireless charging project: The primary objective of this project is to develop a 50-kW MHz-scale dynamic capacitive wireless charging system, which is expected to be substantially less expensive than the inductive charging counterpart. Avangrid will use key findings from this project to develop a breakthrough wireless charging system for stationary and dynamic EVs.