The plan to establish an innovation centre in the country by Iberdrola Group, in partnership with the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar), will contribute to the advancement and growth of Qatar’s research and development (R&D) sector, an official has said.
Iberdrola Innovation Middle East managing director Santiago Bañales Lopez made the statement in a Q&A published in IPA Qatar’s newsletter for the second quarter of 2022, which was released recently.
The innovation centre is part of a new partnership between IPA Qatar and Iberdrola Group to advance digital utility in Qatar. In May 2022, IPA Qatar CEO Sheikh Ali Alwaleed al-Thani and Lopez signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the presence of HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani, who is also chairman of IPA Qatar, and Jose Ignacio S Galan, chairman and CEO of Iberdrola Group.
The partnership will expand the Spanish group’s research, development, and innovation (RDI) activities through Iberdrola Innovation Middle East. The new collaboration aims to advance the digital utility industry by unlocking the growth potential of the RDI ecosystem in Qatar, IPA Qatar announced earlier in a statement.
In the newsletter's Q&A, Lopez explained the advantages of the innovation centre and its future growth: “There are three main benefits: the hiring and development of local engineering talent; the engagement of the Qatar innovation ecosystem of universities, technology centres, and startups in the most pressing challenges of the global energy sector; and the application in the country of the best made-in-Qatar digital technologies to increase overall productivity. We aim to increase our innovation impact by a factor of three in the next five years.”
According to Lopez, the recent MoU signing with IPA Qatar is a new milestone in Iberdrola Group’s “already rich co-operation with the State of Qatar,” which spans over 20 years.
“We incorporated Iberdrola Innovation Middle East, our global digital energy innovation centre, at the Qatar Science and Technology Park back in 2016 and the agreement with IPA Qatar entails a very significant expansion of our innovation activities in the country,” Lopez emphasised.
On the challenges of ESG investment and adopting sustainable investment strategies, as well as the opportunities for Qatar in this field, Lopez said: “Starting with our clear bet on renewable energy since 2000, Iberdrola has consistently been considered one of the most sustainable electric utilities in the world, having for instance been included for the past 22 years in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.
“Iberdrola has continued to move forward with its commitment to the Paris Agreement to become a carbon-neutral company in Europe by 2030 – 20 years in advance of the EU’s goal. Qatar has undertaken large efforts in that direction organising a carbon-free World Cup and I see this as a great opportunity to continue with a sustainability agenda in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”
On Iberdrola’s plans on energy security and sustainable energy investments, Lopez added: “Iberdrola is currently delivering our strategic plan 2020-2025 that includes an investment of €75bn in renewable energy, digitalised electricity networks, and smart solutions for our customers.
“From our Qatar operations, we contribute to making the best out of these investments by developing digital technology products and services that improve substantially the effectiveness and productivity of these investments.”
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