King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain were accompanied by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, Basque country president Patxi López, IBERDROLA Chairman Ignacio Galán, the Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna, and the General Deputy of Bizkaia Province, José Luis Bilbao
Galán said the Tower inaugurated today by the King and Queen symbolizes IBERDROLA’s roots and its strong commitment to the Basque country: “an independent, global, Spanish company based in Bilbao”
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain, this morning inaugurated the Iberdrola Tower in Bilbao, the Company’s new headquarters. They were accompanied by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, the president of the Basque country, Patxi López, and IBERDROLA Group Chairman Ignacio Galán.
More than 400 people attended including political, social and business representatives of the Basque country and from the rest of Spain, including the General Deputy of Bizkaia Province, José Luis Bilbao, the president of the Basque Parliament, Arantza Quiroga, and the Mayor of Bilbao, Iñaki Azkuna, as well as the members of IBERDROLA’s Board of Directors, the Company's management team and union representatives.
After the welcome ceremony with a performance by the Bilbao Choral Society - adapted for the occasion from Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Energy - the King and Queen unveiled a dedication plaque at the building, designed by renowned Argentine architect Cesar Pelli who was also present at the event.
In a speech, Galán said “this IBERDROLA Tower symbolizes our strong link to the Basque country”, as well as “a determination to maintain decision-making centres in Spain”. He described IBERDROLA as “an independent, global, Spanish company based in Bilbao, just as it was conceived by those who preceded us”.
Galán thanked the King and Queen for their presence at the ceremony and stressed that “it is a great honour for all of us, and demonstrates the support that the Crown has always given IBERDROLA throughout its existence” recalling that due to the international expansion undertaken in recent years, the Company is, today, the 5th largest electric company worldwide, world leader in wind energy and Spain’s leading energy company. In any event, he added, it has its heart in the Basque Country where it was founded 111 years ago.
He highlighted the close relationship with the Basque country from its very beginnings, as shown by the support of thousands of private shareholders, “who, year after year, give us their firm support at the Company’s General Shareholders Meeting, putting their trust in us and in this industrial project”, as well as by the contribution of the Company to the Basque society.
In this regard, he recalled to the guests, who included artists Darío Urzay, Cristina Iglesias and Jesús María Lazkano, whose work hangs in the Tower, that IBERDROLA has evolved as one of the economic engines of this region, where it currently has about 1.2 million customers and employs a workforce of about 4,000 people.
IBERDROLA contributes 2% of Basque GDP
Committed to the Basque Country and driving growth, the Group's contribution to Basque GDP is around 2%, making purchases valued at nearly €1 billion per year from hundreds of companies in the region. This has a significant multiplier effect, accounting for around 2% of the region’s workforce -direct and indirect- whilst contributing about €600 million a year to the Basque Treasury.
The Company invested €1.8 billion in the Basque Country during the 2002-2011 period, of which generation and networks business account for the bulk and renewable energies for 17%. The Company has 1,700 megawatts of operating capacity, with 158 substations, over 11,200 transformer centres and around 24,500km of low, medium and high voltage lines.
IBERDROLA’s commitment to the Basque country is also reflected in the location, in the town of Erandio, of its engineering and construction business headquarters. IBERDROLA Engineering, one of the world’s leading energy engineering companies, has become the technological centre and base of the Group’s project management in the areas of hydraulic, thermal generation and networks. To date, it has a project portfolio of €2.25 billion and is currently building power plants in Algeria, Russia, Lithuania, Qatar and elsewhere.
The Company is also developing some of its most technologically advanced initiatives in the region, such as the Bizkaia smart grid project, in collaboration with the Basque Government through the Basque Energy Entity (EVE).
This project will entail an investment of €60 million in the first three years, in order to install 225,000 latest-generation meters and adapt around 1,100 transformer centres. Another project is the gradual introduction of the electric vehicle in the Basque Country, with the singing of two framework agreements in the collaboration with the Provincial Councils of Bizkaia, Araba and Gipuzkoa.
These projects are in the context of the Company’s participation in 30 R&D projects in collaboration with Basque universities, technology centers and suppliers in the areas of generation, energy storage, renewable or network sectors.
The Iberdrola Tower, Bilbao’s icon
One of the most recent and relevant investments carried out by the Group has been the construction of the Iberdrola Tower. Located in the Euskadi square and part of the new urban development of Abandoibarra, its total budget was €200 million.
Ignacio Galán stated that it is a “modern, cutting edge building, which is a magnificent reality thanks to the support of the Mayor of Bilbao, the collaboration of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia and, of course, to our partners, the BBK”.
The work of prestigious Argentine architect César Pelli, whose “enormous talent is reflected in this building”, according to Galán, has made the IBERDROLA headquarters an icon of the new Bilbao.
To build the Iberdrola Tower, over 8,500 tonnes of steel and 60,000 tonnes of concrete have been used. Its total surface area is 50,000 square meters, and its 41 floors rise 165 meters above ground level. It has 485 parking spaces and can accommodate around 3,500 workers.
Today, the occupation rate is around 50%. Approximately 700 professionals from a dozen companies, including Norbolsa and Biharko, subsidiaries of BBK, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Aenor have moved into the building. It is foreseen that by the end of 2012, the occupancy rate will range between 75% and 80%.
The Tower, “elegant and sustainable”, to quote Pelli, is a work of art of contemporary architecture, a benchmark for its design, technology and sustainability. Its stunning triangular prism form, with clear curves slightly bent towards the sky, form a great crystal pillar. The façades, made of double-skin glass, offer a sustainable solution, efficient climate control, and extensive views toward the city and the estuary.
These bioclimatic walls feature double glazing on the outside and a practicable simple glass inside, with self-adjusting curtains in the space in between. An automatic system regulates the internal light and air conditioning depending on external conditions, thus reducing energy consumption.
Leader in energy efficiency and sustainable design
In fact, the Iberdrola Tower, in its commitment to sustainable development, will become the first building in Europe of its kind recognized by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design mark of excellence. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process aimed at recognizing high performance projects in key areas of human and environmental health, such as sustainable site development and energy efficiency.