The fifties: the beginning

LABELEC’s roots stretch to the mid 1950’s, under another name: CNE’s Laboratorial Center. At that time, Portugal had a major percentage of its population in rural areas which subsisted through agriculture. In fact, the country was under an oppressive dictatorship regime which meant that a political concern or agenda regarding industrial development and innovation didn’t exist. It can be stated that the creation of what today is our company as well as the institution of the organized Portuguese electrical system is due to the perception and action of the engineer and professor Ferreira Dias Junior. His plans were linked to a greater project: that of seeing the Portuguese economy take a leap forward, shedding its precarious and mainly agricultural character and launching itself along the path to progress and the future, embracing industrialization and the new development ideals. It was only until 1955 when the complex, where nowadays our headquarters are located, was completed.

The beginning of laboratorial activities such as chemical investigation & researching, electric testing, among others, was a huge step towards achieving safety and quality of electrical services and meant as well the establishment of a path of evolution.

Post-war revolution: uncertain times

1974 was a critical year for the country and its people. The military coup took place on the 25th of April all over the territory, with focus on the capital, Lisbon, and put an end to the dictatorship regime that had lasted nearly fifty years, giving back democracy to the Portuguese people. Succeeding the revolution, as much of every economic sector was on sort of a hold position due to the uncertainty that the revolution brought, so were the activities of the Laboratory.

At this stage, despite being on the edge of specialized technical work and scientific knowledge, the staff at the Laboratory had most of their work focused on solving circumstantial issues that eventually came through. That describes that the enormous potential that the Laboratory had, was not being maximized at that point. Regarding the notion of technical excellence associated to the Laboratory was the fact that almost every single worker had the top-grades when graduating from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST).

Based on the human and technical means that existed on what was previously known as the Laboratory, in August 1994, LABELEC - Estudos, Desenvolvimento e Actividades Laboratoriais, S.A, was founded mostly because of Eletricidade de Portugal (EDP) restructuration.

International interconnection: strategy change

By 2013, with new objectives set, this was a phase of expansion. Supported by an efficient organizational model, EDP Labelec seeks a commercial approach with special attention to Client’s needs and the creation of innovative networking partnerships. Given its potentialities, EDP Labelec begun to be acknowledged as the Center of Technical Excellence for all the supply chain of electric power.

From outside of the EDP Group, came forth numerous projects and partnerships which meant a great increase on work volume considering previous operations from inside the companies of the EDP Group. In any case the vision remained unchanged: providing highly specialized services within its areas of activity whilst aiming for technological development. Corporate strategy of each department and each worker is a commitment assumed by everyone, having in mind that EDP Labelecs’ success relied on giving an adequate response to clients’ needs, through strict compliance with timelines while maintaining high quality standards. Due to this evolution, EDP Labelec stands in the marketplace as a technology and innovation center of the EDP Group, focusing on providing services in four specific areas: Tests & Trials (which provide answers to the management and maintenance of assets in order to increase safety, reduce failures and incidents and optimize environmental and maintenance costs), Environment (technical services of water samples collection and chemistry and biology laboratorial tests, but also studies, consultancy and technical support to meet environmental obligations), Certification, Qualification and Inspections (development of certifications, qualifications and inspections activities of electrical equipment and/or external service providers), and Energy Consulting (this department conducts expertise analytical and numerical simulation studies, consulting projects, development and applied innovation projects in the energy field).

These four areas comply with EDP Labelec corporate object, in engineering and laboratorial research and development.
Sustainability, entrepreneurism & renewables.

SunLab, InovGrid, Red:dy, WindFloat. These are some of the innovative projects regarding energy efficiency and entrepreneurship. These projects strengthen the importance of the specialized support that EDP Labelec offers. In this matter we must bring to the spotlight FabLab EDP. Established in 2011 through a joint effort with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the FabLab EDP is the first Portuguese digital laboratory, located in our facilities. It is a place where creativity and innovation strive, open to anyone who wishes to transform their original idea to a market-ready product. To be able to do so, it relies on fast prototyping tools such as the 3D Printer, laser and vinyl cutting machines, among others. From FabLab EDP emerged projects such as wind turbines, smart grids, and homes that solely rely on solar power for energy consumption needs.

In the actual context and predicting what the future will be, the essential lies on cooperating in scientific research activities, “green energy” technologies development as well on mutual technical support and joint participations at international projects.

These are the main axis for EDP Labelec’s operations for a future of sustainable development and continuous improvement that can benefit both the needs of businesses and society.