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09 Oct 2020

Europe ‘urgently needs to scale energy storage’

Europe ‘urgently needs to scale energy storage’

Energy storage needs to contribute to an up to 500GW flexible power requirement in Europe by 2030 and more beyond, according to a new Eurelectric report.

The importance of energy storage in a system powered with growing levels of utility-scale and distributed variable renewable resources is by now well understood.

Moreover, there are multiple viable storage options available, from pumped hydropower to compressed air, flywheels, batteries and power-to-X systems.

However, with a current capacity level around 53GW, 97% of Europe’s grid-connected electricity storage is carried out by pumped hydro. Thus, while pumped hydro will continue to be a key solution, the scaling up of other options is necessary to meet the demand.

For example, Eurelectric has estimated that batteries alone should be able to contribute up to 200GW of flexibility in a 2045 95% decarbonised EU economy.

Eurelectric’s report ‘Charge! Deploying secure & flexible energy storage’, is focussed on the policy and market issues that the organisation recommends be addressed so that storage solutions and their uptake are “fit for purpose”.

“Just ten years from now, over 60% of all electricity will be renewable. We urgently need to scale up the deployment of storage solutions, to make sure that we harvest the full potential of renewables,” says Kristian Ruby, secretary-general of Eurelectric.

Energy storage markets

The report states that the most important focus should be on getting the market framework right. A strengthened and well-functioning emissions trading system and a well-functioning market should be the main drivers for investments in storage.

The Clean Energy Package (CEP) is a major step forward and it must be effectively implemented. Key in this implementation is that consumers with electric vehicles or other flexible resources are enabled to become active participants in the flexibility markets.

Grid capacities including interconnectors also allow for a better pooling of resources. However further market integration is necessary to create new potentials for any kind of flexibility products and a technology-neutral level playing field for all storage and flexibility facilities.

For example, in some EU countries electricity storage such as V2G and pumped hydro and power-to-gas systems are exposed to double taxes and levies, which should be eliminated.

The report also notes the negative impacts of slow and complex permitting processes, pointing to the timely deployment of assets as crucial to achieving the EU decarbonisation objectives.

Finally, the report highlights the need for continuing R&D funding, particularly for ‘close to market’ implementations where technical and acceptance barriers remain. Mature technologies such as pumped hydro also may benefit to achieve efficiency improvements.

Keep on top of development in energy storage technology by viewing this New Energy Landscape Hub Series episode “Innovation in Energy Storage”.

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