Electricity storage capacities are vital assets of a reliable carbon-neutral power system, dominated by increased amounts of variable and decentralised renewable energy sources. But a deep decarbonisation needs to be urgently paired with the development and uptake of fit for purpose storage solutions, as well as enabling policy frameworks.
Multiple viable storage options, from batteries to vehicle-to-grid technologies, power-to-X systems and pumped-storage hydropower, exist, shows Eurelectric’s latest report.
Their development at scale is now an absolute necessity given their critical role in soaking the excess of electricity generated by variable, weather-dependent sources, and releasing it back into the grid to meet the demand. In their absence the security of supply and the flexibility needs of a decarbonised power sector, would be difficult to ensure.
“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” – said Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric.
Eurelectric estimates that approximately 500GW of flexible power, including storage solutions and demand-side management, will be needed by 2030. Recent technical progress, especially in the field of battery-storage, and their production scale-up, have led to significant cost declines for these technologies.
These evolutions have significant benefits: offsetting blackouts, reducing the prices of EVs, stepping up energy savings, and empowering customers with new services. However, of the current storage capacity levels around 53GW, 97% of Europe’s grid connected electricity storage being carried out by pumped-storage hydropower. And while capital-intensive, pumped hydro will be a key solution, due to its scale, energy and dispatch capabilities.
“In the search for solutions, we sometimes can’t see the forest for trees. Hydro has been a key source of clean power and electricity storage for more than a century. How do we maintain and expand the unique potential of hydro? Policy makers should give some serious consideration to that.” – added Kristian Ruby.
Long term investment signals are needed to ensure the development of storage solutions, and enable a cost-effective energy transition. The right policy and market frameworks will be an important investment driver. Eurelectric therefore calls for:
- strengthening the Emissions Trading System, thus further stimulating the decarbonisation,
- enabling the active engagement of prosumers and storage owners,
- ensuring a level playing field between flexibility enablers,
- removing the double taxation and levies,
- establishing clear rules and permitting procedures for the deployment of storage assets,
- providing long-term investment signals for capital-intensive storage projects
- addressing the technical barriers, while directing research and development funds for “close to market” implementation programmes and energy efficiency improvements.
Note to editors:
Eurelectric’s latest report “Charge! Deploying secure & flexible energy storage” was launched during a public webinar, in the presence of industry leaders and representatives of the European Parliament and the European Commission. The recording is available here
The report can be consulted on the dedicated webpage: https://www.eurelectric.org/energy-storage-2020/
The report features:
- A detailed overview of storage technologies: pumped hydro storage, reservoir hydro, compressed air energy storage, flywheels, batteries, Lithium-ion, power-to-X, thermal storage, smart sector integration
- Storage applications and use cases: grid use, electric vehicles, energy communities, coal regions in transition
- Challenges for further deployment
- 10 policy recommendations