Where will the energy storage mega trend lead us?

Authors: Keith Whiriskey

Publisher: Bellona Europa

Energy storage will rapidly become an integral part of European electricity supply systems. The huge disruptive effect of energy storage to the existing energy market is being driven by two trends: the need for energy storage to optimise the deployment of renewable energy sources on the one hand, and the high return potential for manufactures, operators and home owners, on the other.

A range of storage technologies are required to maintain security of supply, enable the deployment of renewables and operate effective smart grids. The effect of storage technologies on a liberalised energy market is not well understood. However, one thing is clear: energy storage technologies have the potential to be truly disruptive.
Predicting what this new world will look like will be dependent on the variety of storage technologies, the ongoing redesign of Member States’ energy markets, the unknown behaviour of market participants, evolution of capacity payments and whether energy storage will evolve as primarily distributed or a system scale technology. Energy planners need to have their sights set on a very different future and not in forlornly preserving the models of
the past.

In this paper, Bellona urges European leadership and national policy makers to consider a number of policy recommendations to foster the deployment of energy storage technologies. These include:

  • Putting in place regulations that open for widespread use of energy storage by system regulators, utilities and individuals is the way forward;
  • Member States should proactively seek to consider utilisation of energy storage as real alternatives when planning for grid/energy distribution upgrades;
  • Putting in place variable grid tariffs to induce smart charging;
  • Member States should, when developing plans for RES, provide targets/requirements for balance power and system demands, highlighting the potential of energy storage;
  • Demanding that all system operators should incorporate this into their planning and regulatory tools, and allow for anyone who would venture to introduce this at local, regional or national level;
  • Offering consumers (EV owners) fiscal incentives for going off-grid during high demand periods

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