Innovative energy storage solutions will play an important role in ensuring the low-cost integration of renewable energy sources to EU grid systems, according to a new study published by the European Commission (EC) on Monday.
The Energy Storage Study - Contribution to The Security of Electricity Supply in Europe study funded by the Commission analyzed the different flexibility energy storage options and their role in fully incorporating the large share of variable energy sources in the EU power system.
The study stressed the primary importance of "an appropriate deployment of energy storage technologies," which is considered necessary for the successful transition that relies on variable renewable energy sources.
According to the study, the main energy storage reservoir in the EU, at more than 90%, is by far pumped hydro storage. The study said these storage systems contain huge capacity and power due to their size and water volumes.
Secondly, it found that lithium-ion batteries represent most of electrochemical storage projects, however, the EC warned that the recycling of such systems should be strongly taken into consideration, as well as their effective lifetime.
Thirdly, the study noted that in the EU, the segment of operational electrochemical facilities, a rising energy storage alternative, is led by the UK and Germany.
The study found that the growth in behind-the-meter storage is ongoing although this is quite heterogeneous depending on local markets and countries.
Behind-the-meter energy storage refers to installed capacity per country of all energy storage systems in the residential, commercial and industrial infrastructures.
- Policy barriers hamper energy storage projects
To enable storage technologies to effectively deliver, the study suggested that different barriers including public guidance and support, the design of electricity markets or grid aspects, should be addressed.
"The most important barrier is the lack of a viable business case for many energy storage projects. The cost and technical performance of storage technologies gradually improve their viability, which in the long-term will significantly improve the business case, and already has for several technologies," it explained.
But the study found that in the shorter term various policy barriers still hamper the development of energy storage in the EU and lead to uncertainty concerning the revenue streams to cover the project costs and risks.
The study referenced the EU clean energy package, which sets the EU energy efficiency and renewable energy ambitions for the 2030 horizon, and advocated that its implementation be a priority.
It also advised that the EC, Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and other EU authorities should prioritize policy measures that address barriers to storage identified in the majority of all member states.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu