There is growing consensus from European Union policymakers and regulators that energy storage is vital to securing affordable and low carbon energy, but the technologies still face market challenges.
As a relatively new and complex technology with a wide variety of different use cases open to it, battery-based energy storage isn’t yet being made the most of, Lars Stephan, policy and market development manager for Fluence, told Energy-Storage.news.
In May, as the European Union (EU) launched REPowerEU, the energy storage industry’s initial disappointment at being excluded from an early leaked draft of the document – which set out pathways to reduce dependence on Russian gas and accelerate decarbonisation – gave way to a more positive feeling.
REPowerEU in its final form did include mention of energy storage and noted that the ability to balance the grid as well as supply and demand for power in the European grid is crucial to long-term goals.
That said, it was short on details of how this would be achieved, and more attention was paid to other areas like green hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, which are arguably less mature technologies.
While REPowerEU sets a target for 45% of Europe’s energy generation to come from renewable sources by 2030, and the strategic plan mentioned energy storage’s role in getting there, it did not set targets or benchmarks for the amount or proportion of storage relative to generation.
Lars Stephan said he believed there is also growing consensus from EU policymakers in Brussels that energy storage needs to be part of upcoming electricity market design reform and will have an important role to play.
“However, it is yet to translate into tangible policy actions to enable and support energy storage. This is the major challenge that we’re seeing today,” Stephan said.
Although market analysts at BloombergNEF and others have forecast that REPowerEU will be a major driver for activity in the market, at present, Europe’s deployment of energy storage has been slower than in regions like the US, Australia and the UK, despite having had a head start on at least two of those territories.
Trade group the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) has modelled that the EU could need 187GW of energy storage by 2030, which given that it only managed about a gigawatt in 2021, seems a steep climb.