At any one time, power consumption must be completely balanced with electricity generation. This balance is required in all electrical systems to ensure a stable and secure supply. Energy storage can help to stabilise changes in demand and supply by allowing excess electricity to be saved in huge quantities over a variety of time periods, ranging from seconds to days.
According to a new report issued by the European Commission, innovative energy storage systems will play a significant role in guaranteeing the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid in the EU at the lowest cost. This independent study, titled “Energy Storage Study - Contribution to the Security of Electricity Supply in Europe”, funded by the Commission, examines the various flexible energy storage options that will be required to realise the full potential of the power system's large share of variable energy sources. It depicts the European energy storage landscape in terms of current facilities and legal frameworks, as well as best practises and impediments.
Among other things, it demonstrates how pumped hydro storage is currently the primary energy storage reservoir in the EU. However, as prices decline, new battery technology developments, such as lithium-ion batteries and behind-the-meter storage, are emerging. For example, there is a great deal of research being done on batteries and electrolysers and how these critical technologies might bring flexibility to the energy system.
Following the identification of many challenges to the development of energy storage at the national and EU levels, the report presents several proposals to eliminate these barriers and speed deployment. For example, standardisation on safety issues and EV interoperability, as well as permitting, double grid rates and taxes, price signals, and access to auxiliary service markets. Similarly, it emphasises the significance of consistent and accurate data.