Storage systems for renewables are central in this energy crisis
The current energy crisis has highlighted the importance not just of renewable energies as an answer to the geopolitical dependence of some countries on a number of fossil fuel-producing countries, but also the importance of implementing new stockpile and storage systems for energy.
Renewable sources are inevitably intermittent - let’s just consider for a moment, for example, solar and wind energies, which depend on the presence of sunlight and wind - it’s easy to see they are obviously limited resources dependent on availability. In times of high production however, supply can be greater than demand, and without energy storage systems, which would necessarily run alongside green energy systems, excess energy is lost and wasted.
By investing in storage systems on the other hand, it would be possible to store excess energy to be used during peak consumption times.
The European Commission strategy: REPowerEU
Last October, during the Energy Storage Global Conference 2022, the European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič confirmed that the storage of energy needs to occupy a major role in increasing European energy security, allowing the integration of renewable energies and lowering of energy prices.
“Energy storage will play a key role in this effort. It will help facilitate the integration of renewables and the electrification of the economy, while increasing the flexibility and security of the energy system. [...] Storages will be critical to reducing energy prices by pushing expensive gas power plants out of the market during peak price hours.”
The European Commission presented the REPowerEU project, where it states:
“REPowerEU is about rapidly reducing our dependence on […] fossil fuels by fast forwarding the clean transition and joining forces to achieve a more resilient energy system and a true Energy Union”.
Delay by the EU in storing clean energy
EU strategy however, in the present instance, is focused on methane gas storage, even in its liquid form as LNG, which can be returned to its gaseous state in dedicated facilities. However, in order to reach decarbonisation goals by 2030 and 2050, it is necessary to focus on renewable energies.
To stimulate the renewable energy storage system sector, it is necessary to decrease the kW/h cost, mostly via the production of increasingly efficient batteries, otherwise competition with fossil fuels becomes uneconomical.
According to estimates made by EASE - European Association for Storage of Energy, in Europe it is necessary to create new storage facilities capable of holding 14 GW/year, with the aim of reaching the goal of 190 GW by 2030 (600 in 2050), whilst in 2021 the entire continent was able to provide just 1 GW.
According to forecasts, it is estimated that in Europe installed battery storage capacity will increase nearly six-fold over the next decade.
The importance of storage systems for clean energy
As can be read in this report published 10th January 2023 by Statista, the storage of energy will be vital for the creation of highly decarbonised energy systems (i.e. renewable energy sources) which are both reliable and sustainable.
Excess energy storage means that stored energy could massively stabilise energy demand and fluctuations in supply.
Reduced production costs mean that battery storage systems are currently in the spotlight, together with other even more sophisticated systems based on hydrogen usage.
In the words of the previously mentioned Vice President Šefčovič:
“Accelerated decarbonisation with structural changes to electricity generation, massive public and private funding, the emergence of powerful new storage technologies, and rapidly growing demand are providing fertile ground for the rapid expansion of our energy storage ecosystem. To make it work, we need to strengthen even further the partnership between industry, research and innovation, policymakers, and other stakeholders.”