Energy Storage

The incremental penetration of variable energy production, the growing trade of electricity and new demand patterns all indicate that energy storage will play an increasingly important role in the future energy system. In light of the development of renewables and distributed generation, this area has recently gained high political interest thanks to its potential in reducing carbon emissions, improving grid stability and controlling fluctuations of variable energy sources.

Energy storage has been identified as a key technology in the development of the European power system, in line with the 2020 and 2050 European energy targets. In its Energy Technology Perspectives 2014 publication, the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlighted the role of energy storage, in particular its ability to “play multiple roles in integrated low-carbon electricity systems”.

Today, energy storage is a vital component in the development of a smart grid. It allows bridging the increasing non-deterministic relation between supply and demand, while ensuring continuity of supply, increased energy autonomy and mitigation of intermittent power production.

Looking at the future scenarios, large-scale storage will be increasingly important to effectively integrate intermittent renewable energy sources in our current transmission system. On the other hand, small-scale grid-connected energy storage will open new markets, offer new opportunities and pose new challenges to the business of distribution grid operators.

Despite how the sector will evolve in the future, it is certain is that there will be a need for low cost large, medium and small energy storage systems. As these technologies will play a key role in relaxing the grid’s matching constraint by decoupling energy production and consumption, energy storage will become an essential tool in achieving full network flexibility on the grid.

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