(Montel) The EU would need 30 GW of battery storage by 2030 to provide power system flexibility and security of supply, the head of power and gas markets at Rystad Energy told Montel.
But by 2050, that capacity is expected to grow exponentially to reach close to 400 GW amid the loss of baseload supply following the expected phase-out of coal and gas-fired plants and a growing share of more intermittent renewable energy sources, Carlos Torres-Diaz added, citing preliminary calculations.
Currently, high costs and limited technical performance – with large-scale batteries able to supply the power system for no more than 4 hours – are deterring investments in batteries.
“It’s essential to reduce costs and improve the technology” to see a stronger expansion in storage, he said.
While the role of energy storage is unquestionably crucial in the energy transition, a lot of uncertainty still surrounds the amount of storage needed to complement green power generation and help balance the power system.
The EU needs to set targets and offer incentives to encourage more investments in energy storage and batteries to underscore their key role in the energy transition, sector experts and lobbies said.
“Very specific targets on how much energy storage capacity is needed would definitely help the sector grow, as well as some kind of subsidy – like it has been done for renewables – to allow more investments,” Torres-Diaz said.
Time for targets
“It is time for EU policymakers to consider defining energy storage deployment targets, to complement renewable energy targets,” said Patrick Clerens, secretary general at the European Association for Storage for Energy (Ease).
In a study published last year, the EU proposed a set of recommendations to update the regulatory framework which applies to energy storage technologies.
By 2030, up to 108 GW of electricity storage – including pumped storage and stationary batteries – would be necessary across Europe, it said. In 2020, the European storage capacity amounted to 40 GW. Those are not binding targets, Ease said.
The European Commission’s proposal to update the EU’s renewables directive, which also includes energy storage technologies, is expected on 14 July as part of its Fit for 55 package.
“These numbers are likely significant underestimates, since the modelling is not adapted to the new 2030 renewable energy target,” said Clerens. He added that most recovery and resilience plans (RRPs) by EU state members do not define energy storage targets.
According to Ease, the EC estimates that EUR 100bn-EUR 300bn are needed to finance new energy storage systems in the EU up to 2050.
But Clerens argues that “only a small amount” of the estimated EUR 75bn set aside for clean energy in the European RRPs is going to storage.