By Patrick Clerens, EASE Secretary General
2018 was a great year for energy storage, with enormous progress for the community and EASE, and this positive trend is surely coming to stay in the years ahead. But before looking to the future, I would like to pause and reflect on the progress made over the past years. Since its establishment in 2011, EASE has gone through several different stages, mirroring in many ways the broader developments of the storage sector.
Bringing Energy Storage into the Mainstream
In EASE’s first years, our major focus was on getting together the major players in the storage sector to kick off discussions on how to bring this promising technology into the mainstream. EASE and its members worked to share the benefits and value of energy storage, and to explain the different technologies and applications to policymakers and other stakeholders.
Around 2015, as the Clean Energy for All Europeans package was being prepared, and stakeholders began to take an interest in energy storage and its role in the energy transition, EASE turned its attention to defining high-level principles for the energy market design, and clarifying the RD&D needs of storage technologies. Our efforts paid off: we finally saw policymakers taking an active interest in storage, and taking first steps to integrate storage into various European initiatives and policies, including a definition for energy storage.
Energy Storage Enabling the Clean Energy Transition
In 2018, we saw big strides being made by European policymakers. One major focus of EASE throughout the year was of course the discussion around the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which addresses many of the biggest barriers to the energy storage market. The 2050 Long-Term Strategy, published by the European Commission in November 2018, underlined the significant amounts of storage capacity that will be needed to achieve a net-zero emissions power system by 2050. Meanwhile, the European Battery Alliance discussions put questions of battery manufacturing, deployment, and sustainability front and centre. Discussions also began on the new EU-funded research framework Horizon Europe, which promises significant amounts of funding for storage research and development.
Turning Ideas Into Actions
However, we also shifted part of our attention towards the concretisation of high-level ideas and principles, going more and more into the details of implementing the energy market design, the electricity network codes, and other European Union legislation in areas such as gas, clean mobility, clean energy on islands, battery manufacturing, and sustainability.
As the energy storage sector matures, EASE is also working to analyse the different factors that affect profitability: stacking multiple revenue streams, hybridising storage technologies, shared ownership models, and how to tender new storage services.
Actually, there are so many regulatory and policy developments, as well as events and initiatives affecting energy storage that I cannot summarise them all. Energy storage has clearly come a very long way from being the ‘new kid on the block’. Still, we have a very long way to go before storage can achieve its full market potential. In terms of technical innovation, energy market design, and regulation for energy storage, there is still much progress to be made.
EASE, with the support of its members, will continue to drive progress by advocating on behalf of the European energy storage sector.