08.02.2021 / News
With the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, EASE had to adapt some of the activities performed in the framework of EU-funded projects to make sure that the topic addressed stayed relevant. We worked hard to turn challenges into opportunities, organising and shaping discussions around funding, policy and technology.
01.02.2021 / News
2020: A Key Year for the Future of Energy Storage in Europe
2020 was a significant year for energy storage policy, as the European Commission, European Parliament, and many other stakeholders took an active interest for the sector. This was especially clear when it came to the European Green Deal, the ambitious plan from the new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions energy system by 2050.
The European Green Deal Sets Path to Energy Storage
One of the Commission’s most eagerly awaited policy proposals were the Energy System Integration Strategy and the Hydrogen Strategy, released in July 2020. Both strategies are positive for storage, supporting the deployment of all types of energy storage projects across the EU, including power-to-x and thermal storage. Energy storage can link different energy and economic sectors – electricity, gas, heating and cooling, transport, and industry – a fact clearly recognised by the Commission. Integrating these sectors can increase the efficiency of the whole system while contributing positively to energy security.
In October 2020 the European Commission published the Renovation Wave, a strategy to accelerate building renovation while reducing Europe’s GHG emissions. Energy storage solutions installed in residential homes or commercial and industrial facilities can increase the integration of renewable and surplus energy into buildings. As such, it can facilitate the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sectors which currently are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
Other Green Deal policies – including the Energy Taxation Directive, the TEN-E revision, the smart mobility strategy, and the Batteries Regulation – continued this positive trend of addressing the different barriers to energy storage deployment. We have no doubt that this positive momentum for energy storage is not going to stop in 2021.
More Funding for Energy Storage Research, Development, and Deployment
Public funding is also an essential component to bring more innovative energy storage projects to fruition. 2020 was also key in the design of new funds to encourage innovation or to support the changes of the decarbonisation of energy production.
In January 2020 the European Commission presented the European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Mechanism. The Just Transition Mechanism is meant to provide targeted support to help mobilise over €150 billion from 2021 to 2027 to help with the socio-economic impact of the transition in the most affected regions.
On 16 September 2020 the European Parliament plenary approved its position on the Just Transition Fund (JTF) and called for significantly higher funding than the Council and the Commission. The Parliament’s amendments added energy storage technologies to the scope of support of the Just Transition Fund. This will unlock funding for energy storage, a valuable tool that can help islands, industrial, coal and energy intensive regions transition to a more sustainable energy system.
In addition, policymakers agreed on a new Multi-annual Financial Framework and Next Generation EU recovery plan of €1.8 trillion. Among that consequent sum of money, a third - €600 billion euros – are earmarked for climate spending. These recovery funds recognise the important role of supporting investments in clean energy technologies such as storage through programmes including Horizon Europe, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, InvestEU, and others.
2020, and after?
The European Green Deal is an ambitious roadmap with numerous policies aimed at transforming Europe’s economy and society. For years, the challenge for the storage sector has been raising awareness and understanding of the role of storage for the system. Now, energy storage is clearly front and centre for policymakers – the challenge is to ensure that the policies, and their implementation, fully support the implementation of energy storage projects across the EU.
EASE is looking forward to keep on contributing in shaping the future of European energy and by developing its flexibility and reliability. On the table for 2021, the Fit for 55 Package should occupy a large portion of the year, by addressing necessary revisions of existing directives and fostering various initiatives to reach the 55% greenhouse-gases emissions reduction set for 2030.