October 2018 / Campaigns
A decade ago, energy storage – with the exception of pumped hydro storage – was viewed as a niche technology with limited applications. It was considered too costly and largely unnecessary, as there was little need for flexibility in a system run on dispatchable thermal generation. Energy storage has since grown in leaps and bounds, while the energy system has undergone dramatic transformations. The installed capacity of variable renewables – mainly wind and solar – increased by roughly 70% between 2005 and 2015. Cost declines and ambitious deployment targets mean that renewables will continue to be deployed around Europe. Digitisation and decentralisation have also contributed to fundamental changes in how the energy system operates.
The widespread deployment of renewables increases the need for flexibility at all timescales in the system. Energy storage – along with other solutions such as demand-side response, grid extension, and flexible thermal generation - can help the system cope with increasing shares of renewables. As its value for the system has grown, many storage technologies have experienced significant cost reduction and efficiency improvements, as well as innovations in business models and applications.
Today, energy storage is considered one of the key ingredients of the low-carbon energy system, characterised by very high shares of renewables, decentralisation, citizens’ participation, and digitisation. Storage can not only help the electricity system cope with higher shares of renewables, it can also help decarbonise the heating, cooling, and transport sectors through sector integration.
In Storage4EU, we are showcasing some of the most innovative and inspiring storage projects supporting the energy transition while ensuring a stable, secure, and affordable operation of our electricity grids.