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18 Jul 2022

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Europe's digital economy needs more energy storage

European energy companies are urging governments to invest heavily in energy storage systems. Additionally, they call on governments to establish a legal framework allowing massive energy storage deployments. "Europe needs a rapid rollout of proven and scalable technologies to increase grid flexibility and enable the safe and efficient integration of renewable generation,” they said. Otherwise, Europe's digital economy will be powered by gas and coal-generated electricity for years to come.

The European Commission launched the ambitious RePower EU programme earlier this year to secure the continent's energy future and reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas. However, a group of companies believes that RePower EU falls short when it comes to energy storage. System integrator Fluence, investors Gore Street Capital and Gresham House, MW Storage (an energy storage developer) and Zenobe Energy (a developer of clean energy and transport solutions) are asking for substantial investment in energy storage.

As Europe continues to rely on natural gas and coal-based generation with high emissions, strategic energy storage targets have yet to be developed and incorporated into law, the letter says. Battery grid connections, a major impediment to deployment today, should be prioritized over other technologies. Congested areas should also introduce flexible grid connection agreements.

Batteries for energy storage are already being integrated into European grids on a smaller scale. In the Netherlands, grid operator Liander is beginning three pilot projects with GIGA Storage to add 10-20MW-sized batteries in the Amsterdam area, while a 25MW facility is being built in the nearby city of Leylstad. Wind and solar power have reached their maximum capacity on many grids in the Netherlands, and the battery systems will increase input by storing excess power.

The three Dutch projects are promising, but more needs to be done. In a recent report, the European Association of Energy Storage (EASE) estimates that the continent will require 187GW of energy storage by 2030 and 600GW by 2050 to meet renewable energy targets and maintain its digital economy.

Photo credit: Wim van 't Einde

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