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European Union Member States' Clean Energy Plans Fail to Address Energy Storage

2024-01-29
The importance of energy storage is being overlooked in the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) of European Union (EU) Member States, according to the Energy Storage Coalition. The coalition, comprising various trade groups representing renewable and clean energy technologies in Europe, recently stated that the EU's renewable energy targets cannot be achieved without doubling the continent's installed storage capacity by 2030 to 200GW.

Although many EU countries have acknowledged this requirement at a high level, the NECPs, which assess the specific needs of individual states and detail the implementation of energy transition schemes, neglect simple steps to promote storage. This oversight undermines the achievement of the renewable energy targets.

 

A recent analysis of the draft NECP submissions from all 27 Member States highlights three key areas identified by the coalition regarding energy storage: assessment of price flexibility in energy markets, publication of a comprehensive strategy on energy storage, and the elimination of double charging of grid fees for transmission-connected storage assets.

 

None of the draft NECPs have been deemed satisfactory in all three metrics. Only Spain and Portugal receive commendations in two out of the three areas, with the majority of countries earning the coalition’s approval in just one metric or less.

 

Analysis infographic of the different NECPs. Image: Energy Storage Coalition.

 

The Need for Action: Energy Storage in Europe

 

At the beginning of this year, the Energy Storage Coalition conducted an analysis, revealing that areas within the European energy storage landscape still needed attention. The coalition, comprised of SolarPower Europe, EASE, WindEurope, and Breakthrough Energy, aimed to identify the key metrics that would drive the growth and development of energy storage across the continent.

 

Reinforcing Commitment: Spain's Energy Storage Strategy

 

Among the drafts reviewed, Spain's National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) stood out as one of the most comprehensive and forward-thinking strategies. Spain has set ambitious targets for energy storage deployment, with a goal of 20GW by 2030 and 30GW by 2050. The country's NECP includes a reinforced commitment to procure flexibility for the grid, making it an exemplary model for other nations.

 

Tackling Double Charging: A Barrier to Investment

 

One of the major barriers to investment in energy storage across Europe is the issue of double charging. Energy storage facilities are currently treated as both generation and supply to the grid, resulting in fees levied at the point of both withdrawing and depositing energy. This outdated regulatory practice discourages investment in energy storage. Several Member States, including Czechia, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, have taken action to address this issue, but more needs to be done on a wider scale.

 

Flexibility Assessments: Balancing Supply and Demand

 

To effectively integrate energy storage into the grid, it is crucial to assess flexibility requirements. National assessments can determine the volume of energy storage needed and the various applications it can provide in balancing supply and demand for electricity. Unfortunately, only four Member States - Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal - have conducted precise flexibility assessments. This highlights the need for more comprehensive assessments across Europe.

 

An Integrated Strategy: The Way Forward

 

An energy storage strategy is essential for enabling the widespread adoption of energy storage technologies. Currently, only three countries - Spain, Greece, and Malta - have developed such strategies. The Energy Storage Coalition strongly advocates for all Member States to have an energy storage strategy. Additionally, the coalition calls for support schemes and regulatory treatment of storage to be technology agnostic, allowing for a level playing field and fostering innovation in the sector.

 

Looking ahead: Progress and Challenges

 

NECPs have been in place since 2019, and the European Commission has urged Member States to update their plans to align with renewable energy targets. However, even with the revised plans, the Commission's analysis suggests that the 42.5% Renewable Energy Directive target by 2030 may not be met. Further action is required to accelerate the development and deployment of energy storage technologies across Europe.

 

The 9th annual Energy Storage Summit EU summit will move to a larger venue, bringing together Europe's leading investors, policymakers, developers, utilities, energy buyers, and service providers to discuss the future of energy storage in Europe.

 

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