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You recently said that storage is the ‘weakest link’ in Europe’s electricity chain today. Could you explain why that is?

Our electricity chain, or indeed our whole energy chain, is integrated in a very complex way. Everybody treats it as if it were the sum of individual silos and nobody tries to build intelligent bridges or links between them. Storage could be a fantastic bridge, making sure we get higher efficiency at lower cost. It has huge potential. Having said this, we should never forget that storage – by definition – has negative efficiency and excessive costs. You don’t want to store for the sake of storing. You only want to store if the alternative solution is even more expensive – for example expanding the grid. That holds both for large-scale and small-scale or local storage.

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Spurred by a renewed interest in power storage the European Commission’s in-house science service the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has provided several recommendations on how to improve assessment of the economic value of storing electricity, in a recently published report.

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eStorage is a European consortium that is working to develop a solution based on variable-speed technology to increase the operational flexibility of hydro power plants and enable the cost-effective integration of intermittent renewable energy generation, such as wind, into the electrical grid, in support of SET-Plan objectives.

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The Powair project, which is funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), aims to create a low-cost modular and environmentally sustainable electrical energy storage system with high energy density and fast response by radically extending the performance of ...

The EU-funded research project Composite Structural Power Storage for Hybrid Vehicles (STORAGE) was set up to develop new concepts for lightweight energy storage to radically improve the efficiency of hybrid vehicles by using parts of a car’s structure as power sources.

The stoRE project, which is co-funded by the European Union’s Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, aims to unlock potential for energy storage infrastructure in Europe in order to facilitate the integration of energy from renewable sources into the grid and bring Europe closer to achieving its 2020...