Secretary General European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE)
Renewable energy sources are increasingly penetrating the European energy market; fossil fuel prices are projected to increase significantly in the coming years and decades. The patterns of energy supply and consumption are changing rapidly. The internal energy market is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Renewable energy sources are predominantly intermittent sources of generation, non-dispatchable and with wide seasonal variations, which increase the fluctuation of the power flows in - and reduce the stability of - the electric system. Higher variability of both power generation and consumption, combined with situations in which generation exceeds demand and vice versa, creates new challenges for the electrical system in general and puts a tremendous stress on transmission and distribution networks, thus leading to an ever increasing need for grid flexibility.
It is at this critical junction that the SET-Plan plays a vital role, focussing on those technologies that are needed to address the above challenges by helping them onto the market, making them cost competitive, resilient and able contenders on the international playing field. Energy storage - recognised as a “Strategic Energy Technology” - is one of them. Whilst the first of several cost-competitive solutions are already hitting the market today, there are still significant technical and financial challenges ahead, which the SET-Plan will help to address.
The changing energy landscape requires a large range of Energy Storage solutions, with varying storage capacities (from seconds, over hours, to days or even weeks) and both centralised and decentralised implementation patterns. Enabling European industry to bring this export technology to full maturity will definitely contribute to the global competitiveness of the EU. It is in this context that the pillars of Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) have to be reinforced, to guarantee that modern society takes full advantage of the benefits of renewable energies, avoiding curtailment and minimising additional grid and balancing infrastructure investments. Here, the SET-Plan becomes not only important, but vital for – as Commissioner Oettinger put it – the backbone of modern society: the energy system.
After all, transmission lines may bring energy from point A to point B, but storage will bring it from today to tomorrow.
The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) is the voice of the energy storage community, actively promoting the use of energy storage in Europe and worldwide. It actively supports the deployment of energy storage as an indispensable instrument within the framework of the European energy and climate policy to deliver services to, and improve the flexibility of, the European energy system. EASE seeks to build a European platform for sharing and disseminating energy storage-related information and supports the transition towards a sustainable, flexible and stable energy system in Europe. For more information please visit www.ease-storage.eu.