The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) aims to transform the way we produce and use energy in the EU with the goal of achieving EU leadership in the development of technological solutions capable of delivering 2020 and 2050 energy and climate targets.
Energy storage can supply more flexibility and balancing to the grid, thereby easing the market introduction of renewables and accelerating the decarbonisation of electricity supply. As such, it is a key element of the EU strategy to bring Europe closer to its renewable energy targets. The following is a chronological overview of some of the actions taken to promote the development and uptake of energy storage technology throughout the EU in support of SET-Plan objectives.
- In 2006, the European Commission issues a Directive on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (2006/66/EC), or the EU Battery Directive as it is more commonly known. This directive has the aim of minimising the negative impact of batteries on the environment and improving their overall environmental performance. This was followed by secondary legislation on batteries with, inter alia, Directives 2008/12/EC and 2008/103/EC amending the Battery Directive, Decision 2009/603/EC establishing requirements for the registration of battery producers, and Regulation No. 103/2010 establishing rules for capacity labelling of portable secondary (rechargeable) and automotive batteries and accumulators.
- Under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), in 2006 the European Union finances a number of projects that aim to improve the regulatory environment and advance research into energy storage technologies in Europe, these projects include HESCAP (New generation, High Energy and power density SuperCAPacitor based energy storage system) and NIGHT WIND (Grid Architecture for Wind Power Production with Energy Storage through load shifting in Refrigerated Warehouses) in 2006, in addition to the POWAIR, eStorage, STORAGE, and stoRE projects featured in this magazine, and others.
- The European SmartGrids Technology Platform publishes a Vision and Strategy for Europe’s Electricity Networks of the Future in 2006, which stresses the importance of energy storage in the grid of the future. It follows this with a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) in 2007, in which it identifies innovative energy management strategies for large distributed generation penetration, storage and demand response as a strategic research task. In its SRA 2035, published in June 2013, widespread storage within the grid is listed as a high-priority research topic.
- The European Parliament’s Economic and Scientific Policy Department published the study Outlook of Energy Storage Technologies (IP/A/ITRE/FWC/2006-087/Lot 4/C1/SC2) in February 2008, at the request of the European Parliament's committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
- The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is created as a Community Body on 30 May 2008 and becomes autonomous in November 2010. Between May 2008 and November 2010 the Joint Undertaking is managed by the European Commission. The Commission publishes a First Interim Evaluation of the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking in May, 2010.
- In November 2009 the European Commission, through a SETIS workshop held in Brussels in the same month, encourages the European industrial and research community to set up a European Task Force on Energy Storage, working towards a shared European vision on the role of energy storage in power applications and aiming to identify measures to maximise the sector’s contribution to the implementation of the SET-Plan.
- Following on from the Energy Storage Task Force launched by the European Commission in 2009, a group of European leading players in the energy sector, including manufacturers, utilities and academic bodies, found the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) in Brussels in September 2011. The creation of EASE results from a European Commission initiative, looking for a consensual vision of the roles, technologies and potential applications of energy storage within the framework of EU Energy and Climate policy.
- The European Energy Research Alliance launched a joint programme on Energy Storage in 2011, with sub-programmes covering electrochemical storage, chemical storage, thermal storage, mechanical storage and superconducting magnetic energy storage. These programmes define individual work packages and milestones based on the diverse research and technological requirements of the different energy storage technologies.
- The European Commission holds an Electricity Storage Expert Workshop in February, 2012, and in April of the same year an Expert Workshop on the Assessment of the Potential of Pumped Hydropower Storage is organised on behalf of SETIS by the Energy Systems Evaluation Unit of the Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Energy and Transport.
- EURELECTRIC organizes an energy storage workshop in April 2012 to discuss electricity storage from a policy-making, industrial and research point of view. The workshop focusses on the role of small-scale energy storage and the services and applications it brings to the electrical system to meet future needs, and examines the main regulatory challenges hampering the optimal operation of pumped storage.
- In April, 2012, the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) publishes a position on the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050, in which it commended the European Institutions for the work and progress achieved so far and provided industry feedback and offered expertise in a constructive dialogue with the European institutions concerned.
- The European Commission published its Energy Roadmap 2050 in 2012, in which it noted the critical importance of storage technologies. According to the Roadmap, the EU should contribute directly to scientific projects and research and demonstration programmes, building on the SET-Plan, and invest in partnerships with industry and Member States to demonstrate and deploy new, highly-efficient energy technologies on a large scale. The Roadmap noted in particular that a new sense of urgency and collective responsibility must be brought to bear on the development of new energy infrastructure and storage capacities across Europe.
- In December, 2012, the European Parliament included an amendment on energy storage in Horizon 2020 legislation. This amendment acknowledges the importance of energy storage related research to the meeting of SET-Plan objectives.
- On 14 January 2013 the European Commission published the Working Paper “The future role and challenges of Energy Storage” identifying the need for a European strategy to advance energy storage development and deployment. With this document the Commission aimed to give more attention to the issues around energy storage with a view to addressing them more effectively in EU energy policy.
- Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure is published. This is followed in May of the same year by the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions [COM/2013/0253 final] Energy Technologies and Innovation.
- A conference on facilitating energy storage to allow fast growth of sustainable energy is held as part of Sustainable Energy Week in June 2013, to discuss policy issues and the regulatory framework required for the development of storage infrastructure, which is seen as crucial to allow the accommodation of the ambitious renewable energy targets in the EU.
- In July, 2013, EASE published its first annual Activity Report. Highlights in 2012 include the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with the Electricity Storage Association, based in Washington, EURELECTRIC, EUROBAT and Gas Storage Europe. The organization finished 2012 with 32 members.
- The Joint Research Centre, the EU’s in-house science service, publishes the report Assessing Storage Value in Electricity Markets. Drafted in cooperation with the R&D department of Electricité de France (EDF), this report presents an overview of current research on the economic drivers or barriers for electricity storage.