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 energy and climate goals.
stoRE is examining non-technological barriers to energy storage with a view to creating the right regulatory and market conditions to incentivise the development of energy storage infrastructure to the extent necessary to accommodate planned renewable energy installations in the electricity grid. The three-year project began in April 2011 and has a total budget of €1.6 million, of which the European Union is contributing 75%.
Energy storage helps accommodate higher percentages of variable renewable energy by balancing supply and demand and improving power quality. The stoRE project aims to fully examine the environmental performance of energy storage installations with a view to removing unnecessary regulatory barriers while at the same time ensuring that the environment is fully protected. To this end, it will assess, together with key stakeholders, the regulatory and market framework conditions in Europe in general, and in the specific target countries of Germany, Spain, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Austria.
Based on this assessment, the project’s stakeholders will engage key actors at European and national level, especially policymakers, in order to implement action plans for regulatory reform, thereby paving the way for increased energy storage capacity and renewable energy penetration. To further promote these objectives, the project also aims to improve awareness among stakeholders and the general public about the role energy storage can play in a sustainable energy future.
The possible positive and negative impacts of the different energy storage options on the environment are also being assessed and consultation processes will ensure that the project is open to all key actors and target groups and that their opinions are taken into account. A consensus will be reached among all the key actors to bring about improvements in policies, legislation and market mechanisms in the targeted Member States.
The project began with a technology and needs overview, which involved collecting and evaluating information about the status and potential of energy storage technologies, followed by an assessment of storage potential and needs, setting the foundations for the next phases of the project. These included an analysis of the European regulatory and market framework for their effect on energy storage infrastructure and use. The next stage deals with the environmental considerations relevant to the development and operation of energy storage facilities, particularly pumped hydro and compressed air storage, followed by an analysis of the target countries to identify regulatory and market barriers to the development and operation of energy storage.
The overall aim of the project is to help Europe achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets for 2020 and beyond and to create framework conditions that will allow energy storage infrastructure to be developed. To date, the project has resulted in the publication of a number of reports including, in May 2013, a list of Recommendations for Furthering the Sustainable Development of Bulk Energy Storage Facilities. These recommendations were made to both the Member States targeted in the project and to the European Commission, and covered areas such as identifying storage needs, developing plans and programmes, sourcing viable sites and preparing guidelines and best practice documents.
Review and assessment work already carried out has led the stakeholders to conclude that the need for new energy storage capacity should be recognized in both EU and national policy in order to facilitate project development. It was also recommended that the Commission establish clear guidelines, especially regarding the relationship with European environmental legislation and best practice. It has been found that conditions such as deployment level, untapped potential, market operation, regulatory framework, environmental constraints and so on, can vary significantly from one Member State to another. The assessment work has also revealed a lack of widespread acceptance of the need for storage, a limited understanding of the challenges faced, and no common vision for the future of energy storage among the relevant stakeholders.
For the targeted Member States, it was recommended that when the need for energy storage is acknowledged in their NREAPs, then this technology should also be considered at the strategic planning level and sustainable plans and programmes should be developed to facilitate the national and regional deployment of bulk energy storage technologies. It was also recommended that physically viable storage sites be identified and tested at a strategic level and that clear Member State guidelines for sustainable project development, best practice and planning be drawn up. Finally, it was recommended that the efficiency and speed at which bulk energy storage projects are considered during the planning approval stage be improved, including by legislating to accelerate planning approval or by appointing a dedicated competent authority to process these applications.
In general, it was found that without a clear policy for bulk storage of electricity, it will not be possible to adopt any strategic plans or programmes, which will make project development more difficult. Consequently, the main recommendation from the report is that, in order to facilitate the further sustainable development of pumped hydro and compressed air storage, or indeed any power storage project, the appropriate policy and strategic plans and programmes should first be put in place.
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