Regulatory milestones to build a viable business case for energy storage in Europe

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“Building a viable business case for energy storage is the main barrier hindering deployment and expansion of storage capacity in Europe and across the globe,” according to Beatriz Sinobas, team leader of energy security and electricity at Director-General of Energy, EU Commission. However, how can a good financing environment be created to help support the rollout?

Beatriz Sinobas hosted a session organized by the European Commission during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, providing recommendations and exploring measures being implemented by various stakeholders including the European Commission, utilities, industry associations and technology companies.

Alejandro Ulzurrun de Asanza y Muñoz, Head of unit of energy security and safety team at DG ENER, said the EU Commission “is very aware of the importance of energy storage and flexible energy in achieving the green deal decarbonisation goals.”

He said storage is vital to lower energy prices, facilitates renewables integration into the grid and helps shift renewable energy use to when it is most needed or to provide baseload power.

“Energy storage increases the flexibility, security and resiliency of the grid which is a very important feature of the current and future energy systems,” added Muñoz.

Muñoz discussed some of the measures adopted by the Commission to create a friendly atmosphere for energy storage capacity deployment.

He said the clean energy package introduced by the Commission in 2019 sets the legal basis and principles for storage rollout.

To ensure the bloc moves away from fossil fuels to renewables, he said the package encourages non-discriminatory participation of energy storage in energy markets and “for the first time the actual definition of energy storage was provided.”

“The Commission has also put in place a number of initiatives that focus on storage including a storage systems integration strategy in the context of the green deal and the Fit for 55 package,” added Munoz.

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“To have the renewable energy we want across the EU, we need to be able to leverage real-time information regarding the performance of the grid and provide flexibility services. We have set out provisions that encourage storage rollout. These provisions will help increase energy efficiency and have been listed in the Energy Efficiency Directive,” said Muñoz.

According to Muñoz, the Commission has also introduced mechanisms that will help avoid double taxation for storage developers, owners and operators.

“There are also a number of things we have done in the regulation segment and in the research, innovation and development side,” he added.

Through Horizon 2020, he said the Commission has identified projects of common interest that can help the bloc to come up with innovative energy storage solutions. For instance, some of the research and development projects that are under Horizon 2020 will help the EU to increase the rollout of long-duration storage systems, he said.

Muñoz added: “The EU Commission has also made sure member states focus on storage and set aside more investments in drafting recovery and resilience plans.”

To help Europe address the current energy market instability and increase in prices, Muñoz said the Commission is exploring the application of energy storage as a short-term, medium-term, and long-term solution for energy resilience.

He reiterated by saying that through the Communication on Energy and toolbox, recently adopted by the European Energy Commission, we will support the development of energy storage solutions such as batteries and hydrogen across member states.

The session was also attended by Patrick Clerens, secretary-general at EASE and Julien Hansen, market application director at Fluence, who also spoke about energy storage deployment in Europe.

Find out more about the session.

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