Breakthrough Energy, the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), Solar Power Europe and Wind Europe signed an open letter calling on the European Commission to recognise energy storage’s crucial role in the security of energy supply in Europe.
“Storage will play a pivotal role to meet the flexibility needs of a decarbonised and decentralised European energy system”, stated Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe. “To match the EU ambition to become independent from Russian fossil fuel imports, energy storage deployment must be accelerated. In particular, we ask the European Commission to tap into the flexibility potential of solar and storage solutions, which are already cost-competitive today if supported by the right policy frameworks”.
In their letter, the four organisations welcomed the REPowerEU plan presented in March by the European Commission which rightly recognises renewables, especially wind and solar, as key technologies to decrease Europe’s dependence on Russian oil, gas and coal. The institutions highlighted this fact because even if the renewable energy industry is ready to support the EU’s ambitions, without rapidly scaling up market-ready energy storage technologies, the bloc will be unable to achieve a net-zero power system, risking continued exposure to volatile fossil energy markets.
“With the US and China strongly supporting energy storage uptake, the EU risks coming late to yet another technology trend,” said Ann Mettler, Vice President Europe at Breakthrough Energy. “Europe has invested a lot in R&D, especially in long-duration energy storage. We now need to reap the benefits of these efforts by deploying storage technologies at a large scale.”
The signatories suggested that energy storage needs to become a political priority alongside renewables in the short term.
“We need to replace gas turbines that provide flexibility,” added Patrick Clerens, Secretary General of EASE. “And not in years: now. Europe has the technology, the industry is willing to act, but we need a clear political commitment. The EU cannot be dependent on gas imports.”
“Europe wants more wind energy ASAP to cut fossil fuel imports,” pointed out Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope. “Good, Europe can count on us. The 18 May REPowerEU plan must now also recognise the critical role of storage in delivering clean, home-grown and affordable energy for all Europeans”.
The four organisations also proposed three actions the European Commission can take in its REPowerEU plan to be updated in May. First to set energy storage targets for 2030. Second, to promote the uptake of energy storage technologies through funding instruments, such as Contracts for Difference under the Innovation Fund. Finally, to mainstream energy storage in the European Commission’s implementation of the REPowerEU action plan and in the ongoing review of the Electricity Market Design.