1 July 2022: Breakthrough Energy, EASE, SolarPower Europe, and WindEurope jointly organised the event “Energy security needs energy storage” in Brussels on 30 June 2022. The event discussed the role of energy storage in the European Commission’s REPowerEU Action Plan, its energy response to the war in Ukraine.
In a previously published joint letter, the four entities called for REPowerEU to fully leverage Europe’s energy storage potential in order to phase out fossil fuel dependence from Russia and to accelerate the green transition in Europe.
Introducing the event, SolarPower Europe’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger underlined: “Renewable energy is security. To ensure the security, prosperity, and sustainability of Europe, we must rapidly replace coal and gas power plants with renewable energy. We cannot think of renewables without energy storage. We need a comprehensive plan on storage with targets”. Ms Hemetsberger also highlighted the importance of electricity market design and financial support frameworks, while nurturing innovation.
In her keynote speech, Deputy Director-General at DG ENER Metschild Woersdoerfer highlighted the key role of renewables and energy storage in REPowerEU. “They are a top priority. (…) Energy storage will increase flexibility and energy security, providing energy shifting through a wide array of technologies.” She also highlighted the Commission’s proposal in REPowerEU to accelerate permitting for renewables and energy storage. “And we are engaging with stakeholders to assess how to improve the electricity market design”.
Ms Claudia Gamon, Member of the European Parliament, stated that energy storage must become a political priority: the European Union must develop an energy storage strategy with targets – a message reiterated by several speakers. “The only way out of this crisis is renewables going hand in hand with a massive roll-out of energy storage. “Energy storage is a key ingredient for low prices and to ensure that the energy transition is just. Gas supply diversification is not the solution”, she added.
In the words of Vasiliki Klonari, Head of Energy System Integration at WindEurope: “The wind industry sees energy storage as a major enabling technology for Europe’s climate neutrality It can contribute to all flexibility needs, grid scarcity and build-out delays, lower renewables’ curtailment, back up of domestic green electricity and direct electrification of transport. Energy storage deserves a targeted strategy that includes dedicated regulation and long-term market incentives.”
Echoing Ms Klonari, EASE Secretary General Patrick Clerens stated that the EU should consider energy storage as critical infrastructure: “Without market uptake, the EU will be physically unable to achieve a net-zero power system, with continued exposure to volatile fossil energy markets.”
Importantly, a European energy storage strategy would provide long-term investment signals. As highlighted by Lars Stephan from Fluence “The industry is ready to deliver and business cases exist. But we need a clear political message, a clear target for storage, and supporting mechanisms to accelerate investments into energy storage for the scale needed to achieve the European decarbonisation targets.”
Karlis Goldstein, Assistant to EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson stressed that there is a clear connection between energy efficiency and energy storage: “And we need a wide array of energy storage technologies, focusing first on solutions that can be rolled out very quickly”.
Finally, members of the audience highlighted that a strategy and changes in legislation are key to ensure the EU can keep up with the US and Chinese ambitious energy storage plans. The EU has the potential to become a global leader in a key cleantech sector.