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No matter in which direction we look, we are facing major acceleration processes and increasingly ambitious targets. The electricity industry is committed to reliably supply Europe’s economy with clean electricity well before mid-century.
As the share of variable renewables in the generation mix will leap forward and reach around 80% by 2045, it is essential to identify solutions to store electricity and ensure the stability of the grid.
Currently, the storage capacity of EU’s electricity system is still relatively limited and comes mostly from pumped hydro-storage. However, multiple complementary technologies for short and medium-term storage, are emerging.
For instance, the development of electric vehicles contributed to scaling up the deployment of batteries and reducing their manufacturing costs. Alternatively, the Electric Thermal Energy Storage (ETES) technology offers the possibility to draw electricity from the grid and use it to heat volcanic stones. The heat can either be reconverted into electricity or used directly in industrial applications or district heating.
The main barriers for the deployment of storage options in Europe, were discussed at a round table debate organised by Eurelectric, with the participation of its business associate and developer of ETES, Siemens Gamesa, policymakers, utility CEOs and leaders of connected industries. They identified the need to improve the political, technological and market conditions, and establish efficient market-based frameworks to trigger investments in storage capacities necessary for a renewables-based system.