Energy storage means that energy is stored when the price for energy is low (so when demand is low or supply is high). The energy stored is kept for times when the price is high (when demand is high or supply is limited). Energy storage technologies are essential for effective integration of renewable energy sources, especially for sources such as solar and wind. This is because the volume of energy generated from these sources is weather-dependent.
There are many different types of energy storage technologies, such as batteries, pumped hydroelectric storage, thermal energy storage, flywheel and compressed air energy storage. Batteries are the most common form of energy storage for small-scale applications. Pump accumulators are the most commonly used form of large-scale energy storage.
Energy storage offers a host of benefits. It improves the reliability and resilience of the energy system. It can also be used to relieve the transmission peak on the grid. And it enables the integration of renewable energy sources. What’s more, energy storage can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other things, by making it possible to use more renewable energy sources. And also by reducing the need for peak plants powered by fossil fuels.
The use of technologies for energy storage is also met with challenges, such as high costs, regulatory barriers, and technical limitations. Across the globe, efforts are being made to tackle these challenges and to accelerate the use of technologies for energy storage. For example, new technologies are being researched and developed. And policies are being created that support the use of energy storage and investment in energy storage infrastructure. In Brussels, for example, there was discussion of European legislation on mandatory minimum gas storages and strategic gas stocks.
Energie-Nederland believes an important starting point is that storage must be developed by market participants. It belongs in the free domain and not in the regulated domain of the grid and network operators.
Furthermore, Energie-Nederland argues for sensible policy instruments around energy storage. For instance, the main barrier to investment in electricity storage is the tariff for the use of the electricity grid. Market participants who store energy now pay the same grid charges as consumers. Energie-Nederland believes that the grid tariff should impede the optimal deployment to the market as little as possible. Storage, but also energy production and conversion respond fully to energy prices. That is why it makes sense that consumers bear the costs of the electricity grid, not the parties who store, produce, or convert energy.