EU’s Grid Infrastructure Needs 200 GW Battery Storage: Report

Highlights :

  • The Solar Power Europe report acknowledged the need to develop flexibility in the energy system in EU.
  • In 2022, the EU model reportedly installed over 40 GW of solar double from 2021.
EU’s Grid Infrastructure Needs 200 GW Battery Storage: Report EU Action Plan Proposes 40% Investment In Electricity Grids Till 2030

The Solar Power Europe report on the use of storage in grid, and the importance of developing supportive energy policy talked about several aspects of the grid infrastructure in the European Union (EU).  It underscored the key recommendations for strengthening the EU grid policy to drive transformative changes in the energy landscape for battery storage. 

The report was given by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, which acknowledged the need to develop flexibility in the energy system to achieve those ends. In 2022, the EU model reportedly installed over 40 GW of solar in 2022, doubling the 2021 figure. With an aim to achieve 750 GW of solar capacity by 2030, there’s a concern about long queues of RES projects waiting to connect to the grid. Globally, 1000 GW of renewable energy projects are reportedly pending connection in Europe and the USA. Consequently, the EU is exploring the addition of more variable energy through storage.

The European report recognized the imperative of enhancing flexibility in the energy system. The report suggested that achieving this required the development of 200 GW of battery storage capacity within the EU. However, existing hurdles, reportedly include sluggish growth in flexibility capacity, might result in a shortfall, with predictions indicating that EU storage capacity could fall below 130 GW by 2030.

The report highlighted a disparity between the growth rates of Europe’s grid infrastructure and renewables. Additionally, it saw the need to build over 50 million km and reinforce 30 million km of grids between today and 2040. However, grid construction timelines, exceeding 10 years for high-voltage infrastructure, and inefficient permitting processes necessitate a prioritization of distribution grids in 2023. 

The report predicted that 70% of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) capacity would connect to distribution lines. An essential recommendation was the elimination of double-grid charging for energy storage in certain Member States. Energy storage charged twice—first when consumers store energy and then when they release it—requires a review of the Clean Energy Package to unlock flexibility potential, particularly at low voltage.

The report advocated revenue storage for income generation through energy storage, promoting revenue stacking. The provision of remunerated system services in new markets supports grid stability, and the renewables industry should be compensated for mandatory improvements enhancing grid stability.

In terms of EU infrastructure policy, the report proposed building cross-border energy projects integrated into the grid through efficient planning, fostering connectivity for renewables and necessitating increased future grid investments.

Solar Power Europe’s recommendations for action include reinforcing EU grid policy targets for swift implementation. Leveraging the Clean Energy Package was suggested to enhance grid connection and integration of renewables, addressing the lack of monitoring. Improving EU governance is crucial to evaluating the performance of grid infrastructure reinforcement for a unified power market.

The report emphasized building infrastructure that aligned with the electrification industry’s needs, ensuring EU and national network plans align with 2030 and 2050 targets. It recommended transforming the ‘Grids Action Plan’ into a comprehensive ‘Grid and Flexibility Action Plan.’ Grid development, though essential, takes time, and the ‘Electricity Market Design’ reform is lauded for its flexibility assessment, anticipatory investments, and prompt enforcement of targets.

The report provided draft guidance to regulators and system operators on unlocking flexibility solutions beyond local markets. It elaborated on the need for hybridization of RES assets at the same connection point.

In terms of smart grid investment, the report suggested developing pilot and anticipatory investment projects at the distribution grid level, in coordination with industry. Integration of such practices into grid acceleration and renewable acceleration areas is recommended.

Finally, the report suggested that the European Commission issues recommendations and guidance to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) for enabling anticipatory investments, aligning with the recently announced guidance on renewable acceleration areas as part of the Wind Power Package. The report underscores the importance of taking action to support the creation of necessary grid infrastructure, aligning with EU initiatives to facilitate the permitting of renewables.

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