Technology Roadmap: Energy Storage

Energy storage technologies are valuable components in most energy systems and could be an important tool in achieving a low-carbon future. These technologies allow for the decoupling of energy supply and demand, in essence providing? a valuable resource to system operators. There are many cases where energy storage deployment is competitive or near-competitive in today’s energy system. However, regulatory and market conditions are frequently ill-equipped to compensate storage for the suite of services that it can provide. Furthermore, some technologies are still too expensive relative to other competing technologies (e.g. flexible generation and new transmission lines in electricity systems).

One of the key goals of this new roadmap is to understand and communicate the value of energy storage to energy system stakeholders. This will include concepts that address the current status of deployment and predicted evolution in the context of current and future energy system needs by using a “systems perspective” rather than looking at storage technologies in isolation.

Key Findings

  • Energy storage technologies are valuable in most energy systems, with or without high levels of variable renewable generation. Today, some smaller-scale systems are cost competitive or nearly competitive in remote community and off-grid applications. Large-scale thermal storage technologies are competitive for meeting heating and cooling demand in many regions.
  • Individual storage technologies often have the ability to supply multiple energy and power services. The optimal role for energy storage varies depending on the current energy system landscape and future developments particular to each region.
  • To support electricity sector decarbonisation in the Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) 2014 2DS, an estimated 310 GW of additional grid-connected electricity storage capacity would be needed in the United States, Europe, China and India. Significant thermal energy storage and off-grid electricity storage potential also exists. Additional data are required to provide a more comprehensive assessment and should be prioritised at the national level.
  • Market design is key to accelerating deployment. Current policy environments and market conditions often cloud the cost of energy services, creating significant price distortions and resulting in markets that are ill-equipped to compensate energy storage technologies for the suite of services that they can provide.
  • Public investment in energy storage research and development has led to significant cost reductions. However, additional efforts (e.g. targeted research and development investments and demonstration projects) are needed to further decrease energy storage costs and accelerate development.
  • Thermal energy storage systems appear well-positioned to reduce the amount of heat that is currently wasted in the energy system. This waste heat is an underutilised resource, in part because the quantity and quality of both heat resources and demand is not fully known.

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Source: envirocentre.ie

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