The rapid expansion of variable renewable electricity generation is making cost effective storage more urgent. Sure enough, in Europe several electricity storage projects are under construction and new ones are announced almost on a weekly basis. The battery technology seems to be on track, with estimates of $156/kWh in 2019 dropping to $61/kWh by 2030. But progress is hampered by the lack of a market that recognises and rewards the true value of this utility-scale storage. We shouldn’t just be paying for the electric power delivered. We need markets that also pay for the grid stability it brings (frequency response, flexible ramping, etc.), say Emanuele Taibi, Carlos Fernández and Aakarshan Vaid at IRENA. They start by running through the progress so far. They then describe policy initiatives in Europe to create those new markets, and case studies from the UK and Australia. The authors end by pointing at two global initiatives: The World Bank’s Energy Storage Partnership and IRENA’s own Electricity Storage Valuation Framework.
The current transformation of the power sector calls for a more flexible energy system to ensure that a power system with high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE) can be operated reliably and cost-effectively. The integration of large shares of VRE, such as solar and wind, introduces a number of technical and economic challenges which require various changes in the way that regulators, system operators, utilities and policy makers plan, manage and operate the power system.
In this context, electricity storage is today a prominent solution to address at once multiple challenges that arise with an increasing VRE penetration. This is mostly because, thanks to its unique capabilities of rapidly absorbing, storing and reinjecting electricity, storage is a very suitable technology to provide a range of services that support solar and wind integration.