April 19, 2023, The European Commission’s Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, has stressed the importance of energy storage in achieving the EU's energy transition and decarbonisation goals. During a speech to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Simson highlighted that storage is often overlooked in energy plans and strategies. The Commissioner presented the EC’s latest proposals on energy storage, including the need for flexibility resources, using batteries can provide. She also noted that storage is the centrepiece for building a decarbonised, flexible, and cost-effective energy system through electrification and energy system integration.
Energy storage is also a crucial element of the REPowerEU plan, the EU strategy to reduce the bloc’s reliance on imported Russian gas and increase renewable energy targets, including renewable energy and hydrogen development. Simson acknowledged that energy storage was initially left out of early drafts of the REPowerEU plan as well as draft proposals for the EU’s Electricity Market Design reforms, but both were later revised to feature explicit treatment of energy storage.
Simson presented several proposals, including provisions to boost "advanced storage and flexibility technologies'' at the core of the market framework, the establishment of national objectives for flexibility coming from non-fossil fuel resources, and the introduction of mechanisms to support non-fossil fuel resources or integrate them into capacity markets. She also pointed out that Europe’s Association Of Transmission System Operators, ENTSO-E, was developing a new network code to address regulatory barriers and further support the development of demand response, energy storage, and demand curtailment.
MEP Claudia Gamon, who spearheaded a 2020 report that proposed putting energy storage and hydrogen at the heart of the energy strategy conversation, supported Simson's proposals, stating that "there will be no energy transition without energy storage." She also noted that permitting for large-capacity projects needs to happen more quickly and not be stalled by bureaucracy.
In line with these concerns, the EC’s proposals and Simson’s speech highlight the crucial role of energy storage in achieving the EU's energy transition and decarbonisation goals. The proposals seek to remove barriers to and maximise energy system participation for storage resources and integrate non-fossil fuel resources into capacity markets. The European Commission's focus on energy storage is a positive step in the right direction and reinforces the importance of energy storage in creating a flexible, cost-effective, and decarbonised energy system.