Energy security: an electricity system perspective – Session 2: Keeping the electricity system secured in the long term – what’s needed?

  • MEP Assistant briefing in Brussels
    • Panel

MEP Jerzy Buzek, President of the EEF

Raffaele Rossi, Head of Market Intelligence, SolarPower Europe
Vasiliki Klonari, Head of Energy System Integration, WindEurope
Jacopo Tosoni, Head of Policy, EASE
Jose Elias Cabrera, Policy Officer, Renewables and Energy System Integration Policy, DG ENER, European Commission

Pascale Verheust, Director General of the EEF

This second EEF online Briefing session offered MEP Advisers and Assistants an opportunity to learn what is needed to keep the electricity system secured in the long term with a focus on energy storage.

Raffaele Rossi, Head of Market Intelligence, SolarPower Europe offered a comprehensive overview of the state of play of wind and solar generation in the EU. In the last 10 years, the combined share of these two VRES (variable renewable energy sources) has more than doubled soaring from less than 9% in 2012 to almost 20% in 2021. In the REPowerEU strategy, targets are set in terms of deployed installed capacity and the EC ambition is to deploy over 1,100 GWAC of wind and solar by 2030. These energy sources are bound to become the backbone of the future energy system and are key technologies to decrease the EU energy dependence. Focusing on solar, Mr Rossi explain the need to develop storage in parallel to VRES which will improve customers’ self-consumption, can shave peak demand, bring less stress on the grid and lower households’ energy bills by reducing their exposure to price volatility.

As energy supply and demand need to be always in balance Vasiliki Klonari, Head of Energy System Integration, WindEurope took over to explain what happens in case of surplus and shortage of renewable power production both in the short and long term. The costs associated with surplus management are unfortunately not very transparent as only a few countries publicly publish the information. When there is a shortage of renewable production other generation technologies are called upon to cover the residual load. Minimizing this residual load is key and this is where storage can help along with demand response and grid interconnection. She explained that flexible assets go hand in hand with energy storage technologies, both short and long term. She gave examples of projects of wind energy co-located with storage and underlined that the amount of such projects needs to increase.

Jacopo Tosoni, Head of Policy, EASE clarified the definition of energy storage according to the Clean Energy Package as the conversation of electrical energy into a form of energy which can be stored and the subsequent reconversion of such energy into electrical energy or another energy carrier. He presented the different types of energy storage options: chemical, electrical, mechanical, electrochemical and thermal with each their own specificities. Some have fast response times to imbalances in the grid while some are less reactive but can absorb big capacities for a long time with little loss. He underlined the significant growth in energy storage deployment in the last few years. Yet the capacity needs to increase further: today we stand at roughly 50-60 GW of energy storage and estimations show that around 200 GW will be needed by 2030 to ensure the flexibility of the system. But he added that there is a significant risk of not matching those needs. Our speakers agreed that there is a need to have a clear understanding of this needs and the state of play.

Jose Elias Cabrera, Policy Officer, Renewables and Energy System Integration Policy, DG ENER, European Commission focused on REPowerEU renewable energy objectives and measures. 69% of electricity will be generated from RES by 2030. Coping with the variability of renewables is essential and storage will play a crucial role. Mr Cabrera reminded storage assets are considered having an overriding public interest according to the Renewable Energy Directive. He also touched upon Energy System integration, the holistic approach in which the consumer plays an important role, digitalization and smart meters deployment, implementation of the Electricity Market legislation, grid modernization and storage R&I that are essential to address RES challenges.

Our usual Q&A session followed the presentations, to offer participants an occasion to take the floor and ask some additional information to the speakers.