30 September, Brussels – A top official from DG Energy – Marie Donnelly, the Director for Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency – has said that existing energy storage capacity would be enough to balance out the increase of intermittent renewables being integrated into the European grid, if there were better links between electricity, and heating and cooling.
The storage capacity of district heating networks and water boilers in Europe adds up to more than the required capacity for balancing out renewables, but the heating and cooling sector needs to encouraged and enabled to provide energy storage for the electricity sector.
Linking heating and cooling systems with electricity systems would help balance the electricity grid as at times of oversupply, buildings’ heating systems or district heating and cooling could absorb renewable electricity through heat pumps or by providing thermal storage.
Ms. Donnelly said that, “Batteries are the wrong way to think. The right way to think is storage. We have more than enough to act as a balancer for renewables, but we haven’t made the connection.”
The issue of energy storage will be tackled in new proposals, expected in early 2016, for a new electricity market design, which aims to give a market value to energy storage.