In its 2014 renewable energy roadmap the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimated that in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change and accelerate sustainable energy transformation and economic growth, the share of renewables in the electricity sector should double to 45% by 2030. To achieve this, it was estimated that 150GW of battery storage and 325GW of pumped-storage hydroelectricity will be needed, making storage a vital element in the expansion of renewable energy.
Technological progress not sufficient to boost storage
Now IRENA has set out in a new energy storage roadmap a series of 14 actions aimed to advance the deployment of storage towards these targets. Experience so far demonstrates that technological progress is not sufficient to boost storage deployment.
“Now is the time to think about integrating large-scale battery storage into the global energy system,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan-Z Amin. “This roadmap is a starting point for all policy makers seeking to integrate greater storage capabilities, which is necessary to ensure the world is ready for the next phase of growth for renewable power systems.”
The roadmap is based on input from more than 200 electricity storage experts from 50 countries.
Priority actions to boost storage deployment
The actions are divided into five areas.
1. System analysis helps to assess the role of storage in different power sector segments, in comparison with other options to support renewable energy deployment. Analysis of this type is required for all countries considering energy storage policies. It complements activities in any of the other priority areas.
2. Storage in islands and remote areas is relevant for a large number of countries. This is the most immediate priority area where electricity storage can support renewable power deployment. [see e.g. Engerati-Solar Microgrids For Fiji]
3. Consumer-located storage is important for countries where household electricity prices are high compared to rooftop solar PV power production costs, or where consumer electricity feed-in is discouraged or limited. This priority area is particularly relevant to countries that already have or are expecting a high share of rooftop solar PV systems in the power sector. [Engerati-Engerati’s Week In Energy – Tesla Storage Goes Down Under]
4. Generator-located storage is important for island countries, as well as those with islands or remote off-grid power systems, those with inadequate grid infrastructure to link renewable energy resources to demand centres, and those facing other interconnection constraints.
5. Storage in transmission and distribution grids is important for countries making the transition to power systems based on renewables but with limited power system flexibility. Pumped-storage hydroelectricity is the key technology in this area, with advanced compressed air energy storage currently in the demonstration phase. Smaller, more distributed storage technologies are also of interest for providing local grid support where there is a high penetration of local variable renewables.
The roadmap also identifies relevant participants for each of the actions, including the industry alongside policymakers and governments. Indicators are also suggested to track progress in storage technology and its benefits for renewable energy deployment.