The supply and demand of electricity have to be always balanced, while the power quality has to be held within predefined standards. The TSOs have standard procedures for achieving that and a lot of experience in dealing with emergencies.
However, the share of electricity from variable renewables connected to the grid is increasing and already by 2020 according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plans we will have in several European countries levels of variable renewable energy never seen before. This will pose new challenges to the grid, but it is widely accepted that there are technological solutions for meeting the renewable energy targets, while keeping the electricity system balanced and the power quality within standards.
What is still open for debate is the most efficient and fair way to achieve that, while meeting all policy objectives for a secure, clean and competitive energy system.
The enhancements of the transmission and the distribution networks, development of electricity storage facilities and demand response (also from small consumers through the smart grid) are all part of the solution.
In the stoRE project we focus on large scale electricity storage. As part of the project we have assessed the future electricity storage needs in six target countries. It has been a very interesting exercise. We believe there is scope for building in our experience and opening the debate about the methodology for assessing the electricity storage needs. We used available data about the grid development plans and assumptions about the role demand response will have to play. We will present and discuss our results in our upcoming event in the 28th EU PVSEC in Paris on the 2nd of October 2013.
There is a challenge to overcome, as currently the three pillars of the solution (grid, storage, demand response) are largely discussed in separate forums and driven by different stakeholders (TSOs, utilities, DSOs respectively). This is also partly because of the roles and responsibilities defined by the current regulatory and market framework; another issue we have studied within our project and there is clear scope for further progress to be made. We will put effort in turning our project and the upcoming event into the beginning of a wider dialogue.