Slowdown in Energy Storage Technologies in Europe

There was a slowdown in the large scale green energy projects that were started in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic reduced state support to such projects.

The energy storage industry in Europe slowed down due to a stall in large scale clean energy projects which were initially designed to store the energy generated from renewable energy projects, says the European Association for Storage of Energy.

Consultants Delta-EE did a study on behalf of the European Association for Storage of Energy found that last year the market in Europe grew by 1 gigawatts hours. This is a significant slowdown on 2018 when the European energy storage market grew by 1.47 gigawatt hours, which exceeded all expectations.

There is concern in the industry that the unexpected slowdown of the industry in 2019 paired with the coronavirus outbreak, which may further slowdown the rollout of new technologies, will provide a double blow to the industry.

The main slowdown in 2019 is believed to be due to a downturn in large scale energy projects. These projects connect to energy grids and then store any excess energy that is being produced so that when there is no wind or sun the stored renewable energy can be used to power the grid instead of relying on fossil fuels.

Due to the large scale of these projects they normally require financial support from the government, planning permission and procurement tenders to get started. Whereas, home battery kits, which require much less paperwork and policy to get started remained a fast-growing market as expected.

The secretary general from the European Association for Storage of Energy, Patrick Clerens has said that more support is needed for the large scale energy projects as they are a key enabler in helping the energy transition and will be one of the main new technologies behind achieving the emissions targets from the Paris climate agreement.

The EU clean energy package, which contains legislation that supports the large scale clean energy projects will be essential in ensuring that there is a framework for governments and companies to invest into clean energy storage, the report found.

The package will be an ‘important step’ in making sure that clean energy storage will ‘reach its full potential fast’ said Patrick Clerens.

The author of the report from Delta-EE, Robin Adey-Johnson has said that large scale clean energy storage is still a ‘young market’ and therefore the regulatory landscape for it is still trying to catch up with it. This means that fluctuations in growth of the market from year to year are not unexpected. However, there are strong underlying drivers and it is expected that the market will continue growing in the early stages of this decade as the investment becomes more reliable and regulation stabilises.

Whilst is it hoped the market will bounce back from this slight slowdown, the unexpected global pandemic caused by the coronavirus will more than likely end up delaying policies that support clean technologies. The supply chain could also be hit with the rate of battery installations falling by up to 4 per cent globally, as found by a recent report from BloombergNEF.

The report from BloombergNEF found that there will be short term bottlenecks forming in the supply chain, even as Chinese factories are starting to return to work. This is especially apparent in the market for batteries and shows the need for more improved diversified supply chains around the world.

The analysts from BloombergNEF however did state they are more worried about the demand for the batteries than the supply as policymakers may divert their attention away from clean energy projects whilst the coronavirus is around.

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