Technology Overview on Electricity Storage

Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA), RWTH Aachen, SEFEP staff: Loukianos Zavolas, June 2012

Solar and wind energy play a decisive role in the energy transition. As their output is variable and not completely predictable, the transition to renewable energies requires increasing amounts of flexibility in the power system, to balance and make best use of variable renewable energies. Flexibility can be provided in different ways: demand response, flexible generation sources, grid expansion and storage.
The flexibility challenge is not only going to increase substantially due to increasing shares of variable generation, but also due to the geographical reshaping of the power system: substantial shares of renewable generation will come from remote areas, while other substantial shares are embedded in the local low or medium-voltage distribution networks.

SEFEP commissioned a report on electricity storage technologies and asked experts for a short introduction to different storage technologies, to be written for a non-specialized public. This report is intended to support the debate by informing on the technological aspects of one of the four flexibilities options. Neither the three other important sources for flexibility nor the non-technical factors for the deployment of flexibility like market design, environmental impact social and political acceptance, are addressed in this report.
SEFEP believes that enhancing dialogue on the various flexibility options is important to progress towards a power system predominantly based on renewables. This report reinforces, in a complementary fashion, SEFEP's work on network development, on other flexibilities, and on a political framework supporting higher amounts of renewable generation.

The report provides a foundation for discussion tackling mainly two questions:
- Which functions can be served by electricity storage systems, and how can their different applications be classified?
- What is the state of development of different storage technologies, and their respective strengths and weaknesses?

The report can be downloaded in English and German. Contact: Raffaele Piria (email, website).

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