Policies for Storing Renewable Energy – a scoping study of policy considerations for energy storageĀ (RE-STORAGE)

Energy storage is currently en vogue in the energy world, and sometimes presented as a silver bullet in meeting the challenges on the path to a low carbon energy system. Storage technologies could indeed help address the structural changes our energy system is facing and smooth the transition. They can contribute to balancing mismatches between supply and demand, and can support the deployment of renew-ables. However, deployment of storage aimed at facilitating renewables integration has, thus far, been limited.

This study identifies and discusses in detail four policy-relevant issues relating to renewables and storage that could affect the transition to a largely renewable energy system:

1. An effective energy system transition requires system approaches

2. The legacy system drives current market frameworks

3. Uncertainty around the performance of storage technologies affects adoption

4. System operators have a privileged position in storage deployment

As things stand, many storage technologies are immature and cannot compete on cost in current markets, but can provide valuable services that are currently poorly rewarded. Mechanisms to allow these technol-ogies to compete fairly, by valuing the services they do provide, would enable them to come down the cost curve and ultimately be fully cost-competitive.

While deployment and use of storage can inevitably support deployment of renewables, supporting it in a way that is fair, transparent, cost-effective and coherent with much larger energy system considerations is a complex and lengthy undertaking, with implications that ripple throughout that system.

This study provides recommendations for how stakeholders can engage around energy storage to ensure that decisions and policies regarding the energy system transition are informed by a clear and consistent systems perspective, and that barriers to the deployment of storage are reduced or eliminated.