The EU wants to become independent of Russian energy as soon as possible. To this end, Brussels introduced the ‘REPowerEU’ plan this year. Our researchers note that the energy plan is missing an important chapter: the storage of solar energy.

The European energy plan assumes that the EU will generate more than 320 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy in 2025. By 2030, that should be between 400 and 500 GW. Energy storage plays a key role in this, but no mention is made of this in the plan.

The battery storage of energy in Europe currently comprises about 10 GW. 50% of this has been realized this year. According to the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), European energy storage will amount to approximately 57 GW in 2030. The growth is strong, but will prove insufficient, according to the EASE. In order to achieve the European climate targets, storage should amount to 200 GW by 2030.
Our research department foresees some setbacks for energy storage in the coming years. This is due to the shortage of lithium and the continuous disruption of the supply chain. The supply of not only raw materials, but also chips, for example, will remain difficult for some time and cause delays. Neither are rising interest rates and inflation helping. As a result, investments are being postponed.

The search for new base materials for batteries is in full swing. Currently, scarce lithium is primarily used. In the past, other rare substances such as nickel, manganese and cobalt were also used. Now we are waiting for trailblazing innovations such as saltwater batteries, for instance.

The generation of sustainable energy such as solar and wind energy is weather dependent and therefore variable. In order to make efficient use of peak times and to prevent overloading, the use of temporary energy storage is crucial. The fluctuating supply of sustainable energy can be stabilized with storage. By linking supply and demand of energy, predictable and stable energy production can be achieved. Unfortunately, agreements about this with network operators are difficult. This is partly because the regulations are lagging behind current circumstances and energy targets. The limited attention for energy storage is in stark contrast to the attention for sustainable energy and electric cars. While it is precisely these developments that accentuate the shortage of storage.

The European energy plan assumes that 45% of energy consumption in 2030 will be sustainable energy. It is not stated that sufficient energy storage is also required for this. There are also no stimulating incentives for investments in storage projects.

Despite the expected setback in the coming years, our research department is convinced there will be strong growth of battery storage in the medium to long term. Global investments will be somewhere between USD 4 and 11 billion in the period 2020-2030. Then rising to USD 10-20 billion in the next decade.

Germany is the largest market for batteries. For example, the country is leading the way with home batteries. Households can store solar energy that they do not use directly in a home battery. Great Britain is the 2nd market for energy storage.

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