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IRENA focuses on Energy Storage for Renewable Energy Growth

Experts from politics, industry and science gather at Energy Storage Europe to discuss plans for the expansion of global renewable energy storage, as part of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) roadmap for energy storage. “The road map will guide IRENA’s 139 member states on the key activities needed to support energy storage for the global expansion of renewable energy” said IRENA last week in a press release. The roadmap was initiated last year as part of Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030 (REmap 2030), IRENA’s overarching plan to double the share of renewable energy in world’s energy mix between 2010 and 2030, from 20% to 40%, to help stave off the worst effects of climate change and solve a host of other socio-economic issues. To do so, an estimated 150GW of battery storage will be needed, making storage a vital element in renewable energy expansion. “Electricity storage systems can support the accelerated deployment of renewable power […]

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Experts from politics, industry and science gather at Energy Storage Europe to discuss plans for the expansion of global renewable energy storage, as part of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) roadmap for energy storage.

Renewable Energy
“The road map will guide IRENA’s 139 member states on the key activities needed to support energy storage for the global expansion of renewable energy” said IRENA last week in a press release.

The roadmap was initiated last year as part of Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030 (REmap 2030), IRENA’s overarching plan to double the share of renewable energy in world’s energy mix between 2010 and 2030, from 20% to 40%, to help stave off the worst effects of climate change and solve a host of other socio-economic issues.

To do so, an estimated 150GW of battery storage will be needed, making storage a vital element in renewable energy expansion.

“Electricity storage systems can support the accelerated deployment of renewable power generation in multiple applications from residential to utility- scale”, said Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “International cooperation to exchange best practices and coordinate efforts to reduce costs and facilitate deployment are critical at this stage, which is why the roadmap for electricity storage will be instrumental”.

The aim of these workshops has been to identify the key technologies, policies and applications for energy storage to support the accelerated deployment of renewable energy. They also consider which applications, best practices and lessons should be highlighted in IRENA’s global technology roadmap for electricity storage, which then feeds back into REmap 2030.

IRENA held its first international energy storage policy and regulation workshop entitled “The Transformative Power of Storage: Developing IRENA’s Electricity Storage Roadmap”, alongside the Energy Storage 2014, the third annual International Conference and Exhibition for the Storage of Renewable Energies. About 45 participants attended, including representatives from 14 IRENA member governments, industry representatives for energy storage associations in Canada, China, Germany, India and the United States, and representatives from research institutes, academia, and companies.

At the event, Gielen noted that government projections of renewable energy penetration had tended to underestimate true growth. Expecting more like 400 to 600GW of storage capacity will be needed to deal with the true growth of renewable energy, and up to approximately 325GW will come from pumped storage.

That being said, the volume of battery storage is expected to soar too. According to IRENA, the volume of lithium-ion battery-based storage is due to rise from 100MW in 2012 to around 25GW in 2020, and 150GW in 2030. Much of this growth comes on the back of increasing electric vehicle penetration in developed markets, but increasingly from stationary storage in smart buildings.

The proceedings from last year’s workshops suggest pricing and market reform will be top of the agenda. Previous discussions have also made it clear that the energy storage roadmap would focus on electricity storage, even though “thermal applications will be important and in many cases the cheapest options for coping with variable renewables”.

There are already a number of global energy storage roadmaps in existence, such as last year’s International Energy Agency (IEA) Technology Roadmap: Energy Storage. Consequently, IRENA seeks “to focus on the identification of international cooperation opportunities for electricity storage for renewables” according to an official statement.

“The road map should focus on both the prioritisation of action items for electricity storage deployment for renewables as well as the identification of international cooperation activities” continued the statement last year. “Ideally, key activities with progress indicators, cost/ budget outlays and timelines should be prepared for the individual stakeholders and for different regions”.

Specific details on how the roadmap intends to tackle these issues are expected after workshops and deliberation this month. Considering the rapid pace of change in the renewable energy and energy storage sectors, within the context of the ambitious and imminent targets set, the world will be hoping for an innovative, flexible and pragmatic route to its energy future.

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