Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy and renewables bodies ask EU to recognise storage’s ‘crucial role’ in energy security

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Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy, the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), Solar Power Europe and Wind Europe have together called on the European Commission to recognise energy storage’s crucial role for the security of energy supply in Europe.

The four organisations say that without rapidly scaling up energy storage technologies, “the EU will be unable to achieve a net-zero power system, risking continued exposure to volatile fossil energy markets”.

The open letter said the EU urgently needs a massive and rapid rollout of energy storage solutions, pointing out that most of today’s grid balancing is being done by carbon-emitting resources like gas-fired power plants. It recommends making energy storage a political priority alongside renewables and lays out three actions the Commission can take.

The first is to set energy storage targets for 2030 as part of the REPowerEU plan in May just as has been done for renewables and hydrogen. Governments should provide visibility on national roadmaps and actions for the development of storage.

Next, they want the Commission to promote the uptake of energy storage technologies. One way would be to extend the Contracts for Difference under the Innovation Fund to cover energy storage. Another would be to provide guidance on the design of standalone and colocated renewables+storage tenders in line with EU State Aid guidelines.

Energy storage should also be made mainstream in the European Commission’s implementation of the REPowerEU action plan and in the ongoing review of the Electricity Market Design.

“It is key to identify and lift barriers to storage uptake, such as the lack of implementation of EU legislation in Member States and permitting bottlenecks,” the open letter reads.

“With the US and China strongly supporting energy storage uptake, the EU risks coming late to yet another technology trend. Europe has invested a lot in R&D, especially in long-duration energy storage. We now need to reap the benefits of these efforts by deploying storage technologies at large scale,” said Ann Mettler, Vice President Europe at Breakthrough Energy, the umbrella organisation founded by Gates and others in 2015.

Patrick Clerens, Secretary General of EASE, added: “We need to replace gas turbines that provide flexibility. And not in years: now.”

Breakthrough Energy is made up of several companies include Breakthrough Energy Ventures which has invested in long-duration energy storage technology groups such as Antora Energy, two months ago.

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