Germany finally gives energy storage its own legal definition

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The German parliament has passed law amendments giving energy storage its own legal definition, in a move welcomed by industry sources.

Adjustments have been made to the law on the Federal Requirements Plan (BBPlG), Energy Industry Act (EnWG) and Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (NABEG) which now define energy storage as an asset where “the final use of electrical energy is postponed to a later point in time than when it was generated,” according to a direct translation.

The move adopts the definition from Directive (EU) 2019/944 of June 5, 2019 into German law and was welcomed by the country’s Energy Storage System Association (BVES) as well as Jan Figgener, Head of Grid Integration and Storage System Analysis at ISEA RWTH Aachen University.

Both said it marks the beginning of a the development of a more storage-friendly regulatory framework. although the immediate effect on the sector is not apparent.

Figgener told “Until now, an energy storage system was either defined as a generation or a consumer asset based on whether it was discharging or charging. That is why regulation was extremely complex for storage, as it was originally defined for completely other assets in a traditional energy system.”

“This resulted in unfavourable regulation, complex exceptions, and thus hurdles and investment insecurity. With the new definition, regulations can be set up explicitly for energy storage to avoid these problems.”

Urban Windelen, Federal Managing Director BVES, said in a press release: “With the new definition, the energy storage industry is finally getting a suitable legal foundation. We can finally build on this and develop a stable regulatory framework for the system integration of energy storage systems that is so important.”

In addition to the new definition for energy storage, eligibility for a more streamlined digital grid connection process which was initially only intended for solar PV resources has been expanded to other energy transition assets such as energy storage. This will further remove bureaucratic obstacles and simplify and accelerate the rapid expansion of energy storage, BVES said.

However, the association warned that a technical error had been made during the translation of the definition from the EU directive to German law. The EU directive speaks of installation in an ‘electricity system’ while the German adoption mentions an ‘electricity network’, and BVES said this needed to be corrected quickly to avoid legal uncertainties.

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