Ignoring energy storage in Europe’s recovery and resilience funding would be big mistake, EC warned

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Image: NASA.

Concern has been expressed about the lack of attention and funding for energy storage in plans for economic recovery and post-pandemic resilience tabled by European Union Member States.

Nearly all of the 27 EU Member States have submitted Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP) for review by the European Commission, which has said it will make €672.5 billion (US$800.4 billion) of funding available to support public investments and reforms between now and 2026. Just over half of that money will be in the form of loans (up to €360 billion) and the remaining €312.5 billion in grants.

The facility was introduced in February, and 23 Member States have already submitted plans. However, a group of 12 national energy storage associations, along with the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), have written to the European Commission with their concerns.

The EC is being urged to consider whether the plans devote sufficient funding for energy storage solutions and meet a 37% climate spending target. On reviewing the plans submitted so far, EASE and the 12 associations said that many of them fall short of meeting the EU’s climate ambitions overall. Furthermore, plans either omit energy storage altogether, or pledge funding for specific projects, which means a technology neutral approach is not being considered.

Along with EASE, associations from Spain, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia signed the letter to the commission. The signatories said that with the EU committed to its Green Deal priorities, climate sector investments should be front and centre in the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The associations recommend that the Commission encourage Member States to set energy storage deployment targets, set aside funding for energy storage projects and dedicate funding towards introducing new legislation and support programmes for clean energy tech and flexibility providers to the energy system.

The facility offers a unique opportunity, and the European Commission should motivate and raise the level of ambition shown by Member States to make the most of it. The associations said that the energy storage sector is willing and ready to help accelerate the transformation to a net-zero energy system, in cooperation with the EU and policymakers from countries across the continent.

“The European Commission estimates that between €100 and €300 billion will be needed to finance new energy storage systems to meet flexibility needs and ensure security of supply in the EU up to 2050,” EASE secretary general Patrick Clerens said.

“The RRF should contribute some of this much-needed funding. This is why we urge the Commission to carefully review the RRPs already submitted, and prioritise investments in energy storage.”

Four of the participating energy storage associations contributed to a feature article recently published in our quarterly journal PV Tech Power (vol.27). Representatives from Spain’s AEPIBAL, Poland’s PSME, Germany’s BVES and the Irish Energy Storage Association all spoke about their shared European challenges and opportunities as well as the more specific regulatory, legislative and technical issues affecting their individual national markets. You can read an extract of that interview piece here.

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