KEMA launches study of large-scale energy storage in European context

12 February 2009 – The Netherlands’ KEMA has been commissioned by Dutch utilities DELTA, Eneco, Essent, Nuon and the General Energy Council to launch a study into the need and necessity of large-scale energy storage.

The share generated by renewable energy sources in Europe is expected to increase substantially over the next ten to twenty years in response to the EU’s sustainability and CO2 emission reduction goals.

However, the supply intermittency and concentration that characterizes wind generation in particular can at times lead to a regional supply surplus. A solution must be found for dealing with these supply peaks and fluctations.

Large-scale energy storage may be the answer. The need for greater clarity on this issue has also been expressed in the Dutch parliament on several occasions over the past year. The study will be conducted from a European perspective, and is due for completion in June of this year.

Any individual country can accommodate a surplus by temporarily exporting more electricity. However, it is questionable whether increased electricity export or import can adequately compensate for simultaneous oversupply from wind farms across the entire continent.

Large-scale energy storage may be the solution for dealing with such surpluses more efficiently, so that wind energy can be utilized to the full.

Moreover, large-scale energy storage provides options to tackle instability in the grid, and it can play a role in generation load-balancing and solving network control issues.

In this study, KEMA will execute a realistic simulation, based on its own European market model that covers much of the European electricity grid.

The model incorporates various scenarios related to developments in wind energy and fossil fuel prices, as well as future developments in power generation and network interconnection.

Pier Nabuurs, CEO of KEMA, said: “This study will enable the Dutch energy sector to take a new look at regional overproduction, one of the consequences of large-scale renewable energy use, in the light of possible large-scale energy storage.

“This is a pressing issue, because we can reasonable expect that sooner or later, the wind energy share will increase sharply. So this study is vital to the discussion on the future of European power supplies.”