Could grids negate the need for energy storage?

The potential for more grid interconnections in the European transmission system does not minimise the need for energy storage in Europe, according to the European Commission project e-Highway2050. Photo credit: ENTSO-E

The potential for more grid interconnections in the European transmission system does not minimise the need for energy storage in Europe, according to the European Commission project e-Highway2050. Photo credit: ENTSO-E

By Jason Deign

The potential for interconnections to minimise the need for storage across Europe looks vanishingly thin in the face of recent research.

Five future interconnection scenarios published last November as a result of a European Commission project called e-Highway2050 all accept the need for significant storage capacity in order to de-carbonise Europe’s energy system.

The 40-month-long project concluded it would be possible to achieve close to zero carbon emissions by 2050 with an investment of between €100bn and €400bn in electricity transmission infrastructure.

At the same time, however, all the models used in e-Highway2050’s research findings booklet also included an allowance of between 73GW and 113GW of energy storage, compared to 45GW in place in 2012.

“I suppose that the architects behind the project want to demonstrate the high shares of fluctuating energy can be handled,” consultant Paul-Frederik Bach told Energy Storage Report.
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EU policy: Juncker puts a Spaniard in the works

How will European energy policy be affected by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy designate. We analyse the background of Junker's proposed candidate from Spain. Photo credit: European Commission

How will European energy policy be affected by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy designate? Photo: European Commission

In July we cautiously predicted Jean-Claude Juncker’s election as European Commission (EC) president might be good news for energy storage. Now we are not so sure. His choice of energy commissioner appears dubious, to say the very least.

A brief survey of the credentials for Miguel Arias Cañete, Juncker’s proposed EC Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, reveals the veteran Spanish politician is possibly the last person you would want running a low-carbon, green energy agenda.

Cañete, who until recently was Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, has been roundly slammed by environmental groups for having deep links to the fossil fuel industry.

A keen vintage car collector, he formerly ran two petroleum storage businesses and until recently retained 2.5% shares in both of them. This week it was confirmed that he has hurriedly sold the shares off.

But it will be less easy to shake off the fact that during his tenure in the Spanish administration he opened the door to hydraulic fracturing by including it as one of the processes that would be admitted for environmental permitting under a new law.
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Hydrogenics gets funds for demo

Hydrogen generator and power cell developer Hydrogenics Corporation has announced it has won a major energy storage R&D and demonstration project in Europe as part of a consortium with eight other partners.

The ‘Don Quichote’ project (for ‘Demonstration Of New Qualitative Innovative Concept of Hydrogen Out of wind Turbine Electricity’) is receiving  a €2.86 million investment by the European Commission as part of a Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, and will take five years to complete, says the company.

The project will consist of a 350 bar electrochemical compressor, a 30Nm3 PEM electrolyser system and a 90 kW fuel cell system to demonstrate the technical and economical viability of an integrated hydrogen storage system for renewable electricity linked to a hydrogen refueling facility.

The consortium will design, build, deploy and operate the system at the Colruyt site near Brussels, to double the capacity of an existing 350 bar fueling station to 130 kilograms per day, and install a fuel cell system for electricity demand leveling.