How important is energy storage to the integration of renewable power sources in Europe? To find out, our event partners at European Utility Week spoke to Catarina Naucler, Nordic Smart Grid Development lead, Fortum Distribution AB, Sweden. Here is what she said.
Do you think that a 45% renewable energy share target for 2030 is feasible and if so, how does the energy industry need to prepare for this?
In Sweden, more than 55% of the power production already comes from renewable energy resources, mainly hydro power. Fortum continues to increase the level of renewable as part of our vision of the solar economy and strategy. Fortum sees a future functioning market-based solution for CO2 as a driver for more renewable energy.
What are the industry’s biggest challenges related to renewable energy integration and what needs to be done to overcome them?
The main challenge for the industry, related to renewable energy integration, is to have a holistic view of the transformation of the energy system. Investments will be needed in the whole system and subsidies in one part of the system will drive even more investments in another part. It is a challenge to fund all needed investments and a holistic view among decision makers and industry is the key.
According to you, will we need to keep conventional power plants as backup in periods with almost no renewable electricity generation?
To secure the competitiveness for the electricity intensive industry, a stable and long-term supply of energy is needed; base load will still be needed in the system. In Scandinavia hydro power is the core base load.
What role do you foresee energy storage to play in the near future?
Even if we will have a common European energy market, the grids are still local. The future energy system will have different challenges in different parts of the system, and solutions can differ. Furthermore, there are several roles for storage. In short term, I think we in the Nordics need to use what we already have to minimise the investments.
In Sweden we can use hydro to store, but we could also start to combine the electricity system with the district heating/cooling system and increase the flexibility in the whole energy system.
Catarina Naucler will be presenting on Fortum Distribution’s view on future energy outlook, renewable grid integration and energy storage, on Wednesday October 16 at 9am at European Utility Week. Get your free exhibition pass from Energy Storage Report now.