The Council of Ministers has approved, at the proposal of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), the Energy Storage Strategy; a key strategy to guarantee the transition to an emission-neutral economy and the effective integration of renewable energies.

This document has been approved after a public consultation process, which includes the contribution of 5 research centers -among which is CIC energiGUNE through its General Manager, Nuria Gisbert- that took part in five workshops for the definition of the strategy, as well as the public consultation of the resulting draft.

Why are energy storage systems important?

As the Ministry points out, the technologies that involve energy storage can provide flexibility and stability to the system, as well as avoiding the loss of clean energy in those moments when there is more renewable energy than can be consumed, making it easier to use it when the demand is higher.

These technologies are favoring the development of market niches such as electromobility or the residential sector through electric self-consumption or thermal energy storage as a solution for insulation in buildings. It is also highly efficient in the industrial sector, where it helps to decarbonize processes that use heat and cold.

The Strategy is part of the set of actions planned to meet the objectives established in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 and the Long-Term Decarbonization Strategy and envisages having a total energy storage capacity of around 20GW in 2030 and 30GW by 2050, when the current capacity stands at 8.3 GW.

As already mentioned in the draft, the document includes 10 lines of action and 66 measures including the development of new business models such as the second life of batteries, the circular economy, the promotion of green hydrogen, the use of storage for the technological development of islands and isolated areas, the promotion of R+D+i, and the removal of administrative barriers to promote projects and initiatives.

Energy storage technologies

The document points out many storage technologies, but highlights, due to their maturity, pumped hydroelectric power plants, which allow electricity generation from the release of water stored at high altitudes; or batteries, which play a key role in the current electric vehicle revolution, but also, closely linked to solar panels, as systems used to regulate solar self-consumption in homes or businesses. Battery research is currently focused on the optimization of batteries in order to extend their service life.

In terms of large-scale applications, thermal storage systems play an important role in solar thermal power plants, where heat is stored in tanks of molten salts at high temperatures to generate electricity.

Finally, the published storage strategy refers to more innovative storage systems such as renewable hydrogen as a key vector for decarbonizing sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, such as high-temperature industrial processes, or heavy transport, buses and/or trains.

The investment in research, development and integration of these technologies will be essential for the transformation of the energy system into one based on renewable energies that will help us in the fight against climate change by providing us with emission-free energy in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

For this reason, the recent publication of the Energy Storage Strategy is so relevant, as it places the State in a leading position to face the ecological transition, in a scenario in which Europe is committed to being the first emission-neutral continent by 2050.

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