The energy storage boom in Europe experienced a slowdown last year, according to the European Association for Storage of Energy (Ease).
The group said that the slowdown was caused by the stalling of large-scale schemes designed to store the energy produced by major renewable energy projects.
Consultants Delta-EE recently carried out a study on behalf of Ease, finding that althouh the European market grew by 1.47GWh in 2018, last year saw growth of only 1GWh.
This comes as a double blow to the clean energy sector, as the news of the 2019 slowdown comes at a time when there is already increased concern that the coronavirus pandemic could hamper the rolling out of clean energy technologies in 2020.
The slowdown in 2019 was particularly significant for large-scale energy storage projects. These projects connect directly to energy grids, and help to utilise renewable energy more efficiently by storing the energy so that it can be used at times when there is decreased availability of solar and wind power.
Projects such as these usually require the support of governments, either financially or via procurement tenders. However, home battery kits still remain a fast-growing sector due to being less reliant on policy support.
The Ease secretary general, Patrick Clerens, said: “The message is clear: even if energy storage is a key enabler of the energy transition and clearly seen as a major tool to achieve the emissions targets linked to the Paris agreement, more support is needed”.
The report forecasts the EU’s clean energy package to be a vital part of developing the foundation for the investment in energy storage. The package is ‘an important step’ according to Clerens, as it should help energy storage ‘to reach its full potential fast’.
The author of the Delta-EE report, Robin Adey-Johnson, said: “Storage remains a young market and the regulatory landscape is trying to catch up. So, year-on-year fluctuations in market growth are not unexpected. But we see strong underlying drivers and we expect further market expansion in the early 2020s as regulation stabilises and revenue streams mature”.
However, a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests that the global coronavirus pandemic will most likely delay policies that support clean energy technologies. Furthermore, the supply chain could also be hit, leading to a 4% fall in the global installations of batteries.
Analysts for BNEF said that despite Chinese factories starting-up again, there will be short-term lulls in supplies, especially for batteries, due to bottlenecks in the supply chain. However, analysts are ‘more concerned about demand, as policymakers may divert attention away from clean energy to more pressing concerns’.
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