Written by Christos Kougevetopoulos, head of operations at Wattcrop.

Following the escalating energy crisis in Europe, renewable energy has been a point of focus to help resolve the current situation and provide a safe buffer to the current energy mix. The advantages of renewable energy with regards to providing solutions to the problem are already known, with the main one being the ability for quick deployment and production of clean energy relatively quickly when compared to other forms of energy production. Deployment of such projects also contributes towards a carbo-neutral economy and ensuring the ambitious renewable energy target for the EU of 32% by 2030 is met, or more ambitious targets that are now being considered per the below graph.


Reading the above, one could conclude that renewable energy projects should be deployed immediately and en masse, however given the consumption of electricity has to be matched with the generation of electricity another problem emerges. Renewable energy projects cannot always generate electricity when there is demand for it as it is affected by the time of the day that there is demand of electricity and weather conditions. For example, in the case of solar, the maximum output is normally in the middle hours of the day but the biggest demand peak is often in the evening. Furthermore many countries across the EU have grid capacity problems and struggle to support the required deployment of renewable energy as there is a shift form the dominant centralised fossil fuel generation to de-centralised energy production units.

The solution to the above is already known and implementation has started almost a decade ago across the EU, in the form of energy storage. There are various forms of energy storage each having advantages and disadvantages and can be grouped into five categories

  1. Battery Storage
  2. Thermal
  3. Mechanical
  4. Pumped hydro
  5. Hydrogen

Without going into detail on each of the categories in this article, the three technologies that are likely to be used long term are battery storage (short term balancing), pumped hydro and hydrogen (long term requirements).  This would cover all eventualities and a range from fast responsive daily management to longer duration options for more unpredictable variations in supply and demand. Undoubtedly balancing power grids and saving energy provides a means to deploy more renewable energy projects, as well as introducing efficiencies to overloaded grids.

Energy storage has the capacity to provide solutions on many problems and the potential to reduce the energy crisis impact by introducing efficiencies and stabilizing the grid; ensuring the ambitious carbon neutral target is met; and providing cost efficiencies for energy supply to the end users.