Energy storage applications at 9 GW, regulatory framework pending

Applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, since 2019 for energy storage projects involving all technologies have exceeded past levels, as well as expectations, to reach a total of almost 9 GW, the authority’s chief executive Thanassis Dagoumas has told an IENE online workshop on energy storage.

Over the past two or so years, RAE has received a total of 98 applications for energy storage, pumped storage and hybrid projects representing an overall capacity of 8,213 MW, the official informed.

Taking into account a Terna Energy investment plan for a pumped storage station complex in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, whose development is set to commence in October, this capacity totals 8,893 MW.

To date, RAE has issued production licenses for the majority of these applications, while 34, representing 4,519 MW, still need to be examined.

Despite the progress and considerable interest shown by investors, many issues remain unresolved for an energy storage regulatory framework.

To date, energy storage production licenses granted by RAE have been based on an existing framework for natural gas-fueled power stations.

Much work is still needed before some of the investment plans can be developed, Dagoumas, the RAE chief, acknowledged during the IENE event.

First of all, authorities need to decide on a support mechanism that could make these investment plans sustainable. A related study conducted last year on behalf of RAE showed that, without a support mechanism, energy storage units would not achieve sustainability.

This study also found that, given support, energy storage units would be both essential and beneficial for the grid.

Incorporating energy storage units into the National Energy and Climate Plan’s long-term planning for capacity sufficiency, as well as a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM), are also priorities, the RAE official noted.

The addition of energy storage units to the country’s energy plan is expected to subdue new power station investments and reinforce networks.

Other RAE priorities include incorporating energy storage into target model markets, a development promising balancing market flexibility.

Optimal energy storage capacity levels will need to reach 3 GW by 2030, 7 GW by 2040, and 12 GW by 2050, Pantelis Kapros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, told the event.