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Energy storage systems in Europe by 2031
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Energy storage systems in Europe by 2031

Energy storage systems in Europe by 2031

June 07, 2022

Ambitious net zero targets, reducing reliance on Russian fossil fuels, regulatory changes and growing investor confidence will lead to the deployment of 42GW of energy storage systems in Europe by 2031, according to the study.


European countries now have some ambitious decarbonisation targets, and the pace of the energy transition is accelerating: in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the European Commission set out a "RePowerEU" plan to reduce Europe's energy dependence on Russian gas by 2030. The proposed plan would double the share of electricity generated from variable renewable sources to more than 60 percent by 2030. Energy storage systems will play a key role in this rapid transformation and provide vital power system flexibility.


As a result, the emerging grid-scale energy storage sector in Europe is growing rapidly. The capacity of energy storage systems deployed in Europe will increase 20-fold between now and 2031, according to Research firm Wood Mackenzie.


Research conducted by Wood Mackenzie draws on the insights of energy storage service providers to provide 10-year forecasts for 18 European countries, explore drivers and barriers to energy storage deployment, and highlight strategic points for industry players and governments.


By 2031, the European grid scale energy storage market will reach 45GW/89GWh


The study suggests that in 2022 alone, European grid-scale energy storage demand will increase by 97% year-on-year to 2.8GW/3.3GWh. This reflects the emergence of energy storage system as a mainstream energy technology.


Over the next decade, the top 10 European markets will add 73GWh of storage, equivalent to 90% of new deployments.


The UK will retain its lead as the region's leading grid-scale energy storage market by 2031, adding 1.5GW/1.8GWh in 2022 alone. As investor confidence in the profitability of energy storage assets grows, the UK has the largest pipeline of energy storage project deployments in Europe, with 25 projects with installed capacity of more than 100MW. The saturation of the rapid response support market will tie the development of energy storage projects in the UK more closely to the growth of renewable energy, driving the deployment of long-term storage systems from 2035.


Ireland will be second in Europe in 2022 with 0.31GW/0.37GWh of storage deployments. Yet, as the chart shows, Italy claims to have ranked second overall in the decade to 2031.


By 2030, Italy will be Europe's second-largest market for solar power, behind Spain. This significant growth, combined with high spot prices, limited connectivity and favorable policy mechanisms such as new capacity market auctions, will drive the growth of grid-scale energy storage.


Germany ranks third in new grid-scale solar installations by 2031. However, by adding up the capacity of the grid-scale and user-side systems deployed in the country, Germany will be Europe's leading energy storage market by 2031. Growth in the European energy storage market has varied widely.


Commercial revenues remain the main source of income for grid-scale energy storage assets in Europe


While investor confidence is growing, significant challenges remain in the financing and licensing process. Energy storage projects struggle to ensure their lifetime profitability. The current business model relies heavily on volatile renewable electricity and ancillary market prices that do not fluctuate enough to ensure profitability. Energy storage system prices are expected to rise by 7% in 2022, further increasing the risk.


Ancillary market price increases in 2021 do prove that some risky business revenue can be made. However, In Wood Mackenzie's forecast, 5.3GW of storage will be cancelled or significantly delayed due to project financing and licensing challenges.


Europe's ambitious energy transition targets will change that. At present, auxiliary services are the main application of power grid scale projects. But doubling the installed capacity of wind and solar facilities in Europe by 2031 will unlock new energy storage applications -- and energy trading as a major source of revenue. This shift will bring more certainty to the construction of energy storage projects and incentivize investment in long-term storage systems.


Virtual power plants (VPPS) will also play a key role in improving the economics of energy storage systems. Their increased scale will help owners of storage assets gain value added.


Higher prices for cobalt, nickel and lithium are driving up battery prices in 2022. Battery prices rose the most among all components of an energy storage system due to higher raw material costs.


However, global investment in raw material supply and processing should ease cost pressures by the end of 2024. While some storage projects have seen delays due to battery supply constraints, deployment growth remains strong.


Regulation is key to unlocking Europe's 42GW of energy storage systems


For storage systems to reach their potential, policy barriers do need to be overcome. The three main obstacles to the deployment of grid-scale energy storage systems in almost all European countries are:


• Missing or outdated definitions of energy storage systems lead to their classification as load or power generation facilities. This can lead to double billing for storage systems or unnecessary grid charges.


• Policy designs and requirements originally developed for conventional power sources may result in limited access to flexible and balanced markets (e.g. ancillary markets). This limits the value accumulation opportunities in Europe.


• Lack of a revenue generating mechanism to support the energy storage business case is a further constraint.


Most of the regulatory hurdles will be resolved by 2031 as demand for flexibility surges and concerns about security of supply increase.

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