The European Court of Auditors has released a briefing paper calling for an expansion of the EU energy storage sector.
The report highlighted the fact that the EU’s battery manufacturing capacity is substantially behind that of its competitors in the field and risked missing the European Battery Alliance’s targets for 2025. Auditors added that the EU has been slower both to develop and mass produce lithium-ion batteries, used in electric vehicles, than other “leading global regions” and that this may hold back further developments in the EU energy storage sector. The European Battery Alliance was chastised for focusing primarily on “existing rather than breakthrough technologies”, meaning fewer new developments in the field are likely to occur in the EU.
The auditors found that investment in research and innovation pertaining to the storage of renewable energies, particularly with regard to wind and solar, had not been sufficient to fully support market deployment. Entities investing in power grid storage options had faced a range of issues, mostly now addressed by incoming legislation; but the paper noted that current infrastructure in place to support electric vehicles (EVs) was by no means adequate to support the widespread EV uptake advocated by the EU.
The briefing paper laid out a number of recommendations for further action the EU needed to take in order to catch up to other comparable nations, including:
- Devising and implementing a coherent strategy for developing and maintaining energy storage technology;
- Streamlining the process of accessing EU funding for research and development, in order to promote innovation in the EU energy storage sector;
- Developing existing infrastructure to support the use of alternative and renewable fuel sources; and
- Increasing support for energy storage development initiatives by reaching out to stakeholders and investors.
Phil Wynn Owen, the Member of the European Court of Auditors who led the team behind the briefing paper, said: “Energy storage will play a fundamental role in achieving a low-carbon, mainly renewables-based energy system in the EU. The EU has taken steps to develop a strategic framework for energy storage, but there is a risk that the measures taken so far will not be sufficient to achieve the EU strategic objectives for clean energy.”