Energy networks and storage

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A record high 5 GW of battery storage capacity was added worldwide in 2020, bringing the total capacity to around 17 GW

Energy storage allows for flexibility in the timing of when energy is supplied and when it is used. Energy storage comes in a number of forms, including chemical, kinetic, thermal, gravitational potential, electromagnetic, electrochemical and osmotic potential. The choice of storage solution depends on location as well as reserve service required, since different technologies can provide different capacities and durations of storage. Storage of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels has been commonplace for centuries; as the low carbon transition requires integration of increasing intermittent renewable sources into the system, energy storage is becoming integral for reducing dependency on fossil fuels and achieving a flexible, resilient energy network. Strategic placement of storage also gives the potential to avoid otherwise necessary network upgrades and curtailment of expensive assets. Greater connectivity between different energy networks, i.e. interconnection across national grids, can allow for security of supply without needing additional generation capacity.

Energy storage has applications varying from small-scale local systems in homes or commercial buildings – which are becoming increasingly common alongside the rise of distributed generation – to utility-scale storage systems. Common examples of energy storage include batteries (mainly lithium-ion) which store electricity as chemical energy, pumped hydroelectric storage systems which store gravitational potential energy in elevated reservoirs, and ice storage tanks which store thermal energy by freezing water with cheaper energy at night to meet peak cooling demand in daytime. Surplus renewable electricity can also be used to produce energy carriers like hydrogen, enabling the storage of renewable energy for long periods. Electric vehicles can also function as storage systems, since electricity can be transferred both to and from the batteries of plugged-in vehicles when needed. With energy storage expected to play a greater role towards a low-carbon and sustainable energy future, various storage technologies must be evaluated to balance the trade-offs between life-cycle cost, efficiency, material sustainability and safety.

Learn more about storage by reading our Energy Insights.

Read our New Energy World articles on how energy storage fits into strategies for carbon reduction.

Learn about recent public funding for research and development of energy storage on our policy milestone calendar.

What's new?

US to boost annual renewables investment to $114bn by 2031

01/02/2023

‘The IRA will completely reshape the renewables supply chain in the US, incentivising the reopening of shuttered facilities as well as provide opportu...

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BP predicts carbon emissions could fall more steeply than estimated previously

01/02/2023

This year’s report explores the key trends and uncertainties surrounding the energy transition out to 2050. The three main scenarios considered – ‘Net...

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FPSO sets sail for Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project

01/02/2023

The FPSO set sail from Qidong, China, to travel 12,000 nautical miles via Singapore to its final destination in about 120 metres depth of water, aroun...

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Bangladesh leaning towards coal-based power

01/02/2023

The report reveals that the share of coal power in the country’s total generation is estimated to reach 12.6% in 2032. In September 2022, the Banglade...

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AI will accelerate tipping points for crucial green technologies

01/02/2023

The report states that the deployment of low-carbon technologies is being facilitated and accelerated by AI and digital enablers, with key technologie...

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Events and training

Hazardous Area Classification - March 2023

28/03/2023 - 30/03/2023

This 3-day training course will provide delegates with training on the Energy Institute Model Safe Code of Practice 15, Area Classification for Instal...

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Oil & Gas Industry Fundamentals - Awareness - Nigeria

16/04/2023 - 20/04/2023

OIL & GAS INDUSTRY FUNDAMENTALS

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Aviation Jet Fuel - April 2023

18/04/2023 - 20/04/2023

This 3-day training course will provide delegates with an overview of aviation jet fuel, focusing on the jet engine, its underlying principles and fue...

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Hazardous Area Classification - November 2023

07/11/2023 - 09/11/2023

This 3-day training course will provide delegates with training on the Energy Institute Model Safe Code of Practice 15, Area Classification for Instal...

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Technical guidance publications

Model Code of Safe Practice Part 19: Fire precautions at petroleum refineries and bulk storage installations

2023

EI Model Code of Safe Practice Part 19:  Fire precautions at petroleum refineries and bulk storage installations (a.k.a. EI 19) provides gui...

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IP 467: Determination of the high temperature stability of middle distillate fuel

2023

This standard specifies a procedure for the assessment of the relative stability of middle distillate fuels under high temperature ageing conditions w...

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IP 387: Determination of filter blocking tendency

2023

This standard specifies a method for the determination of the filter blocking tendency (FBT) and filterability of middle distillate fuel oils and non-...

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IP 463: Determination of the presence of phenalenes and phenalenones in middle distillate fuels which affect potential instability - Rapid method by portable spectrophotometer

2023

This standard specifies an ambient temperature procedure for the rapid determination of the presence of compounds in middle distillate fuels which aff...

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Battery storage research report: Using second-life electric vehicle batteries for stationary storage

2022

This publication is free to download. Please log in to see the download option.This research report aims to set out the issues related to the use of '...

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Energy Insight: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) in the UK

Read our Energy Insight on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) in the UK