Energy networks and storage

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?

Europe’s biggest battery energy storage system now online

30/11/2022
Developed by Harmony Energy and employing a Tesla two-hour Megapack system, the Pillswood project, near Hull, can store enough electricity to power ar...

Read more »

EIB boosts clean energy financing by extra €30bn

09/11/2022
The additional funds from the Group (which comprises the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund) will be directed to renewables, energy...

Read more »

Centrica re-opens Rough storage facility as UK sets new wind power record

02/11/2022
Centrica has announced the reopening of the Rough gas storage facility, having completed significant engineering upgrades over the summer and commissi...

Read more »

Record level of CCS projects in the pipeline

26/10/2022
In the past year, ‘we’ve seen CCS become increasingly commercial and competitive in many countries,’ asserts Jarad Daniels, CEO of the Global CCS Inst...

Read more »

Equinor opens new solar plant in Poland, and approves UK battery storage project

12/10/2022
Located in the Braniewo municipality in the north of the country, Stępień is thought to be one of the largest solar plants in Poland to date. It compr...

Read more »

Events and training

How to design and build an ‘off-grid’ electrical system

08/12/2022
This is an in-person joint event hosted by the Energy Institute and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. 

Read more »

Hazardous Area Classification - March 2023

28/03/2023
This 3-day training course will provide delegates with training on the Energy Institute Model Safe Code of Practice 15, Area Classification for Instal...

Read more »

Hazardous Area Classification - November 2023

07/11/2023
This 3-day training course will provide delegates with training on the Energy Institute Model Safe Code of Practice 15, Area Classification for Instal...

Read more »

Energy Storage Fundamentals for Energy Security - Online version

This online self-paced training course will allow you to gain a comprehensive understanding of energy security awareness and learn how to achieve ener...

Read more »

Filling Station Design and Engineering

This 1-day workshop will introduce the fundamentals of filling station design and engineering considerations using established industry guidance the B...

Read more »

Technical guidance publications

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 '...

Read more »

Research report: The assurance of liner integrity during tank floor works on above-ground storage tanks holding petroleum, petroleum product or other fuels

2022
This technical publication is intended to provide guidance on the assurance of liner integrity during tank floor works on above-ground storage tanks h...

Read more »

Assessing environmental impacts of energy storage technologies for grid scale applications

2022
ObjectivesThe objective of this project is to produce a guidance document with two main aims:To summarise the key environmental, material and other su...

Read more »

Investigation into the risk and impact associated with non-diesel fuel engine vehicles, by type, whilst entering or working within hazardous storage locations (Phase 2)

2022
This research report has been written to support the management of the hazards and risks associated with the use of alternative fuelled vehicles withi...

Read more »

EI Research report: Review of directives/regulations relevant to the safe and environmentally compliant production, transportation and storage of hydrogen

2022
This document is free to download for registered users of the site.This report presents the findings of a study to review existing regulations and ass...

Read more »

Visit our publishing site »

You may also be interested in