Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee have adopted a report outlining their strategy for energy storage, which plays a crucial role in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate change.

The Paris Agreement is a multi-nation pact developed by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to combat climate change. The agreement’s main goal is to limit the global temperature increase in this century to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to work toward limiting the increase to 1.5 degrees.

In order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, the European energy system will need to become carbon-neutral by the second half of this century. While widescale deployment of renewable energy sources will be required to achieve this goal, current renewable technologies such as wind or solar are often not always reliable, with output depending on the time of day, the seasons and the weather. The ability to store energy will play an increasingly important role in bridging the gap in time between energy production and energy consumption.

The European Commission estimates that the EU will need to be able to store six times more energy than today to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Lead MEP Claudia Gamon (Renew Europe, AT) said:

“Energy storage will be essential for the transition to a decarbonised economy based on renewable energy sources. As electricity generated by wind or solar energy will not always be available in the quantities needed, we will need to store energy. Apart from storage technologies that we already know work well like pumped hydro storage, a number of technologies will play a crucial role in the future, such as new battery technologies, thermal storage or green hydrogen. These must be given market access to ensure a constant energy supply for European citizens.”

The report calls on the European Commission and member states to remove regulatory barriers that hamper the development of energy storage projects, such as double taxation or shortcomings in EU network codes. The MEPs also said that Trans-European energy networks need to be revised in order to improve eligibility criteria for those wishing to develop energy storage facilities.

The committee also voiced support for the Commission’s efforts to create European standards for batteries and to reduce dependence on their production outside of Europe, noting that The EU’s heavy dependence on importing raw materials from sources where extraction degrades the environment should be reduced through enhanced recycling schemes and by sourcing raw materials sustainably, possibly in the EU.

The MEPs also called upon the Commission to continue supporting research into and development of a hydrogen economy, highlighting the potential role for green hydrogen in the transition to zero emissions energy production. Hydrogen has long been seen as one of the key building blocks of the transition to a cleaner energy future, given its ability to act both as a clean energy carrier and fuel, as well as a CO2-neutral feedstock for the production of green chemicals. Green hydrogen uses an electrolysis process to extract hydrogen from water, using a renewable source of energy such as wind or solar, with only oxygen released as a byproduct. The MEP’s recommended assessing the possibility of retrofitting gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen.

Finally, MEPs proposed ways to boost other storage options, including mechanical and thermal storage, as well as the development of decentralised storage through home batteries, domestic heat storage, vehicle-to-grid technology and smart home energy systems.

The report was adopted with 53 votes to 3, and 15 abstentions. It will be put to a vote during the 8-10 July plenary session.