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Clean Energy Ministerial 5 (CEM5)

12–13 May 2014, Seoul, Korea

Energy Storage Systems: Challenges and Opportunities


Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are a rapidly emerging set of technologies that can help ensure a stable supply of electricity and reduce power consumption by lowering peak electricity demand, while complementing the intermittency of renewable energy, including wind power and solar PV. As the share of variable renewables increases in energy systems, the potential role of ESS becomes more critical. ESS can encompass a number of technologies, including compressed air energy, flywheels, electric batteries, thermal storage and pumped hydro. It can range from small distributed storage to utility scale storage. The strategic integration of ESS can help create an economic, flexible and resilient low-carbon energy system.

According to the IEA, public investment in research and development has led to significant cost reductions but additional efforts are needed to accelerate deployment. To expand the market for ESS, a number of challenges must be addressed, including technical issues, high capital costs, low life cycle, and low volume. Storage can be different from other technologies; it requires significant temporal optimization and can be quite system-dependent. Exploration of business models to support ESS usually focuses on (a) recognition of the value that ESS enables and (b) the means of compensation for value provided, both of which are shaped largely by policy, regulation, and institutional structure. Improving legal, regulatory, and institutional environments to take into account ESS and the functions they support will enable new business models and speed integration of ESS into grid systems. Efforts are needed to develop stable markets by defining the specific technical, institutional and policy challenges in expanding the use of ESS and by discussing solutions to overcome such challenges, including measures to encourage public-private coordination.

View the pre-read presentation.

Discussion Topics

  • What is the current status and outlook of technology development for expanding the deployment of ESS?
  • What is the applicable range of ESS technology? In particular, how could ESS stabilize the output of new renewable energy?
  • To what extent could ESS-using buildings or factories reduce their power consumption during the peak time? And is it likely that surplus electricity led by reduced electricity consumption goes to the DR market?
  • What are legal, institutional and technical challenges to the deployment of ESS in each nation? What can be done to meet these challenges?
  • What are effective and efficient financing measures for research, development and deployment of ESS?
  • What policy measures can help support the market uptake of ESS?
  • What challenges and opportunities arise in emerging economies through the expanded deployment of ESS?
  • What areas require public-private coordination and what should be given priority?