The story of added value of storage in distribution systems

Project news

Energy storage can bring added value to a flexible, secure and sustainable energy system. An EU-funded project coordinated by VTT researched new energy storage technologies and their benefits in distribution systems, involving 18 partner institutions in 8 different European countries.

There is a growing need for clean and inexhaustible sources of energy but increasing the share of renewable energy sources entails many challenges, f.e. temporal mismatch between energy demand and renewable energy availability. Energy storage enables decoupling demand and supply and adds flexibility to the system.

The STORY project investigated six demonstration cases with different local or small scale storage concepts and technologies, ranging from neighborhood residential storage to multi energy grid in industrial areas. “The case studies had indeed very different goals, but some common goals can be mentioned: increased use of local renewable energy, reduction of CO2 emissions and limiting the negative effects to the grid,” says project coordinator Mia Ala-Juusela.

An ambitious, demanding approach with valuable conclusions for future storage applications

The focus of the project was on electricity storage, but thermal storage was also included in some of the demos. One essential aspect was the control strategies developed for the different cases to reach their goals, contributing to the formulation of policy recommendations based on the experiences from the demos. STORY investigated the interrelations between technologies and stakeholders as well as the impact of policy and regulations on the business opportunities of the storage-related industry.

During the project, acquiring the storage systems was not always an easy endeavour and there were challenges even though tenders were received during the preparation phase. Maintenance proved to be a key aspect, as very few of the systems worked reliably from beginning to end.

One surprising result of the large-scale analyses was that, to reach the level where the environmental effects of storage installation are on the positive side, high penetration of renewables is imperative. The storage reduces the need to curtail the renewable energy and increases the share of CO₂ free energy in the system.  

The renewable energy and the energy grid/market branches are the sectors that will benefit the most from the project’s findings. The STORY consortium continues the development of the solutions, both in public-funded and commercial projects. 


Read the full text from EU Research results website 

Mia AlaJuusela
Mia Ala-Juusela
Jari Shemeikka
Jari Shemeikka
Research Team Leader
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