This article, comes from UK-based Clifford Chance
The Paris Agreement, dated December 2015, gives some comfort that renewable energy generation will be ever more important in years to come. However, the likely future of renewables is one where they can be competitive without subsidy. In some cases, that is already a reality but there is still a long way to go. Energy storage is likely to be a game changer in helping renewables along this road.
Global efforts to decarbonize (including raising generation capacity) will increasingly rely on development of technology to help make the supply and use of energy more reliable, cost-efficient and flexible. The development of more interconnector capacity between national and regional grids will allow energy to be transferred more freely across borders to manage reliable supplies, including reducing wasted energy generated from renewable energy sources and helping to ameliorate the problem of intermittent generation technologies. There will be a growing emphasis on demand side flexibility which uses technology and data to manage consumer demand (for example by shifting demand to off-peak periods). A smart grid incorporates this technology and data to manage supply and demand on a larger scale across a whole grid network (at distribution or transmission level). This allows connection of greater levels of renewable resources to the network, and control of demand and real-time pricing at commercial and domestic consumer level: This helps not only balancing supply and demand, but also encourages energy efficiency.
Although not a new concept, energy storage is destined to become a crucial element of the energy networks of the future, helping ensure that energy is available when and where it is needed and is not wasted. Storage has a major role supporting centralized grids, and is also likely to be important in large-scale interconnection going forward. Increasingly, the old-style centralized grids of the past are being complemented by distributed energy networks or micro-grids, where typically smaller renewable sources produce energy for consumption at nearby locations (e.g. business parks, housing estates or factories). At this more local level, energy storage plays a key part in the development of micro-grids and smart grids. The remainder of this article focuses on issues related to energy storage (primarily issues relating to electricity storage).
Read the full 8 page report here: file:///I:/01%20For%20posting/Energy_Storage___delivering_renewable_energy_s_full_potential_6034245.pdf