Trends in energy storage around the globe include regulations and initiatives in the European Union, incentives in Türkiye, and the UK government’s push for new energy storage projects.
EU energy storage initiatives are key for energy security and the transition toward a carbon-neutral economy, improving energy efficiency, and integrating more renewable energy sources into electricity systems. Balancing power grids and saving surplus energy are key aspects of improving energy efficiency and integrating more renewable energy sources into electricity systems. Onsite energy storage (batteries) is another important element. The EU has a comprehensive database of the European energy storage technologies and facilities.
Energy storage also plays an important role in the European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 green transition package, a set of policy initiatives aiming at ensuring the EU gradually becomes climate neutral. The Green Deal envisages that the regulatory framework should foster the deployment of innovative technologies with energy storage.
The European Commission published a working document on the role of electricity in energy storage in 2017, and subsequently reflected these principles in the Clean Energy for All Europeans package in 2019.
In 2020, the European Commission published a study on energy storage, which summarized some previous studies and reports, explored current and potential energy storage markets in Europe, and set out policy and regulatory recommendations for energy storage. Since 2020, the European Commission has published progress reports on the competitiveness of clean energy technologies on an annual basis, including in respect of technologies and solutions for energy storage and power systems integration.
According to one such report published in 2022, Europe is a leader in renewable fuels, batteries, and storage technologies, and storage and system integration are key elements of clean energy technologies and solutions.
Key Regulations and Initiatives
The key regulations relevant for energy storage in the EU include the following:
Focus of EU Regulation
There is no unified regulation on energy storage; rather, regulation of energy storage is spread across a number of regulatory acts (most of which require implementing at the level of the EU member states).
In brief, the EU regulation in respect of energy storage appears to focus on the following:
The implementation practices and policy approaches in respect of current EU regulation still vary among the EU member states. Further development of energy storage regulation at the EU level is likely to be in line with its energy security and energy transition goals. One might also expect that such further developments will be in a spirit of solidarity demonstrated by the EU in respect of its gas storage amid the energy crisis, which would imply a greater alignment among member states.
A number of amendments have recently been made to the Electricity Markets Law and applicable regulations in Türkiye (the Amendments) to allow existing license holders of wind and solar power plants to establish electricity storage units within their generation facilities, and for investors to apply for preliminary licenses to establish new wind and solar power plants with storage units.
The Amendments introduced a number of notable changes:
For brownfield projects, in addition to the conditions above, the following conditions will need to be satisfied in order to amend a license to reflect the proposed capacity increase:
Importantly, wind and solar projects with storage units will continue to be entitled to receive the feed-in tariff (Renewable Energy Support Mechanism or YEKDEM). Under the Renewable Energy Support Mechanism, renewable power plants commissioned between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2025 will benefit from guaranteed price support by way of the following:
These changes further integrate electricity storage into renewable electricity generation and will pave the way for new solar and wind power plant developments to be attractive to investors and financiers, thereby incentivizing investment in renewable power generation in Türkiye. To illustrate this point, EMRA has confirmed that there have been more than 2,750 applications, corresponding to more than 164 gigawatts (GW) in installed capacity, following the Amendments, which are under review by EMRA as of this writing.
The UK is a leader in Europe with respect to energy storage projects. Harmony Energy Ltd.’s battery energy storage system (BESS), which went live in the United Kingdom in November 2022, was reported to be Europe’s largest BESS in megawatt hours (MWh) so far.
The UK is also moving forward with funding new storage technologies to maintain its leadership position. A few days after the Harmony project achieved commercial operation, the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced that five energy storage projects would benefit from a share of more than £32 million ($38 million) in government funding across the country. The funding targets cutting-edge technologies that can store energy as heat, electricity, or a low-carbon energy carrier, such as StorTea Ltd.’s liquid flow battery or EDF UK R&D’s hydrogen storage, whose demonstrator uses depleted uranium.
A report released by Renewable UK indicates that the total pipeline of battery projects has doubled from 16.1 GW to 32.1 GW between 2021 and 2022.
The UK legislative arsenal does not include a specific framework for energy storage. The Electricity Act 1989 is the main piece of legislation governing electricity in Great Britain, which defines “energy storage.” Ofgem, the Great Britain energy regulator, clarified in 2020 that electricity storage is deemed to be electricity generation for the purposes of the Electricity Act 1989. As such, any energy storage operator would require a generation license, unless an exemption applies. Under the Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a Licence) Order 2001 (SI 2001/3270), the Class A so-called “small generators” exemption applies to sites producing no more than 10 MW, or 50 MW for a generating station with a declared net capacity of less than 100 MW.
When a generation license is required, the holder must comply with a number of industry codes (namely the Grid Code, Distribution Code, Balancing and Settlement Code, and Connection and Use of System Code) and with the license obligations in relation to all generation assets, including storage, that it operates.
Ofgem has introduced the following in the generation license standard conditions:
Well aware that the absence of clarity on the regulatory definition of energy storage constitutes a regulatory barrier, the regulator is proposing in the (yet to be adopted) Energy Bill 2022-2023 to amend the Electricity Act 1989 to clarify that electricity storage is a distinct subset of generation and is defined as “energy that was converted from electricity and is stored for the purpose of its future reconversion into electricity.”
Nonexhaustive List of Technologies
Ofgem has provided a nonexhaustive list of technologies that fall within the scope of the regulatory definition of storage. These include electrochemical batteries (e.g., flow batteries), gravity energy storage (e.g., pumped hydro), air-based storage systems, kinetic energy systems (e.g., flywheels), thermal storage, chemical storage, or electromagnetic storage.
Application for a License
A standard license application form is available under the schedule to the Electricity Licence Application Regulations 2019.
Read our full report, Energy Storage: A Global Opportunity and Regulatory Roadmap for 2023 >>
 Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Progress on Competitiveness of Clean Energy Technologies.
 Id., point 2.3.