Energy storage in the EUSALP region - Review of options for a safe and sustainable development


Papers, studies, articles and interesting contributions about the Alpine Region


Energy storage in the EUSALP region - Review of options for a safe and sustainable development

Marko Hočevar, Lovro Novak, Gašper Rak
30th Jun 2019

Making energy supply more sustainable and renewable is an agreed policy goal of the European Union. With the energy transition, we are facing new challenges to operate a stable energy system. This led us to the question of how the energy system in the Alps may look like in the future. In addition to the large hydropower plants, smaller and decentralized pants will increasingly be characterized by the expansion of renewable energy in the Alpine region. The volatility of solar and wind power, as well as a continuous expansion of e-mobility, will be challenges for the storage capacities and grid infrastructure of an increasingly decentralized and complex energy system. At the same time, this also reveals new opportunities: innovation and new business models emerge, consumers become “prosumers” and citizens’ participation models will give the energy transition a push.

Due to its central position in Europe and its topographic characteristics that have favoured hydropower installations for energy supply over the last decades, the Alps became also known as “Europe’s water tower”. It will be crucial to answer the question, which role energy storage infrastructures will play in the Alpine energy transition to cushion energy market fluctuations resulting from the increase of photovoltaic and wind energy expansion. The European energy transition is built on the decarbonisation through sustainable electrification of the housing (to cover heating and cooling needs) and the transport sector. By 2050, Europe’s electricity sector needs to be produced almost carbon free to reach set energy and climate targets. At the same time, the availability of natural water resources may in some parts of the Alps be affected by climate change phenomena.  

A renewable and resilient energy system in the Alps will therefore need to provide a reliable energy storage system able to respond to volatility of electricity generation from renewables. The present report intends to contribute to the discussions about the role of energy storage in the Alpine energy transition built on a variety of possible scenarios of the energy Alpine-wide energy mix.

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