Scientists take stock
In April 2011, the Federal Government launched the initiative to promote the storage technologies required for the energy transition. The federal ministries for economics, environment and research wanted to extend the action options for more flexible power grids with the joint research funding.
The conventional power grid, which is designed as a one-way street from large power plants to consumers, is increasingly becoming a highway with many up and downs. More and more decentralized power generators feed into the grid from renewable energy sources. A growing share of power generation is not based on demand, but on the supply of wind and sun.
Electricity storage could help reconcile electricity supply with electricity consumption. So far, however, only a few storage technologies have achieved the necessary technical maturity at competitive costs. With the support of 259 projects, progress has been made on a wide range of storage technologies.
What was achieved
The energy storage funding initiative was intended to expand the "technological construction kit" for the energy transition with additional options. Central goals were:
- accelerate the development of energy storage technologies,
- increase understanding of the role of energy storage
- improve cooperation between science and industry,
- increase understanding of the fundamentals of storage technologies,
- Overcome barriers to market entry.
The scientists of the PtJ state clear successes for most of the goals: from the basic material research to the application-oriented demonstration, all relevant research fields were covered by the funded projects. This applies to a wide range of storage types and use cases.
Companies, universities and research institutes have intensively researched ways of reducing costs while intensifying their cooperation. In addition, systems analysis studies have reviewed and supplemented existing findings on the necessity and cost-effectiveness of the use of storage.
The goal of improving international research cooperation beyond the usual activities was not achieved to the extent expected.
How does it continue?
The system analyzes of recent years indicate that stationary electricity storage systems will only be needed on a larger scale if renewable energies meet the electricity requirement in the range of 80 percent. But such data are associated with high uncertainties, the researchers note. The storage requirement can also rise significantly earlier - but also lower than expected.
In order to ensure that low-cost technical options are available in the future, they still consider research funding to be sensible. BMWi and BMBF are also picking up on new storage issues via the Energy Storage Support Initiative and continuing the technological developments that have begun. There is a need for research and development on all levels - from materials research and the further development of storage systems and their components to demonstration projects. An essential goal is the cost reduction.
Final report to download
The public final report of the PtJ "Success control of the energy storage funding initiative" can be downloaded as a PDF file (in german onyl).