A year ago an unprecedented  leak in the Aliso Canyon natural gas reservoir, that had been feeding the network of natural gas plants mobilized in peak time in the Los Angeles basin, released  1.6 million pounds of methane into the atmosphere. In May,2016 the California Public Utilities Commission mandated an accelerated procurement for energy storage and Southern California Edison, among others, was directed to solicit a utility-scale storage solution to be operational by December 31, 2016.  Last week,Tesla was selected to provide a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack system at the Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation as the only utility-owned storage project. Also without these mega disasters with conventional networks, with increasing numbers of renewable and distributed power systems seeking to connect to this conventional grid transmission and distribution networks are reaching their limits. FCH systems could provide substantial storage and grid balancing solutions to increase the flexibility of the net: both eletricity and gas networks could be linked to these solutions and the EHA has been following EU network developments closely supporting several EU and national initiatives over the last months.

On September 13, 2016 the EU Parliament adopted a report of its Industry ITRE Committee “Towards a New Energy Market Design” , by German MEP Werner Langen (EPP, DE). with 454 votes in favour and taking up the recommendation of many EHA sister organisations for a definition of an electricity-system energy storage device to be incorporated into the regulatory framework. It even suggest to include “a separate category for electricity storage systems”. The report addresses regulatory and technical barriers like  discriminatory practices in network codes for energy storage (fees and taxes to be applied fairly, avoiding double costs (§29)), and the necessity of a technology-neutral design of the energy market. The creation of a level playing field is also important, one where adequate price signals reflect the scarcity of supplies, and where the creation of incentives to invest in flexible energy storage solutions exist. In no. 31 of the report ….”call for a technology-neutral design of the energy market to give various renewable-based energy storage solutions, such as lithium-ion batteries, heat pumps and hydrogen fuel cells, a chance to complement RES generation capacity; calls, also, for the establishment of clearly defined mechanisms in order to take advantage of excess production and of curtailment”

On September 19 the four European associations representing electricity distribution system operators, CEDEC, EDSO, EURELECTRIC and  GEODE, and ENTSO-E, representing the transmission system operators, teamed up to share their views on how to manage data and information exchanges between system operators to start designing a more flexible but robust network. The resulting effort is a joint report that sets out how rules on data management and exchanges represent a precondition to deploying smart grids and unleashes all potential of the demand side of the electricity  system. The report also intends to stir up the debate among stakeholders across networks and markets. For this purpose on the same day EASE, the European Association for the Storage of Energy published recommendations to better define energy storage.