Using storage-friendly electric heaters in homes could double the amount of energy that can be stored in the European Union by 2050, according to a report.
The study, commissioned by British utility SSE Plc and Dublin-based Glen Dimplex Group, found that switching to so-called smart electric thermal storage systems in the 27-member European Union bloc could provide 54 gigawatts of additional capacity by 2050 and cut emissions.
There are currently 51 gigawatts of storage in the region, mainly from pumping water for hydroelectric power, the study by Dutch consultancy DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability showed. The smart electric thermal system allows excess renewable electricity to be stored in people’s homes in the form of heat for use during the day when demand outstrips supply, according to the SSE statement.
The European Union wants to boost storage technologies that allow for more of the intermittent wind and solar plants its relying on to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 20 percent by the end of the decade. While storage technology can accommodate sudden changes in renewable output, reduce pressure on the grid and allow excess supply to be used later, it has received only limited attention from policy makers, the report said.
“No matter what the energy supply mix looks like in the future, it is clear that there will be more renewables on the system, which means it will be crucial to find new ways to balance the variability of supply in a smarter electricity grid,” Ian Marchant, chief executive of Perth, Scotland-based SSE, said in the statement.
SSE and Dimplex developed a model, on sale since January, that reduces heating energy use by as much as 20 percent and results in cost savings of about 25 percent compared with traditional versions that charge during the night and release heat in the day. SSE’s and Dimplex’s Quantum model charges at anytime and allows customers to control the release of heat.