BALIHT project aims at developing a new type of redox flow battery which will be a safe, environmental-friendly storage solution for energy coming from renewable sources. Moreover, BALIHT prototype battery will be implemented in Ibiza maritime station to power electric vehicles (EVs) charging points.

For these reasons, our team is keeping a close eye on the current revision of the Renewable Energy Directive at the European level, as it will set new objectives in terms of production and use of renewable energy, and will have an impact on the need of efficient energy storage and the deployment and use of charging points.

What is the Renewable Energy Directive?

As part of the “Fit for 55” package, the European Commission (EC) published on 14 July 2021 its proposal to amend the Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RES), better known as the Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II).

The overall purpose of this revision is to ensure that renewable energy sufficiently contributes to the achievement of the EU’s climate ambition to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to at least 55% by 2030. The revised RED II strengthens these provisions and sets a new EU target of a minimum 40% share of RES in final energy consumption by 2030.

Stationary batteries will be fundamental to achieve these objectives, due to the fluctuating and non-continuous nature of RES. Batteries are key to store renewable energy and to provide stability to the electricity grid, preventing any shortage.

RES industry reacted positively to the proposal, welcoming realistic targets and objectives set out in the text. On the other, environmental NGOs generally argue that a renewable energy target of 40% is too low to keep global temperature rises below 1.5 °C, and call for a target of at least 50%.

This proposal overall reflects the Commission’s push to foster the electrification of transport and its deep and smart integration in the renewable energy system, in an attempt to reduce the EU’s dependency on fossil fuels.

The proposal also introduces new definitions in relation to the integration of renewable electricity in the transport sector, notably the following ones:

  • ‘power set point’ means the information held in a battery’s management system prescribing the electric power settings at which the battery operates during a recharging or a discharging operation, so that its state of health and operational use are optimised;
  • ‘smart charging’ means a recharging operation in which the intensity of electricity delivered to the battery is adjusted in real-time, based on information received through electronic communication.

A new Article 20a in REDII aims at facilitating system integration of renewable electricity, providing that battery manufacturers must enable access to information on battery capacity, state of health, state of charge and power set point, to battery owners as well as third parties acting on their behalf.

The proposal also outlines that the increasing number of EVs on the road will require that recharging operations are optimised and take full advantage of the availability of renewable electricity. Therefore, one solution would be to develop the use of stationary batteries storing renewables to power charging points.

What is the current situation in the legislative process?

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday, 14 September in favour of a 45% target for renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix by 2030. The opinion of the European Parliament also includes new indicated targets for energy storage at Member state level, but these targets are only indicative and non-binding. The European Parliament also pushes for an increase from 13% to 16% in the greenhouse gas emission reduction target for transport, which will work as an incentive to faster deployment of EVs and therefore of public charging points.

On the other hand, the Council of the EU (which represents the Member States) adopted a general approach on 29 June, which differs from the European Parliament’s opinion. The Council supports a binding RES target of only 40 % by 2030, in line with the Commission’s original proposal. The general approach offers Member States the flexibility to choose between a 13% reduction in GHG intensity or a 29 % share of RES in final energy consumption in the transport sector by 2030.

Taking in account the REPowerEU plan

Presented in May 2022 by the European Commission, REPowerEU package aims to cut European dependence on fossil fuel imports from Russia, following its aggression of Ukraine and proposes to further amend the current proposal for a revision of RED II. As part of the REPowerEU plan, the Commission proposes to further raise this RES target to a 45% share by 2030.

On 14 November, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from Committee on Industry, Research and Energy backed plans to boost the deployment, as outlined in the Commission’s proposal. In their amendments, MEPs shortened the maximum period to approve new installations from twelve to nine months, if located in the so-called “renewables acceleration areas”. Renewables go-to area’ means a specific location, whether on land or sea, which has been designated by a Member State as particularly suitable for the installation of plants to produce energy from renewable sources, other than biomass combustion plants. Outside such areas, the process should not exceed 18 months, MEPs say, – and not two years as originally proposed. The new permit-granting process would cover all administrative steps to build, repower and operate plants for the production of renewable energy, including hybrid power plants. It would also cover storage, connection to the grid and the integration of renewables.

The report from ITRE Committee now needs to be approved by the EP Plenary in the next weeks, before constituting a starting position for the negotiations with the Member States.

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