Carbon driven energy equilibrium at the municipal scale
Energy Equilibrium

Challenges and solutions in renewable energy storage deployment in municipalities

04 July 2023
Technical details

Local authorities responsible for promoting renewable energy infrastructure often encounter challenges and uncertainties in implementing effective energy storage solutions. Limited knowledge and capacity hinder progress towards climate neutrality. A case study done in Gulbene Municipality examined factors influencing the adoption of renewable energy storage technologies. The study compared four alternative energy storage technologies: batteries, thermal storage, hydrogen storage, and biomethane storage. To gain a deeper understanding of the primary obstacles from the municipality’s point of view, interviews were conducted.

Need for centralized system development 

The municipality representatives emphasize the national importance of electricity storage over local energy communities due to political and national considerations. They suggest establishing a central team of experts to oversee environmental projects to expedite the transition to low-carbon energy systems and improve cost-effectiveness. The lack of knowledgeable individuals and professionals is a significant obstacle in adopting green energy, including energy storage infrastructure.

Future potential is recognized in batteries and hydrogen

The municipality has relatively good knowledge about batteries, evident from their integration of 10 kW batteries into the solar system. However, batteries remain expensive compared to their benefits, although municipality recognizes that the costs are relatively lower for initial investment due to capital availability for co-financing batteries and thermal energy storage. Knowledge of hydrogen is limited, but its potential for future applications, particularly in public transportation, is acknowledged. Since the municipality already uses biomass for heat generation, there is currently no focus on developing biomethane production and storage infrastructure.

Government funding and psychological hesitations from technological uncertainty are the main barriers in green energy adoption

Obtaining government funding for green energy projects is challenging for municipalities that have already achieved significant decarbonization, as funding is primarily based on CO2 emissions reduction. The lack of knowledge about available technologies and their benefits creates psychological barriers, hindering their adoption. Municipalities are hesitant to consider unfamiliar technologies without a clear approach, hence the Gulbene Municipality is waiting for further advancements and certainty in energy storage technology before considering its further implementation.

Learn more in a scientific publication developed for this project:

Dolge, Kristiāna, Toma, Annija Sintija, Grāvelsiņš, Armands and Blumberga, Dagnija. “Realizing Renewable Energy Storage Potential in Municipalities: Identifying the Factors that Matter” Environmental and Climate Technologies, vol.27, no.1, 2023, pp.271-288.


This article was prepared by Laura Kristiāna Vičmane, and interviews in Gulbene municipality were conducted by Annija Sintija Toma.

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