Carbon driven energy equilibrium at the municipal scale
Energy Equilibrium

Publication of the German electricity storage strategy

27 February 2024
Technical details

On 8 December 2023, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) published the electricity storage strategy. The aim of the strategy is to contribute to a “virtually climate-neutral” electricity supply in 2035. Due to the volatility of renewable energies, electricity storage systems play an important role in stabilising and flexibilising the electricity grid.

The decarbonisation of the electricity market can also make a major contribution to climate neutrality through progressive sector coupling in the areas of buildings, industry and transport. This will require around 600 TWh of green electricity by 2030. By comparison, 251 TWh was generated from renewable energies in 2023.

In order to be able to use the electricity at times when consumption exceeds production, a rapid expansion of systems for storing electrical energy is required. The paper sees electricity storage primarily as short-term storage for grid relief and load shifting. For longer-term storage, the production, storage and reconversion of hydrogen as well as heat storage in combination with large heat pumps and heating networks are mentioned.

The BMWK lists 18 fields of action in the paper. These range from financial incentives for construction and operation to the removal of legal authorisation barriers and support for research.

“Talks with the industry” are to continue to discuss which additional measures could lead to a faster expansion of electricity storage systems.

Financial incentives are to be achieved through the abolition of double grid charges. This regulation, which originally applies to storage facilities that are commissioned by 4 August 2026, was extended for a further three years in November 2023. This means that the grid fees still only have to be paid on withdrawal and not additionally on injection. This extension is welcomed in industry circles. However, it is criticised that the extension will only last until 2029, which means that there is only limited planning certainty.

The levy under the Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz (EEG)) is also to be changed. Up to now, it has not been possible to receive funding under the EEG for electricity from electricity storage systems that are connected to the grid. As the electricity is stored from the grid, the storage volume includes a proportion of electricity from non-renewable energy sources. As a result, all of the electricity stored is seen as grey electricity and the EEG subsidy for renewable electricity does not apply, even if renewable electricity is stored proportionately. There are now to be differentiation options here, with which the “green” electricity can be subsidised, while the “grey” electricity remains excluded.

In addition, the construction cost subsidy is to be reduced and completely cancelled at system-relevant grid connection points. This is intended to provide further financial relief. Companies that want to plan and install a battery storage system must pay the grid operators a construction cost subsidy for the expansion of the general grid. This subsidy varies greatly from region to region in Germany and cannot be reliably calculated in advance. The investment uncertainty should be removed, and the construction cost subsidy should only remain for storage facilities that have a negative impact on grid expansion.

Construction in outdoor areas in accordance with Section 35 of the German Building Code (BauGB) is to be made easier for simpler authorisation procedures. The Ordinance on Installations for Handling Substances Hazardous to Water (AWSV) and the Ordinance on the Construction of Operating Rooms for Electrical Installations (EltBauV) are also to be watered down for electricity storage systems.

Research is to be supported with a focus on bidirectional charging with batteries from electric vehicles. This should enable further grid relief and decentralised intermediate storage to be used. In combination with the intelligent use of electricity, for example through smart meters, there is great potential here.

The electricity storage strategy has been criticised by the industry for its lack of concrete targets and timetables. There are good ideas, but they are not supported by direct measures. Furthermore, electricity storage systems should continue to be legally categorised as systems for the generation and consumption of electricity. A separate legal categorisation of electricity storage systems will not be introduced.

Although the paper lacks concrete framework plans, action measures and targets as well as the review of targets, the BMWK’s electricity storage strategy nevertheless offers good cornerstones for removing the current obstacles and promoting potential that will further encourage the expansion of electricity storage systems.

Take a look at the German electricity storage strategy via the link below.


This article was prepared by German partner ZEBAU.