11. New storage technologies


Efficient energy storage technology is needed to overcome fluctuations in renewable energy supply and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels. Storage could provide important system services that range from short-term balancing and operating reserves, ancillary services for grid stability to long-term energy storage and restoring grid operations following a blackout. Storage can help manage congestion and voltage at different timescales in the distribution network. In some cases, it could defer or even reduce the need to reinforce the network.


Pumped-storage hydropower is the most widely used storage technology. Batteries are the most scalable type of grid-scale storage and the market has seen their strong growth in recent years. Other storage technologies include compressed air, gravity storage, superconducting magnetic energy storage, flywheels and hydrogen but these play a comparatively small role in current power systems. Up to date, apart from pumped-storage hydropower, technologies that allow for inter-seasonal or even inter-annual storage are not yet mature. The scarcity and environmental concerns related to raw materials needed to manufacture storage solutions need to be taken into account, particularly for batteries. Article 36 of the Electricity Directive restricts DSOs from owning, developing, managing or operating storage facilities, although some exceptions are possible due to efficient, reliable, safe operations etc.

Challenges and opportunities for DSOs

  • In addition to the technical and economic performance of storage technologies, their geographical positioning in relation to the distribution grid will be essential for the optimization of the electricity system.
  • The development of storage facilities coupled with renewable facilities can change the management of electricity flows locally.
  • The development of storage facilities coupled locally with production can facilitate microgrid emergence.
  • Right sizing and location of storage systems in the distribution grid is an important consideration.
  • Contractual agreements between DSOs and private parties owning an operating storage are essential to align incentives.

EDSO Considerations

  • DSOs must follow the technological advances of the various storage solutions in order to anticipate the possible impact of the development of these on power distribution systems and networks.
  • Safety aspects of the various storage technologies, particularly batteries, are important considerations for DSOs.

Last update: 28 September 2023