Conference “EASE-European Commission Innovation Fund Workshop” - February 5th, 2020

The meeting was about Innovation Fund focusing on the Energy Storage scope projects evaluation. Mr. Roman Doubrava, deputy Head of Unit - DG CLIMA.C.3 Land use and Finance, introduce the presentation of the Innovation Fund program as a European strategy for long term vision. The objective being to manage and be ensure that Europe could be competitive and save the planet. The strategy based on this fund is of several pathways for a climate neutral Europe as stated by the European green Deal intending to design a set of deeply transformative policies. 

Feature of Innovation fund: More than 100 projects expected, Volume: 10billion; Supporting up to 60% additional cost related to innovative technology; CCS and CCU Industry Energy storage; Financing from the EU emissions trading system; Support additional capital and operation (up to 10 years); First call in mid-2020, projects with capex higher than €7.5million.

The expected projects are going to drive low-carbon technologies to the market. The selection process is based on:

  • GHG emission avoidance
  • Degree of Innovation
  • Project maturity
  • Scalability 
  • Cost efficiency

According to the complexity of the projects, part could be fund by Innovation fund and other part by whether InvestEU or Member State Funding. The timeline is summed up below:

  • June 2020: Launch of first call
  • Sept 202: Submission deadline for first phase
  • Q1 21: Award of project development assistance
  • Q1 21: submission deadline for second phase
  • Q4 21: Award of grant

Afterwards, Patrick Clerens, EASE Secretary General, emphasize on the energy storage sector. He specified all energy storage technologies are addressed. Moreover, it is considered that the mix of different technologies and applications should be one of the innovative part of the projects to be submitted. The main underlying goal was to move along to decarbonize. 40% of initial grant disbursement is made independently of achieving GHG emissions avoidance but the remaining 60% depend strongly on verify this GHG avoidance. 

A few projects based on energy storage have been presented. The first project is based on Geyser Batteries technology which is an advanced Lithium-capacitor technology. Andrey Shigaev, CEO, Geyser Batteries says their technology push the boundaries of electrochemical energy storage capabilities in terms of the number of charge-discharge cycles, operational temperature range and are recharged almost instantly every time. They require no maintenance and are easy to keep cool, thanks to their planar internal structure. The Geyser Batteries says Andrey Shigaev, has long and healthy battery life with no maintenance required along the way.

Then, Highview Power presents its cryogenic energy storage technology. This consist of storing air compressed and stored as liquid air first; then when needed the air is distorted through expansion process running turbines and producing electricity. Their first cryogenic energy storage Pilot Plant capacity of 2.5MWh (350kW) was in London since 2011. Their demonstrator project is running since 2018 at Pilsworth Landfill facility in Bury, Greater Manchester.

The third presented project (by Iberdrola) was a pumped-storage hydropower station based on pumped-hydro technology. The project cost was estimated with a Capex between 90-140M€ with 0.1M€/Year as Opex.

Finally, and open discussion with European commission Officers on Design of Future Calls has taken place. Most of the discussions was around a relevant way to assess GHG emissions avoidance if comparing different energy storage technologies. The Innovation Fund committee stated there are still working on the definition of metrics and the way to assess them.

CHC was at this event as energy storage expert to see the need of project developers.