A group of Europe’s leading, mainly private sector, players in the energy business, including manufacturers, utilities and academic bodies, came together in Brussels on September 27 to sign the formal constitution for the creation of the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE). This international association, which is set up as non-profit making, is focused on acting as a coherent voice to promote the roles of energy storage as key enabling technologies for Europe’s transition towards a sustainable, flexible and stable energy system. Its primary aim is to investigate the role of energy storage in the future evolution of Europe’s electricity grids within a single, coherent body of competence and influence. It intends to act as a ‘sound and visible advocate of energy storage in Europe.’ Its 13 founding members are Alstom, DONG Energy, EDF, EnBW, Enel, E.ON, GDF Suez, Hitachi Power Europe, KEMA, RISØ, RWE, Saft and Siemens, but it is open to new membership and is actively seeking new partners.

The business rationale is that changing conditions, especially with the increasing penetration of renewable energy sources and distributed generation, sustained increases in fossil fuel prices, changing market regulations and stringent environmental targets, have put considerable pressure on stakeholders to evolve to meet these new demands. Effective energy storage can deliver a number of strategic services both on the regulated and deregulated side of the power business, addressing three major challenges: balancing demand and supply, management of transmission & distribution grids, energy efficiency.

The creation of EASE results from an initiative of the European Commission, looking for a consensual vision of the roles, technologies and potential applications of energy storage within the frame of EU Energy and Climate policy. Following on from an Energy Storage Task Force launched by the European Commission in 2009 and the results of the final workshop, a group of leading European energy players decided to work together to found the new association.

The founding members have designed EASE as complementary to the existing European Industrial Initiatives in the frame of SET-Plan and to some public private partnership. The SET-Plan covers a number of relevant areas especially wind, solar energy, smart grids, green cars, smart cities and efficient buildings initiatives.

EASE intends to work on technology and application related aspects of energy storage such as assessment of storage applications and development of storage technology roadmaps as well as addressing financial, economic and regulatory issues. It plans to work with all relevant groups to help establish a coherent master plan for the introduction of energy storage worldwide.