IEA (2019), "Tracking Energy Integration", IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/tracking-energy-integration
While individual clean energy technologies are the building blocks of clean energy transitions, it is also necessary to employ energy integration systems to maximise their impact by increasing system flexibility. Although advances in the area of energy storage were impressive in 2018, market designs and regulations need to evolve to reward the huge benefits these increasingly crucial integration technologies have to offer. Innovation efforts should therefore focus on trialling integration technologies at large scale under a variety of market conditions.
Energy integration technologies – smart grids, energy storage, demand response, and hydrogen – play a crucial role in increasing the flexibility of energy systems. They can help integrate greater shares of variable renewables and help accommodate the large-scale electrification of transport, heating or industrial processes needed in the SDS.
As energy demand becomes progressively more digitalised and more consumers generate and store their own energy, integration technologies can facilitate their participation in energy system operations.
Energy storage made significant progress in 2018, aided by mandates and other positive policies. A lack of progress in creating supportive market designs and regulatory frameworks is causing other integration technologies to lag behind.
More efforts are needed in smart grids, hydrogen, and demand response to get on track with the SDS.