Research shows that renewable energy generation in Spain may face reductions of more than 5% from 2025 to 2030, while the deployment of long-duration energy storage systems (LDES) can reduce or eliminate this need.
This is a key finding from Aurora Energy Research’s analysis of energy sectors in various European countries.
Long-duration energy storage systems: the key to addressing Spain’s renewable energy challenges
When the operating costs of a power facility exceed its wholesale market electricity sales price, there is a risk of curtailment, leading to reduced power output or financial losses for grid operators.
Spain aims to achieve a renewable energy generation share of 81% of its total electricity production by 2030, nearly double the 42% reached in 2022. This means that the installed capacity of renewable energy generation facilities will increase by 173% from 2022 to 2030.
The higher electrification and decarbonization goals imply the shift of power generated from renewable energy facilities from generation time to user consumption time, along with a greater demand for grid services and measures to ensure power supply security.
Lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (BESS) are currently the most widely applied technology in energy storage deployment. They efficiently offer medium-to-short-term storage services, provide ancillary services, and mitigate the intermittency of renewable energy generation within a few hours.
However, the company states that long-duration energy storage (LDES) technology—energy storage with discharge durations ranging from 8 hours to 4 days—might be a critical solution. It can achieve net-zero emissions while reducing power system costs and curtailment of excess electricity. Aurora Energy Research indicates that LDES technology can be an economically effective way to reduce dependence on natural gas generation, balance the growth of renewable energy generation in the grid, and eliminate renewable energy curtailment. Deploying 15 GW of long-duration energy storage systems between 2025 and 2050 can save costs amounting to 1 billion euros.
Due to reduced natural gas usage, long-duration energy storage systems can also enable the Spanish power sector to achieve net-zero emissions five years ahead of other approaches. These systems can play a crucial role in the industrial sector’s decarbonization efforts, which accounts for 40% of energy consumption in industrial heating processes—traditionally challenging to reduce carbon emissions.
Without long-duration energy storage systems, achieving the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) goals is nearly impossible.
However, the category of long-duration energy storage encompasses a wide range of technologies that have not yet penetrated the Spanish market. This is a common barrier in many countries and regions worldwide. Aurora Energy Research points out that Spain’s goal of deploying 18 GW of energy storage systems by 2030 does not sufficiently consider the demand for long-duration energy storage systems.
Currently, a debate surrounding long-duration energy storage systems is that many of these technologies are more costly than shorter-duration lithium-ion ups systems for energy storage, especially in terms of capital expenditures. According to data released by Aurora Energy Research, the costs of long term energy storage systems will decrease with time, similar to solar power facilities and battery energy storage systems. However, accelerating cost reduction requires immediate action to ensure potential developers receive necessary policy support and opportunities, leveraging the long-term value these storage systems bring to the Spanish power grid.
Aurora Energy Research’s Director of Energy for Spain and Latin America, Ana Barillas, suggests that given the clear case for supporting long-duration energy storage systems, Spain now requires a comprehensive policy and regulatory framework to facilitate the deployment of these systems.
Barillas emphasizes that Spain’s ambitious renewable energy goals outlined in the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) are virtually unattainable without deploying more long-duration energy storage systems and promoting industrial electrification.
Long-duration energy storage systems can not only help avoid curtailment of renewable energy power but also provide critical grid services when a significant portion of the generation mix is intermittent.