Thermal energy storage: what’s next for citizens and local communities?  

08 May 2024

White building
Photo: iStock

Did you know thermal energy makes up over half of the world’s final energy use?  

This is why storing energy for later use – through thermal energy storage (TES) technologies – is crucial to advancing renewables’ integration and boosting efficiency, helping to balance energy supply and demand.  

To better understand how local actors are implementing thermal energy storage initiatives in their neighbourhoods and municipalities, four EU-funded projects – ECHO, BEST-Storage, HYSTORE, and ThumbsUp teamed up to develop demo sites and collect best practices across Europe.  

Although all projects will run until 2026, preliminary findings were showcased in the webinar titled “Stakeholder Engagement and Market Analysis: from inhabitants to building owners and neighbourhood associations”, hosted by the European Heat Pump Association on 7 May.  

Coordinators introduced each project, assessing local strategies and market perspectives: Hugo Grasset – SOLINTEL, for BEST-Storage; Maria Chiesa – beWarrant for ECHO; Agatino Nicita – CNR ITAE for HYSTORE and Stefano Barberis – Università degli Studi di Genova for ThumbsUp. 

With pilots in Estonia and Switzerland (single-family homes) as well as in Greece (a lab) and Spain (an office building), the BEST-Storage project has been analysing the economic performance and competitiveness of energy storage solutions, with the goal of minimising energy consumption peaks and reduce costs for consumers.  

On the other hand, ECHO developed five demonstration sites across Italy, Belgium, Serbia and Spain. For every site, project coordinators developed local awareness-raising campaigns, bringing on board citizens, businesses, academia and public bodies.  

So did the HYSTORE project: with sites in Spain, Sweden, Austria and Ireland, coordinators conducted interviews, held world café meetings and circulated questionnaires to build a collaborative dialogue among parties.  

Similarly, the ThumbsUp project launched a new survey to determine the social readiness level of thermal energy storage that you can fill out too. 

This signals that stakeholder and civic engagement are not only crucial to building successful business models for these technologies but also trust in their benefits and operability among end-users.  

Willing to learn more? Rewatch the webinar or download the slides.  

Learn more about our EU-funded projects and upcoming online and in-person events.  

  

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