"The roles and opportunities for electricity storage and its competitors grow as the electricity systems grow, in particular as the penetrations of variable renewable generation increase," the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) stated.
With costs falling, storage could "competitively add value to electricity grids by contributing to balancing, reserves, network capacity and generation adequacy", the report said.
However, storage is not currently able to compete on an equal footing with other options for managing electricity systems — such as demand response, grid reinforcements, greater interconnections and curtailment.
Minimum bid sizes, a lack of provision for aggregator involvement and double payments for use of grid infrastructure limit the participation of storage in some markets, said EASAC.
"To deliver secure supplies of affordable electricity at the lowest costs to European consumers, it must therefore be made possible for storage systems to compete with these other options, which implies changes to the current design of electricity markets," the report's authors argued.
The industry could well be resistant to such change, but market design should be "technology neutral", they noted.
The European Commission's clean energy package of proposals, which is currently being negotiated by MEPs and member states, presents an opportunity to include clearer provisions for the values and limitations of storage — an area "largely ignored" by the EU's energy union policies.
EASAC president Professor Thierry Courvoisier said dedicated electricity storage has historically had a "relatively minor role" in the management of Europe's electricity networks.
EASAC found that large-scale electricity storage is "making a comeback" as operators look to manage increasing penetration of "variable renewable electricity generation" on the grid.