• Batteries are an essential building block of the clean energy transition. They can help to deliver the key energy targets agreed by nearly 200 countries at the COP28 in 2023. The IEA Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario sets out the pathway. For batteries to realise their potential to contribute, policy makers need to establish effective frameworks for market access, ensure fair competition among technologies, and recognise the varied contributions that batteries make to sustainability, security and affordability of energy.
  • Batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) are essential for the clean energy transition in road transport. Increasing the uptake of EVs requires accessible and affordable charging infrastructure as well as reinforced electricity networks. It needs increased focus on affordable EV models that require smaller batteries. Avoiding the oversizing of average electric car batteries could save 2 TWh of batteries until 2030, which is similar to current global EV battery capacity. Promoting smart EV charging is another priority, unlocking the ability of EVs to contribute to flexibility needs of power systems.
  • Battery energy storage facilitates the integration of solar PV and wind while also providing essential services including grid stability, congestion management and capacity adequacy. Current regulations and policies in many jurisdictions pose significant risks that constrain development of battery energy storage which threaten the global goal of tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030. In a Low Battery Case, the uptake of solar PV in particular is slowed, prolonging the use of unabated coal and natural gas in power systems, stalling emissions reductions in the 2030s and putting the 1.5 °C target out of reach, as well as increasing fossil fuel imports bills.
  • To unlock the full potential of battery storage, policy makers and regulators need to ensure that regulatory systems recognise the full value of the services that it offers, enable market access and establish price signals that accurately reflect its various contributions. To capture the full benefits of behind-the-meter batteries, regulatory systems need to better align consumer and system benefits through cost-reflective variable electricity tariffs. Where feasible, they should also allow the aggregation of behind-the-meter batteries into virtual power plants that can offer services akin to utility-scale projects.
  • Growing demand for critical minerals for batteries puts a focus on creating secure, resilient and sustainable supply chains. This requires the development of diversified international networks, and of environmental, social and governance standards for mining and processing. Success depends crucially on international co-operation. Encouraging innovation through research and development on battery chemistries and design is needed, as are regulatory frameworks that promote battery recycling.