Energy storage: the new philosopher’s stone
Sustainable investment is more certainly the future and 2023 promises to be the year in which renewable energies will enter their unstoppable rise around the world. Not surprisingly, neither the sun nor the wind are resources that can be predictable. So being able to make the most of every green megawatt generated means a greater impact on the electricity market for renewables.
In the midst of the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources such as wind and solar, efficient storage is vital to support these technologies and to ensure full decarbonisation of the energy system and an effective integration of renewables. However, while Europe continues to accelerate its decarbonisation targets and most industries are looking for alternatives to reduce their costs, storing energy at high volumes is still a challenge. If not resolved, this is a technological bottleneck that could slow down this economic and energy transition.
In this context, an increasing number of investors are considering not only financial criteria in their portfolio choices, whilst not neglecting the solvency and profitability of projects and assets, we value creating a positive, conscientious and committed impact on the planet.
Public investment plans and reconstruction funds will be increasingly dedicated to this issue. In this sense, at BBVA New Gen we are optimistic that many companies (manufacturers, transport, energy saving technologies and storage companies) will benefit from this new momentum. These are some of the main storage technologies:
- Batteries: These devices store energy in chemical compounds capable of generating an electrical charge. There are many types, such as sodium-sulphur, lead-acid, lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium batteries. The main advantages of batteries are their speed of response in milliseconds, their ease of installation and scalability and, finally, the multiple benefits they can bring to the renewable assets with which they are associated.
- Green hydrogen: Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in nature and is gaining ground as a clean, storable, versatile and 100% sustainable energy source, as it only emits water vapour and leaves no residues in the air. Specialists describe it as the fuel of the future, as it allows electricity to be generated through renewables.
- Concentrated solar power plants: Heat energy can be produced more efficiently than electricity. Salt storage is distinguished by the high capacity of salts such as sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate to retain heat at high temperatures.
BBVA and its commitment to sustainability
BBVA embeds climate change risks and opportunities in its processes, promoting sustainability in its transactions and products. It currently has a catalogue of sustainable alternatives and will continue on this path in the rest of geographies where it operates.
In 2022, BBVA channeled €50 billion into sustainable business, which has been allocated to the two vectors that guide BBVA’s purpose in the field of sustainability: climate action and inclusive growth. This is 41% more than the €35.4 billion channelled in 2021, amounting to a total of €136 billion since it announced its commitment in 2018.
Energy storage and its future potential
We are facing a third industrial revolution that consists not only in the detachment from fossil fuels and the use of renewable and/or clean energies, but also in their storage.
Bonds and loans to finance green technologies
Green technologies, such as renewable energies, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, can help to reduce the impact of human action on climate change. In 2007, the European Investment Bank issued the world's first green bonds aimed at financing and developing these technologies. In Spain, BBVA signed its first green loan in 2017, worth 500 million euros.