The World Bank Group announced at the One Planet Summit in New York on Wednesday a commitment of $1 billion for a new global program to accelerate the investment in battery storage for energy systems across developing and middle-income countries in an effort to further ramp up the use of renewable energy.
One of the biggest roadblocks for developing countries looking to ensure their electricity supply is the lack of large-scale power infrastructure such as network grids and traditional fossil fuel-based power plants. In this day and age, with countries around the world seeking to develop renewable energy over fossil fuel-based energy as simply the smartest and most cost efficient option, that lack of infrastructure still poses a problem.
The World Bank has identified one potential solution to this and has committed $1 billion towards scaling up investments in battery storage for energy systems as a means to support the parallel scaling up of renewable energy development.
“For developing countries, this can be a game changer,” said World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim. “Battery storage can help countries leapfrog to the next generation of power generation technology, expand energy access, and set the stage for much cleaner, more stable, energy systems.”
The World Bank expects its $1 billion investment to mobilize a further $4 billion in concessional climate financing and public and private investments. Overall, the World Bank hopes the program will finance 17.5 gigawatt-hours (GWh) worth of battery storage by 2025 — more than triple the 4 to 5 GWh currently installed across all developing countries.
“Batteries are critical to decarbonizing the world’s power systems,” explained Dr. Kim. “They allow us to store wind and solar energy and deploy it when it’s needed most to provide people with clean, affordable, round-the-clock power. We call on our partners to join us and match the investments we’re making today. We can create new markets for battery storage in countries with high wind and solar potential, growing energy demand, and populations that still live without reliable electricity.”
The Accelerating Battery Storage for Development program will prioritize financing and providing de-risk investments for utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems — including mini-grids — and standalone batteries that can help stabilize and strengthen grids. The Development program will also support large-scale demonstration projects for new storage technologies deemed suitable for developing countries’ needs, such as long-lasting batteries that are resilient to harsh conditions and high temperatures, and that provide minimal environmental risks.