The World Bank Group has unveiled a new $US1 billion commitment for a new global program intended to accelerate investments in battery storage for energy systems in developing and middle-income countries.
The move, announced at the One Planet Summit in New York this week, is intended to support the increasing ramp-up of renewable energy use – particularly wind and solar – to improve energy security, increase grid stability, and expand access to electricity.
The new Accelerating Battery Storage for Development program will seek to leverage another $US1 billion in concessional climate funds through channels such as the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CTF), as well as the expectation that a further $US3 billion will be raised through public and private funds and investors.
The new program will also create a global think-tank on battery storage which will bring together national laboratories, research institutions, development agencies, and philanthropies.
This is designed to create an environment to foster technological cooperation and training to develop and adapt new storage solutions tailored for the needs and conditions unique to developing countries – many of which are particularly susceptible to a changing climate.
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group President, highlighted the benefits of ramping up investment in battery storage to fast-track development and deployment.
Many of these countries are on the verge of needing to dramatically scale-up their energy networks and are looking to bypass the traditional fossil fuel-based energy generation phase in favour of renewable energy technologies.
However, to do so they need to account for the inherent variability of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. This is where the Development program comes in.
“For developing countries, this can be a game changer,” explained 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.”
“Batteries are critical to decarbonizing the world’s power systems,” Dr. Kim said. “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 World Bank hopes to finance 17.5 GWh of battery storage by 2025, which would be more than triple the 4 to 5 GWh currently installed across all developing countries.
The program will finance and de-risk investments such as utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid and mini-grid systems, standalone batteries that can stabilise and strengthen grids, and support large-scale demonstration projects for new storage technologies that can prioritise the unique needs and conditions of developing countries.