Billion dollar battery plan from the World Bank

September 28, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
The World Bank is to commit $1 billion for a new global program to triple investment in battery storage for energy systems in developing and middle-income countries over the next seven years.

The program is expected to help these countries ramp up their use of renewables – particularly wind and solar power – improve energy security, increase grid stability and expand access to electricity. The backing is expected to draw in another $4 billion of public and private investments to finance 17.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery storage by 2025 – more than triple the 5GWh currently installed in all developing countries.

A new think tank on battery storage, bringing together national laboratories, research institutions, development agencies and philanthropies is to be launched to foster international technological cooperation and training that can develop and adapt new storage solutions tailored for the needs and conditions of developing countries.

The World Bank has battery projects currently underway in Africa, South Asia, and the Pacific, financing roughly 15 percent of the stationary battery storage capacity already deployed or currently under development in developing countries, mostly through mini-grid projects and in island states to improve resilience.

“For developing countries, this can be a game changer,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. “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 “Accelerating Battery Storage for Development” program, in response to demand from countries, will finance and de-risk investments such as utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems – including mini-grids – and stand-alone batteries that can help stabilize and strengthen grids.

The program will also support large-scale demonstration projects for new storage technologies suitable for developing countries’ needs – such as batteries that are long-lasting, resilient to harsh conditions and high temperatures, and that present minimal environmental risks.

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