World Bank unveils energy storage investment drive

16 October 2018

Sian Crampsie

The World Bank has announced a commitment to invest $1 billion in a new programme to accelerate investment in battery storage for energy systems in developing and middle-income countries.

The new programme is designed to help countries increase their use of renewables – wind and solar in particular – as well as improve energy security, grid stability and access to electricity.

The World Bank says that the $1 billion of finance is expected to mobilize another $4 billion in public and private investments. It is aiming to support the development of 17.5 GWh of battery storage by 2025, more than triple the 4-5 GWh currently installed in developing countries.

“For developing countries, this can be a game changer,” said World Bank Group President 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.”

Currently, batteries used in energy generation systems are expensive, and most projects are concentrated in developed countries. The ‘Accelerating Battery Storage for Development’ programme, 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 programme 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.

“Batteries are critical to decarbonizing the world’s power systems. 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.” Dr. Kim said. “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 Group is putting $1 billion of its own funds towards this new program and will fundraise another $1 billion in concessional climate funds through channels such as the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CTF).  

The new programme will also convene a global think tank on battery storage, bringing together national laboratories, research institutions, development agencies and philanthropies to foster international technological cooperation and training that can develop and adapt new storage solutions tailored for the needs and conditions of developing countries.



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