World Bank commits $1bn for battery storage in developing nations

It will finance projects such as utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems and stand-alone batteries that can help stabilise grids

By Priyanka Shrestha

The World Bank has committed $1 billion (£0.77bn) for a new global programme that supports battery storage in developing and middle-income countries.

It aims to finance 17.5GWh of battery storage by 2025 – more than triple the 4GWh-5GWh currently installed in all developing nations.

Batteries used in energy generation systems are currently expensive and most projects are concentrated in developed countries.

The World Bank’s programme will finance projects such as utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems and stand-alone batteries that can help stabilise grids.

They are expected to enable countries to ramp up their use of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar power, improve energy security and expand access to electricity.

The new programme will also convene a global think tank on battery storage, bringing together national laboratories, research institutions and development agencies to foster international technological co-operation and training.

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President said: “Batteries are critical to decarbonising 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.

“For developing countries, this can be a game changer. 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 is calling on its partners to join and match the investments to 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.

It expects the grants to mobilise an additional $4 billion (£3bn) in climate financing and public and private investments.

Prime Minister Theresa May recently pledged to provide more than £56 million for battery storage technologies in South Africa.