The Accelerating Battery Storage for Development program is intended to leverage $4 billion in new investments, and to support projects for utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems – including mini-grids – and stand-alone batteries.
The World Bank has put tremendous efforts in trying to bring renewable energies to developing countries over the past decade and, however, still much work needs to be done to provide these countries with safe and reliable access to energy. The new development of solar PV, wind, biomass or any other source of renewable energy plays a paramount role in this.
One of the main issues in developing solar and wind in developing countries is the lack of reliable grid infrastructure, a factor which in recent times has led to consider the possibility of creating energy systems based on micro or mini-grids rather than making substantial investments in improving and substantially enlarging existing power networks. Aside from severe capital expenditures, enormous efforts would entail from such endeavors. As many developing countries are dealing with political instability and struggling to keep economic development on track in a sustainable manner, such projects are rather unpopular.
The World Bank itself confirmed in its analysis that this is the predominant modus operandi in the developing world. To counteract this trend, the bank announced now that it will earmark $1 billion of its funds to promote the Accelerating Battery Storage for Development program, an initiative aimed at supporting storage projects linked to renewables in developing and middle-income countries.
The international entity said that the program is expected to leverage $4 billion in new investments and that it will finance and de-risk investments mainly in utility-scale solar parks with battery storage, off-grid systems – including mini-grids – and stand-alone batteries that can help stabilize and strengthen grids. “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,” said the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.
On the top of the $1 billion in own funds, the bank said it will fundraise a further $1 billion in concessional climate funds through channels such as the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CTF), while another $3 billion is expected to come from private and public funds and investors.
The World Bank has not specified which countries will be included in the program. It said, however, that so far it has supported storage projects linked to solar and wind in Africa, South Asia, and the Pacific. “The Bank Group has financed 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,” the international lender concluded in its statement.
Source PV Magazine