Story Highlights
  • Cost-effective energy storage is a crucial tool for integrating renewable energy and unlocking the benefits of solar and wind power.
  • Considering developing countries will need to double their electrical power output to meet rising demand, renewable energy will continue to be a growing factor for meeting energy demands in emerging markets.
  • New research, supported by ESMAP, indicates significant growth in the area of energy storage for emerging markets, making it possible for low- and middle-income countries to meet renewable energy targets. 
WBG Research Shows Energy Storage Primed for Growth in Emerging Markets, Helping Renewable Power
March 29 2017

New research released this month from the World Bank-administered Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the U.S. Department of Energy shows that energy storage technology will become more accessible in emerging markets in the coming decade, enabling a significant scale-up of renewable energy as a clean source of electricity generation.

Cost-effective energy storage, the capture of energy produced at one time for use at a later time, is a key component in unlocking the benefits of renewable energy for emerging markets. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind have variable output, which can cause reliability concerns. So while costs for renewable generation continue to fall, integrating and effectively using these new resources requires effective energy storage, especially for grids that derive a large portion of energy from such sources. However, energy storage requires significant knowledge and expertise to be developed and operated cost-effectively, with significant upfront investment. These factors have proven prohibitive for the development of advanced energy storage systems in emerging markets.

The Energy Storage Trends and Opportunities report, however, indicates that energy storage deployments in emerging markets are expected to grow 40 percent annually over the coming decade, resulting in about 80 gigawatts of new storage capacity. This will be a significant increase upon the less than 2 gigawatts of capacity currently in place. The report outlines the principal uses, drivers, and challenges regarding the commercialization of energy storage technologies in low- and middle-income countries, providing a forecast of expected deployments by region and impacts on energy access, grid stability, and other key areas. The report was authored by Navigant Research and the technical review was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Energy Investment Center.

“The World Bank Group is committed to creating the right environment to attract investment in the energy storage market. Continued innovation in energy storage technology and financing are vital to empower countries to meet the climate-smart targets set in the Paris COP-21 agreement,” said Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.

The report was launched at an event at the IFC on January 9, 2017, featuring two panel discussions with noteworthy technologists and investors in energy storage. Addressing climate change and supporting low-carbon growth is a strategic priority for the World Bank Group and for IFC, which is one of the world’s largest financiers of renewable energy and a major supporter of energy efficiency and other climate-smart solutions for emerging markets.

Learn more about the ESMAP Renewable Energy Program