Batteries Can Help Renewables Reach Full Potential in Africa
March 04 2019

With solar and wind power uptake accelerating in Africa, at-scale battery storage solutions is critical to help clean energy resources achieve their full potential in the region. But battery technology is expensive and not yet widely deployed in developing countries.

Catalyzing new markets is needed to drive down costs for batteries and make it a viable energy storage solution in Africa. At a recent conference organized with the support of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Middle East and North Africa Knowledge and Innovation Program (MENA KIP), a number of partners and investors collectively sought to address this issue. 

The “Batteries, Energy Storage & the Renewable Future” event held in Cape Town, South Africa on Feb. 24 and 25 attracted nearly 200 participants from companies included Tesla, General Electric, Fluence, Siemens, the Southern Africa Power Pool, and national research labs and utilities from many countries who came together to identify ways to help close the gap.

Discussions focused on the potential for batteries and other forms of energy storage to complement renewable energy by supporting off-grid and mini grids, which supply electricity to millions of people living in remote communities. It demonstrated the tremendous demand that exists in the region today for energy solutions that do not just boost the uptake of clean energy, but also help stabilize and strengthen existing electricity grids.

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The event is a follow-up to the World Bank Group’s (WBG) new, first-of-its-kind $1 billion program that aims to help fast-track investments in battery storage by raising $4 billion more in public and private funds and convening a global think tank with the goal of financing 17.5 GWh of battery storage by 2025 – more than triple the 4-5 GWh currently installed in all developing countries.

The WBG program was developed with ESMAP’s help. Read how ESMAP is already supporting battery storage programs in Africa.