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Results BriefsFebruary 8, 2023

Scaling Up Energy Storage to Accelerate Renewables – ESMAP’s Energy Storage Program

Energy storage

Energy storage is fundamental to stockpile renewable energy on a massive scale. The Energy Storage Program, a window of the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program’s (ESMAP) has been working to scale up sustainable energy storage investments and generate global knowledge on storage solutions. The program has catalyzed public and private financing to the total amount of US$725 million in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Maldives, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ukraine, and Western Africa. It supported 14 World Bank lending projects (including six mini-grid projects) addressing deployment of renewable energy and storage solutions and increasing battery storage capacity by 2,527 megawatt hours (MWh).The program is also active in providing capacity building and training to clients engaged in energy storage projects and in mentoring women in the energy storage industry.


SDG 7 emphasizes the need for affordable, reliable, sustainable, modern energy for everyone; access to renewable energy sources is key for the achievement of this SDG. Power systems in developing countries require flexibility to operate renewable energy sources reliably due to their variability. Increasing the share of variable renewable energy (VRE), such as wind and solar power, introduces additional variability and uncertainty: solar photovoltaic (PV) output can change when a cloud passes by a PV system, and wind power output can also vary instantly and from season to season. Energy storage is essential to achieve the needed power systems flexibility to cope with expected and unexpected demand and supply changes.


ESMAP’s Energy Storage Program has convened and is hosting the global Energy Storage Partnership (ESP). The ESP is an international partnership between the World Bank and 43 other entities which fosters international technological cooperation and training to develop and adapt to new energy storage solutions tailored to the needs and conditions of developing countries. It does so through: 

  • Technical assistance: market assessments and roadmaps for scaling up storage; project feasibility studies, grid expansion plans, risk assessments; and studies to support the legal/regulatory framework for storage project business models.
  • Global knowledge generation, stakeholder engagement, fostering international cooperation, and technical capacity building through a mentoring program for women working in the energy storage industry. 


Scaling up sustainable energy storage investments: During its first two years, 2021-22, the Energy Storage program supported clients by informing 14 WB lending projects (including six mini-grid projects) on addressing renewable energy deployment and storage solutions and committing financing for battery storage capacity of 2,527 MWh (2,093 GWh in International Development Association -IDA-supported countries).

Generating and providing global knowledge on energy storage solutions: The program helped Maldives assess the technoeconomic feasibility of solar PV and battery storage for selected islands. The study provided a methodology for the transition toward solar PV and energy storage, proving financial feasibility and confirming that they are the least-cost option to displace conventional diesel generation, which was critical to inform the WB-funded Accelerating Renewable Energy Integration and Sustainable Energy (ARISE) Project, aimed at generating 50 MWh battery storage capacity.

In the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Energy Storage Program's support was critical in preparing the Regional Electricity Access and BEST Project. The program, it funded a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) allocation study which identified optimal battery storage capacities of 205 MWh of BESS equipment for Cote D'Ivoire, Mali, and Niger.

In Ukraine, the Energy Storage Program supported a variable renewable energy (VRE) integration analysis of grid-scale battery storage’s potential role in developing and balancing Ukraine's ancillary service market. As a result, the installation of Hybrid Systems for Electricity Production of 400 MW was incorporated into the Improving Power System Resilience for European Power Grid Integration project.

Leveraging technology for facilitating knowledge exchange: the program developed the Energy Storage Sizing App that countries can use to obtain a preliminary assessment of the energy storage sizing requirements and to project the cost of hybrid solar PV and energy storage systems, using storage for smoothing and shifting applications. This tool informs estimations for early discussions around new greenfield solar PV and battery energy storage hybrid projects in developing countries.

The Energy Storage Academy was established to create a space for knowledge-sharing on energy storage. The academy is the platform which disseminates to World Bank clients the knowledge generated by the different working groups of the ESP. During 2020 and 2021, 39 countries participated and 16 have projects receiving WB support. In addition, the academy organized 10 training sessions, providing information about deploying battery energy storage projects in developing countries,

The ESP also organizes a Women in Energy Storage mentoring program with the Global Women's Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET). The first cohort had over 240 applicants from 50+ countries. 25 mid-career mentees from 17 countries (including Brazil, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, India, China), working in utilities, government, small businesses, private sector, consulting, and academia, participated.  The mentees' enhanced knowledge and professional development skills will reduce the sector’s gender gap.

The mentor was a well-rounded mentor; she was a coach, friend, and sister. She went the extra mile for me. […] I mostly worked on solar projects before; […] however, my mentor's inputs guided me into a technical sales manager role, and now I deal more with not only solar PV modules, but also energy storage solutions (with multiple megawatts capacities), where I am able to implement and train other people on the African market (lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen, etc.).
Yewande Omolara
Renewable Energy Technical Sales Manager (West Africa), Jinko Solar Co., first cohort of Women in Energy Storage (WES) Mentoring Program

Bank Group Contribution

The World Bank-administered ESMAP trust fund provided US$7.4 million in funding for the program in FY21-22.


The ESP has 43 partners, including public sector organizations (e.g., US Department of Energy; UK Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy), research centers (e.g., ZAE Germany; the Belgium Energy Research Alliance), universities (e.g., University of South Africa; Drexel University), regional organizations (e.g., Association of Southeast Asian Nations -ASEAN), multilateral banks (e.g., Inter-American Development Bank - IADB; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - EBRD; Islamic Development Bank - IsDB), and energy storage industry associations (e.g., European Association for Storage of Energy; Korean Battery Industry Association; China Energy Storage Alliance).

The Energy Storage program’s concessional financing has been crucial in securing a total of $276 million through the Climate Investment Fund, the Green Climate Fund, and similar facilities to co-finance projects in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maldives, Ukraine, and Zanzibar.

Find the full list here:

I am glad to have been a part of this mentorship program for women in the field of energy storage. I was amazed to get in touch with brilliant women participants from across the globe. I feel like the webinars showed us common problems that women come across in this energy-based workplace and gave me the confidence to face my problems and have the courage to pursue a better career in the renewable energy sector."
Abhilasha Bhuju
Renewable Energy Consultant, Quasar Energy Consultants, first cohort of WES Mentoring Program

Looking Ahead

The Energy Storage program provides operational support to clients by working with World Bank teams to advance the IDA20 Energy Policy Commitment of developing battery storage in at least 15 countries (including at least 10 fragile and conflict-affected situations). Through a follow-on ASA activity - Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Design for Renewable Energy and Battery Storage (BESS), ESP is designing a solar PV plus battery storage hybrid PPA framework that would help enable wider private-sector participation, focusing on IDA-eligible, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Small Island Developing States countries.

The ESP’s biannual stakeholder forum and partner meetings will continue to identify and jointly work on energy storage-related topics. The ESA is being transformed into an e-learning platform as the basis for wider outreach for training and capacity building in the growing number of battery storage projects in developing countries. The Women in Energy Storage Mentoring Program's (WES) second cohort has recently been launched and the aim is to replicate it biannually or annually. Case studies for different energy storage flexible sector coupling programs, procurement best practices, innovative approaches, and business models will continue to be collected and shared with ESP partners to create a repository of best practices for energy storage deployment.