Renewable energy is increasingly becoming an important source for electricity.
According to the Global Status Report by REN21, the global renewable energy (RE) policy network, the year 2017 proved to be record-breaking for renewable energy, characterized by the largest ever increase in renewable power capacity. Investment in new renewable power capacity was roughly double the investment in fossil fuel generating capacity, reaching USD 249,8 billion.
In developing countries, renewable energy is providing access to electricity to the millions who are off the electrical grid. According to the Off-Grid Solar (OGS) Market Trends Report published by Lighting Global, the off-grid solar (OGS) sector provided electricity access to an estimated 360 million people worldwide in 2017.
But for renewable energy to serve as a reliable source of electricity, it must always be available regardless of the time of day and the weather conditions. It must also be able to cope with variations in demand. For this reason, electrical energy storage (EES) has a key role in ensuring the balance between electricity supply and demand. Electricity can be stored when not needed for use during times of peak demand when the energy generated is insufficient.
World Bank to fund EES programme
The World Bank has recently announced that it has set up a programme to accelerate investments in battery storage.
According to the World Bank, battery technology is currently expensive and not yet widely deployed in large-scale projects, especially in developing countries. Yet these countries have great potential for wind and solar power given their natural landscapes and large swathes of the populations live without access to reliable electricity.
As Riccardo Puliti, Head of Energy and Extractives at the Word Bank stated, “We are seeing historic low prices for solar and wind energy, and countries want to use as much of it as possible to meet their energy needs. But to make full use of solar and wind power, we need at-scale and affordable battery storage. Our goal is to catalyze new markets that will help drive down costs and make batteries a viable storage solution for developing countries.”
The World Bank committing USD 1 billion to finance this programme as well as to mobilize a further USD 3 billion from the public and private sectors.
The IEC develops Standards for EES technologies to provide safe and stable energy supply and to integrate electricity from intermittent renewable sources into the overall distribution grid.
IEC TC 21 prepares Standards for batteries, including safety and performance. It has set up Joint Working Group 82 (JWG 82) with IEC TC 82, which is responsible for solar photovoltaic energy systems, to address secondary cells and batteries for renewable energy storage.
IEC TC 120 oversees the development of International Standards for all types of EES technologies, employing a systems-based approach rather than focusing on individual energy storage devices.
IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, plays an important role when it comes to certifying batteries. The IECEE CB Scheme, through its registered Certification Body Testing Laboratories (CBTLs) and National Certification Bodies (NCBs), tests and certifies batteries against IEC International Standards developed by IEC TC 21.
IEC also provides support for rural electrification. The IEC TS 62257 series, developed by IEC TC 82, provides best practice solutions to support energy access in developing countries. The IEC, together with the World Bank Group and the United Nations Foundation, provide access to these technical documents at a discounted price to qualifying stakeholders.