EnergyWatch

Big batteries coming of age prompt bankers to place their bets

Banks are now discovering the battery industry which could be on track to one day revolutionize electrical grids in the management of unpredictable output from wind and solar farms.

Photo: Atlas Copco

The idea that giant batteries may someday revolutionize electrical grids has long enthralled clean-power advocates and environmentalists. Now it's attracting bankers with the money to make it happen.

Lenders including Investec Plc, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and  Prudential Financial Inc. are looking to finance large-scale energy-storage projects from California to Germany, marking a coming-of-age moment for the fledgling industry. The systems help utilities solve a longstanding clean-power conundrum: managing the unpredictable output from wind and solar farms, and retaining electricity until it's needed.

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