Mexico to Implement Several Energy Storage Units Smart Grids

The 1,000 MW energy storage warehouse would be the first in North America.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced his support for a project by RUBENIUS, a Dubai-based alternative energy and smart grid enabler, to provide energy storage to enable use of renewable energy and manage the power grid more efficiently.

The president met with Claus Rubenius, the company’s chairman, at the U.N.’s recent Climate Change Conference in Cancun to discuss renewable storage, including a 1,000 MW energy storage warehouse, the first in North America. The discussion was followed by a news conference.

“Why is it important for an energy storage solution for renewable energy? Because the big problem with renewable energy is that it is intermittent, a wind generator for example, only generates electricity when there is wind, and when there is no wind, a client, a house, a business, a factory cannot depend on these sources of power constantly,” Calderon said. “Renewable energy needs a backup for the moment the wind stops blowing or when the sun ceases to shine, and the current backup systems complicate and increase the price of the renewable installation.”

RUBENIUS, together with Japanese products, has developed an innovative technology to utilize hefty sodium-sulfur batteries that will be installed on a strategic site in Mexicali, known as the Silicon Border of Mexico, which will be able to store energy generated there, including renewable energy.

“There are many renewables in northern Mexico – including solar in Sonora and wind in Baja – but this can only be triggered if they have an energy storage facility such as the one announced by RUBENIUS to be installed in our country,” Calderon said.

This will generate a real change in the electricity markets in both Mexico and California in the United States, which, especially in California, are highly focused markets for renewable energy.

These facilities will also contribute to increasing efficiency and optimization of the grid in both countries.

In addition to the energy warehouse, Rubenius also announced his intentions to pursue energy storage manufacturing operations. The new factory will also be based in Silicon Border, Baja California, creating an additional 1,000 “green” jobs there.

In addition to energy storage, RUBENIUS will also offer its products and expertise for off-grid communities. Nearly 3.5 billion people do not have access to a reliable electrical grid and clean water. Mexico will initiate several beta sites where off-grid communities are provided with either solar or wind power, power storage and water treatment at rates near what people on the grid are paying in the long run.

“Our experience in the UAE and our smart grid expertise has given us the confidence to enter into the North American market with a 1 GW energy storage project in Silicon Border’s science park in Mexicali, Baja California,” said Rubenius. “The Mexican operation will house the storage devices, and we will have offices in San Diego, California, for research and development. The locations enable us to address both Mexico and the U.S.” The storage warehouse will require an investment of more than $4 billion, over the next five to seven years.

The earlier discussions also included trade of energy across the Mexico-U.S. border. The Baja Grid has been connected to the U.S. grid for many years. Both countries have announced efforts to work together to increase the use of renewables. In this discussion Calderon offered support to make the use of the energy warehouse including by mainland Mexico and California.