Mexico President Felipe Calderon announced last week at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, that he intends to support a project by Dubai’s RUBENIUS to provide 1 gigawatt of energy storage in Baja California, that would be used to store wind power to be shipped to the US, as well as to Mexico.
“Energy storage is the intelligent way to make renewable energy carbon free. Currently renewables require some sort of backup power–for example: when the wind stops blowing, the most common solution today is carbon based backup systems. Energy storage can end this quandary,” said President Calderon.
Customers would be energy companies and utilities on both sides of the border.
The site, Mexico’s planned Silicon Border, already has existing infrastructure and close proximity to both the Baja California power grid and to the proposed new Sunrise Power Grid expansion to California.
RUBENIUS has developed wind storage technology that utilizes an “energy warehouse” of NaS (Sodium Sulphur) batteries. Smaller NaS batteries have been tested for wind storage in Japan, and Xcel Energy is testing a wind farm energy storage using sodium sulfur batteries in the US.
But the 1 GW battery project is the largest use of the technology for wind power storage, and propels both Dubai and Mexico to the forefront in pioneering wind storage, a key technology in advancing to the carbon-constrained future.
To support the project, the company will also build a factory nearby to manufacture the energy storage. Claus Rubenius has already purchased the 350 acres of land for the project. Once built, the 1GW “energy warehouse” is expected to cost $4 billion over the next 5 to 7 years. Mexico will initiate several beta sites where off-grid communities are provided with either solar or wind power, power storage and water treatment.
“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 US,” said Claus Rubenius, founder and engineer.
The Amplex Group, a RUBENIUS subsidiary, has already installed and commissioned the largest energy storage in the world, in the United Arab Emirates.
Image: John Sloan 1915