Dubai-based energy firm Rubenius in October proposed to build a $4 billion energy storage facility based on sodium sulfur (NaS) technology on a 345-acre site in the Mexican state of Baja California, close to the U.S. border. If it comes to fruition, the facility—dubbed a “mega region energy warehouse” by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon—will feature 1,000 MW of battery storage and offer “storage space” to energy companies and utilities in both Mexico and the U.S.
The energy storage center will be built at a strategically located crossroads of the countries’ power grids, at the Silicon Border “science park” in Mexico, which is currently under development. The park is looking to house renewable energy sector factory and energy generation sites. Rubenius said the site’s existing infrastructure and proximity to the grids—including the 117-mile, $1.8 billion 500-kV Sunrise power grid expansion in southern California—would enable a more rapid deployment of renewable energy.
A timeline for the project’s construction and an anticipated operation date have not been specified yet. However, Claus Rubenius, inventor and founder of the formerly Danish company, recently told Greentech Media that the 1,000-MW worth of NaS batteries would be bought from Japanese battery manufacturer NGK, which, he pointed out, was the world’s only volume producer of NaS cells. Rubenius went so far as to say that the deal made with NGK would take up that company’s entire production capacity for nearly the next decade.
—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.