Moises Martínez
Venture Partner
Desert Sky Holdings
View from the Top

Technology Developments Also for Smaller Cities

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 17:34

Q: What was the idea behind the founding of Desert Sky Holdings?

A: The idea was to help new clean-energy technologies that are available and tested but not yet widespread make the jump to the real market. When it comes to wind turbines and solar cells, we are still installing the same technologies that were developed 20 years ago. Although there have been improvements, these have been small and the potential to continue increasing energy generation and boosting efficiencies is limited. Some might think that we are investing in the development of startups but that would be untrue. Startups tend to have technologies that are not yet proven under real market conditions. 

With the integration of the technologies with which we work, we want to not only show the world that they are viable, but also to really improve the quality of life of our society. Our goal is to liberalize resources that would be otherwise invested in the consumption of energy so that those resources can be used for education, health, security, infrastructure and social benefits in general.

Q: What are Desert Sky Holdings’ main projects in Mexico and how will these technologies benefit society?

A: In Mexico, we are working on two key projects. The first is to replace the aged public illumination system of a city in the north. We are going to install light posts connected to a wind turbine and solar cells so they can generate energy. By installing the 35,000 light posts that the city needs we will be able to generate 50MW of electricity. Therefore, we will be able to generate an enormous amount of energy without the need for any land extension beyond that which the old light posts already use. The fact that we are going to connect these light posts via optic fiber cables will allow for the future implementation of sensors and even the creation of an intelligent city.

The second project is within a city on the Pacific coast. The idea is to make the city entirely self-sustainable in terms of energy by installing both the light posts, like in the other project, together with smaller strategically-located wind parks. This city also has a severe problem with shortages 
of drinking water. To ensure a holistic project, we are going to install cutting-edge water treatment and desalination plants that will produce the same amount of energy they consume. As these plants will be small, their energy needs can be covered by the energy generated by the light posts.

Q: What potential do you see in Mexico for the implementation of more projects of this type?

A: The potential in Mexico is incredible. We have natural resources in excess, so much so that we do not know how to exploit them to their maximum. Like many other countries, we also have chronic problems, most of which are located in small cities where the business opportunities are not attractive enough for investors to develop energy or water projects. We are betting on these smaller cities that have bigger needs. One by one, this will create a domino effect in which, after many cities have been improved, a greater good for society is created. As we are working with smaller projects and smaller cities, the energy needs are easier to cover, meaning that the investment is easier to handle. The challenge is not to do these projects, but to diminish our culture of thinking that only big projects with big investments are economically viable. A war is won by winning small battles, not with only one big battle.

Q: What milestones do you expect to achieve in Mexico?

A: 2018 will be a watershed year for us because we will finish the first two projects we are developing. Regarding the technologies, we are sure they work because they have been implemented in the US, Australia and even in Russia. As for the business model, the results will come. We will continue working to integrate the public light posts for the benefit of cities, and when it is possible we will also get into the installation of desalination and water treatment plants. During the next four years we want to install 500,000 of our energy-generating light posts in several Mexican cities.