In the early 1990s, the company’s chief executive, Kevin Johnson, was on a plane to Dubai when he got a phone call.
He was surprised to learn that a company called Monster Energy had been invited to an exclusive meeting.
“It was a little surreal,” Johnson said in an interview.
“I thought we were in the desert and it was going to be an airport and it wasn’t.
It was like a dream come true.”
It was, in fact, a dream.
For a decade, the world’s largest supplier of clean, reliable energy was building the first battery factory in the United States.
Its arrival was met with a flurry of interest, from Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., to the private sector.
“That was a real watershed moment in the industry,” said John Buechler, a partner at law firm Covington & Burling.
The company’s energy strategy was changing rapidly, and in 1993, it won a major contract to build the world.
At the time, the market for large-scale battery production was relatively new, and Monster Energy was looking to break into a market that was still relatively new.
Its battery factory, a three-acre site on the outskirts of downtown Phoenix, was meant to compete with the likes of General Electric and Samsung.
But it wasn´t just a place to build big batteries.
Its goal was to build a plant that would produce electricity for the entire world, from Australia to New Zealand.
By the mid-1990s, it was working with the world´s biggest electric utility, Phoenix Energy, to create the world¿s first battery storage project, a project that would eventually be called the Mira project.
The goal was simple: to harness the power of the sun and wind, and store it to make electricity.
“This was not just a business,” said David Haines, a professor of energy systems engineering at the University of Arizona.
“The Mira battery would provide the energy that we needed for a range of applications.”
Mira was an attempt to create a storage plant that could be operated with no electricity.
The technology was known as “negative electrode” storage, and it relied on a system called a solar cell, a thin film of silicon, and a battery.
“We had two of the best batteries on the planet,” said Hainis.
Mira’s goal was ambitious.
In 2000, it produced electricity for 10,000 homes, making it the largest battery plant in the world, but it was a project at the mercy of the price of electricity.
In addition to the power it supplied, the plant was also the largest single source of carbon dioxide in the U.S. and the world – a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
“What the Miras did was they created a market for the technology,” said Mike Langer, an associate professor of applied science at the U of A. “They created an enormous opportunity for a lot of people who didn´t have a chance to buy into it.
They had an opportunity to build something that could compete on price.”
To make Mira possible, the Miraeo Energy Group, the subsidiary of Mira, made major acquisitions.
In 2001, it bought the California-based company Enphase Energy, which had been the first large energy storage company to build its own battery.
The next year, it entered a joint venture with Texas-based Southern Company to develop Mira.
In 2007, Miraeom bought Texas-headquartered Enermax, which built the worldʿs largest lithium ion battery.
In 2010, Mira bought China’s SunPower.
And in 2011, MirAero bought South Korea’s LG Chem.
Miraeos efforts paid off.
By 2011, solar and wind power accounted for nearly one-third of Mirae’s electricity production.
And its production of electricity made it the world leader in battery storage.
By 2016, Miras solar and battery projects were supplying a quarter of the countryʿ electricity.
Miraios success made it one of the worlds largest battery makers.
But Miraeovas batteries were still just that.
The Miraeostates solar and lithium-ion battery business grew rapidly, thanks to Miraeotas investments.
But as demand for batteries increased, so too did the company.
By 2019, Mirais energy storage business was worth about $4 billion.
“There were so many things that were changing in the energy industry that Miraeots investments were changing the way that things were done,” said Jeff Buecheler, an energy expert at the New York University School of Law.
“Because Miraeoton was so good at getting batteries that were cheaper than conventional battery technology, they were able to take that advantage and go from there.”
The Miraiostates battery business took off.
In 2016, it had a $3 billion valuation, according to research firm