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Robotaxi put it in park, events not to miss, and other things to know in Houston energy transition news

Cruise pauses in Houston and beyond — and more things to know this week. Photo via Cruise/Facebook

Editor's note: It's a new week — start it strong with three quick things to know in Houston's energy transition ecosystem: events not to miss, robotaxis take a break, and more.

Events this week

Don't miss these two events.

  • November 7-8: Hydrogen North America 2024 will host the hydrogen sector's thought leaders for a two-day event. Learn more.
  • November 8 — The Houston Innovation Awards will honor the city's startups, entrepreneurs, and ecosystem, including energy tech innovators. Learn more.

Cruise hits the brakes

Cruise launched in Houston in October. Photo courtesy of Cruise

Self-driving taxi service, Cruise, which recently launched in Houston, has put it in park for the time being, as TechCrunch reported last month.

The company's California permit was rescinded, and Cruise announced a national pause on its service in a statement.

"The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust. Part of this involves taking a hard look inwards and at how we do work at Cruise, even if it means doing things that are uncomfortable or difficult," reads the statement. "In that spirit, we have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust. This is not related to any new on-road incidents, and our supervised AV operations will continue."

Meet LYB — and its latest sustainability deal

LyondellBasell has rebranded as LYB. Photo via lyondellbasell.com

LyondellBasell has rebranded as LYB, revealing a new logo, tagline, and visual identity.

“With our new strategy firmly in place, our employees are adopting new ways of working to generate innovative, value-enhancing solutions to support our goals,” Peter Vanacker, LYB's CEO, says in the release.

The Dutch company, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, also recently announced that it has purchased a 25 percent stake in a joint venture that seeks to accelerate advancements in plastic recycling.

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A View From HETI

Under this deal, the joint venture, RPC Power, will build power generation and storage assets for the sale of energy and related services to ERCOT. Photo via conduitpower.co

Houston-based Conduit Power is broadening the scope of its joint venture with Oklahoma City-based Riley Exploration Permian.

Under this deal, the joint venture, RPC Power, will build power generation and storage assets for the sale of energy and related services to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the power grid for the bulk of Texas.

RPC Power, established in March 2023, owns and operates power generation assets that use Riley Permian’s natural gas to power its oilfield operations in Yoakum County, located in West Texas.

The expanded relationship will enable RPC Power to sell power and related services to ERCOT, with plans for 100 megawatts of natural gas-fueled generation and battery energy storage systems across facilities in West Texas. The facilities are expected to start commercial operations in 2025.

In conjunction with the expanded scope, Riley Permian bumped up its stake in RPC Power from 35 percent to 50 percent. Furthermore, it plans to sell up to 10 million cubic feet per day of natural gas to RPC Power as feedstock supply for the new generation facilities.

"Our JV expansion at RPC Power represents a significant milestone for our company, and we are proud to build upon our successful partnership with Riley Permian,” Travis Windholz, managing director of Conduit, says in a news release.

Conduit, a portfolio company of private equity firm Grey Rock Investment Partners, designs, builds, and operates distributed power generation systems.

Riley Exploration Permian specializes in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas reserves, primarily within the Permian Basin.

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