transportation station

Newly appointed Houston METRO chair vows​ to bring clean, reliable public transit

Elizabeth Gonzalez Brock was named as board chair of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. Photo via LinkedIn

Houston Mayor John Whitmire named the new board chair of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County.

An executive at Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, Elizabeth Gonzalez Brock was appointed to lead Houston METRO. The move, pending City Council and board approval, would make her the first Hispanic woman to chair the state's largest transit authority.

"I am grateful to Mayor Whitmire for the honor and opportunity to lead METRO as Board Chair and to be entrusted with this important responsibility, said Brock in a news release. “By appointing the first Hispanic woman in this role, the mayor confirms his commitment to identifying experienced, qualified, and diverse individuals to serve our city and his administration.

"I look forward to working collaboratively with the mayor, the METRO Board, and all levels of government to transform METRO into a best-in-class model of transit, accountability and transparency," she continues. "We will empower a strong management team that will drive measurable results and work directly with customers to understand their real needs to make public transit a safe, clean, and viable option for everyone.”

Brock is vice president of utility infrastructure planning and policy at CenterPoint Energy where she led large customer service, business, and economic development. Brock previously held positions at Reliant Energy, Texas Southern University, and the University of Houston in leadership roles. Brock graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor's degree in political science.

She has been a member of the Board of Houston First Corporation since 2017 and was a founding member and chair of EV nonprofit Evolve Houston.

"Elizabeth is the leader we need for METRO today,” Whitmire said in a news release. “She brings a 'customer first' mindset, which is exactly the thinking our community deserves," Mayor Whitmire said. "Safety and reliability are key for all who depend on or commute alongside public transportation. I am confident that Elizabeth will use her results-driven expertise to drive METRO to deliver a user-friendly and fiscally responsible transit system to all. She understands that my priority is providing mobility options for all Houstonians."

The area has a 1,309-square-mile service area and an annual budget of $ 1.6 billion.

Recently, Whitmire announced Houston Airports Chief Operating Officer Jim Szczesniak replaced longtime Director Mario Diaz. Diaz was head of Houston Airports since 2010 and oversaw the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport and Ellington Airport, a military use airport. Szczesniak served as Houston Airport’ chief operating officer for the past two years. He previously led the multibillion-dollar capital improvement program.

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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