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3 things to know this week in Houston's energy transition ecosystem

A geothermal startup from Houston made a global list of climate tech companies to watch — and more things to know this week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: It's a new week — start it strong with three quick things to know in Houston's energy transition ecosystem: solar projects makke headlines, Fervo named an energy company to keep an eye on, and more.

Fervo Energy named an energy tech startup to watch

Photo via fervoenergy.com

MIT Technology Review released its list of 15 Climate Tech Companies to Watch this year, and Fervo Energy, a Houston-based, rapidly scaling geothermal energy company made the cut.

"Fervo’s enhanced geothermal approach promises to significantly expand the areas where we could tap into the carbon-free and nearly limitless source of energy beneath our feet. Geothermal offers the added advantage of generating electricity around the clock and calendar, making it an ideal clean source to fill in the gaps as grids increasingly come to rely on fluctuating renewables like solar and wind," reads the writeup on the company.

"It could provide a much cheaper or less controversial way of fixing that fundamental challenge in cleaning up the grid than building giant battery plants or adding nuclear power reactors, respectively," the MIT Technology Review continues.

Fervo, which announced earlier this year that its commercial pilot project has resulted in continuous carbon-free geothermal energy production, has raised $187 million since it was founded in 2017.

The article points to not only the accomplishments of the startup, but also the challenges it faces, including further proving out its technology's "effectively, affordably, and consistently on larger scales."

Events not to miss

People huddled in groups for networking

Photo via Getty Images

Put these upcoming events on your radar.

  • October 10-11 — SPRINT Robotics World Conference and Exhibition will show that many robots are in use and that the industry is accelerating and starting to scale. Learn more.
  • October 11-12 — Hydrogen North America 2023 will showcase the hydrogen economy and provoke thought leadership from the industry's experts. Learn more.
  • October 30-31 — Fuze is a must-attend event for executives, investors, and founders serious about solving the energy crisis and boosting company efficiency. Learn more.

A moment for the solar energy news

Photo via Getty Images

Last week, there was a few big stories across solar energy.

  • Sunnova announced a loan from the DOE for up to $5 billion. Read more.
  • A Houston nonprofit powers its community outreach to Houston's food deserts with mobile solar energy.Read more.
  • BP broke ground on its Texas solar farm that it plans to open next year. Read more.

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A View From HETI

A Houston-based initiative has been selected by the DOE to receive funding to develop clean energy innovation programming for startups and entrepreneurs. Photo via Getty Images

Houston has been selected as one of the hubs backed by a new program from the United States Department of Energy that's developing communities for clean energy innovation.

The DOE's Office of Technology Transitions announced the the first phase of winners of the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters, or EPIC, Round 3. The local initiative is one of 23 incubators and accelerators that was awarded $150,000 to support programming for energy startups and entrepreneurs.

The Houston-based participant is called "Texas Innovates: Carbon and Hydrogen Innovation and Learning Incubator," or CHILI, and it's a program meant to feed startups into the DOE recognized HyVelocity program and other regional decarbonization efforts.

EPIC was launched to drive innovation at a local level and to inspire commercial success of energy startups. It's the third year of the competition that wraps up with a winning participant negotiating a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT worth up to $1 million.

“Incubators and Accelerators are uniquely positioned to provide startups things they can't get anywhere else -- mentorship, technology validation, and other critical business development support," DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of OTT Vanessa Z. Chan says in a news release. “The EPIC program allows us to provide consistent funding to organizations who are developing robust programming, resources, and support for innovative energy startups and entrepreneurs.”

CHILI, the only participant in Texas, now moves on to the second phase of the competition, where they will design a project continuation plan and programming for the next seven months to be submitted in September.

where they’ll implement their programming and design a project continuation plan over the next 7 months. In September they will submit their plans with the hope of being selected to negotiate a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT, worth up to $1 million each.

Phase 2 also includes two national pitch competitions with a total of $165,000 in cash prizes up for grabs for startups. The first EPIC pitch event for 2024 will be in June at the 2024 Small Business Forum & Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Last fall, the DOE selected the Gulf Coast's project, HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub, as one of the seven regions to receive a part of the $7 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The hub was announced to receive up to $1.2 billion — the most any hub will get.


The DOE's OTT selections are nationwide. Photo via energy.gov

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