the view from heti

Houston is at the heart of an 'all of the above' energy transition strategy

Jane Stricker, executive director of HETI, on two years of the organization and the dual challenge the industry faces. Photo via GHP

As the Houston region continues to have important conversations about energy and climate in the energy capital of the world, it’s helpful to frame the discussion in terms of the dual challenge.

On one hand, our world needs energy companies across all sectors to continue to develop and deliver energy for all parts of the world – energy that is affordable and reliable and can enable the level of population and GDP growth anticipated over the next 30 years. At the same time, we need to find a way to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and distribution of that energy to reduce the risks and impacts associated with climate change on our world.

As the global energy landscape continues to evolve – across the entire value chain, just in the two years since HETI was launched, there is an even greater urgency to leverage all available solutions to address the dual challenge.

We must be able to recognize that there is no silver bullet, no single technology and no single source of energy today that can get the world to net zero by 2050. However, that doesn’t mean we should give up. As the energy transition capital of the world, Houston continues to demonstrate that can lead in developing and deploying “all of the above” energy solutions needed to reach our ambitious goals.

With over 200 new cleantech and climatetech startups alongside some of the largest energy leaders who know how to scale technology, Houston is uniquely positioned to lead the way in technology development and commercial deployment to meet the dual challenge. Whether it’s implementing a carbon capture and storage project along Houston’s ship channel, piloting small modular nuclear reactor technology to enable zero carbon energy for chemical production in Seadrift, or converting an abandoned landfill in the middle of Houston’s Sunnyside community into the largest urban solar farm in the U.S. to create both zero carbon power and economic opportunity for the community, Houston is charging forward on all fronts to meet the dual challenge.

We cannot afford to sacrifice progress in search of a perfect solution, and Houston embraces this perspective in the way our region is coming together across the entire energy ecosystem to build on our leadership and lead the world to an energy-abundant, low-carbon future.


This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”


This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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