Google's geothermal plant goes online, 2024 industry predictions, and more trending news
Editor's note: It's been a busy news week for energy transition in Houston, and some of this week's headlines resonated with EnergyCapital readers on social media and daily newsletter. Trending news included eight industry predictions for next year, how United Airlines got into sustainability, and more.
From coal and consolidation to LNG and policy reform, here are eight predictions for the energy industry. Photo via Getty Images
We hate to start with the bad news, but let’s get it out of the way. As we look to the year ahead, we see numerous challenges for the industry, from labor and geopolitics to OPEC and continued polarization in Washington. Times are complicated, and nothing looks to be getting simpler.
But there’s good news, too. Natural gas use is booming, and the production, transmission, and processing companies that move decisively here will see substantial upside. Additionally, those who diversify their businesses can get in early on new ventures and accelerate their progress — see Devon with Fervo in geothermal. Local nuclear, hydrogen, and carbon capture all represent similar opportunities.
From our vantage point working with many of the biggest operators and suppliers, we’re seeing activity that will have major ramifications for the industry in the coming year.
Here are eight predictions about what’s around the corner — the good, the bad, and the hopeful. Read more.
Fervo Energy's Project Red with Google is officially operational. Photo via blog.google
Google is on a mission to run all of its data centers and office campuses on constant carbon-free energy by 2030, and the tech giant is one step closer to that goal.
Last week, Google announced that its 24/7 carbon-free energy, or CFE, in Nevada to power its local data center in the state is officially operational. The facility is powered by Houston-based Fervo Energy's geothermal technology, a project — called Project Red — that began in 2021 and celebrated its successful pilot this summer.
"When we began our partnership with Fervo, we knew that a first-of-a-kind project like this would require a wide range of technical and operational innovations," Michael Terrell, senior director of energy and climate at Google, writes in a blog post about the partnership. Read more.
Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business, shares how the school is intrinsically and intentionally linked to the Houston energy community. Photo courtesy Annie Tao/Rice University
Houston is known as the energy capital of the world, and the industry is ingrained into Rice University's DNA — especially the university's business school.
"We are deeply connected — and have been for a long time," says Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. "One of the five pillars of our strategy is to be the leading business school in the country for the studying and the advancement for the energy transition and decarbonization of the economy. We think we can be the premiere school for training people for this rapidly evolving field of energy and to promulgate great research." Read more.
Two Houston companies have partnered up to explore gold hydrogen technology. Photo via cemvita.com
Two Houston-area companies have announced a strategic partnership to test a unique hydrogen production technology.
The Woodlands-based ChampionX Corporation (NASDAQ: CHX) and Gold H2 Inc. entered into the partnership on November 9. GH2, a subsidiary of Houston-based Cemvita, provides tailored subsurface microbiology solutions by harnessing the power of microorganisms to enable in-situ hydrogen production from depleted oil and gas wells. Read more.
Andrew Chang, managing director of United Airlines Ventures, says it's his job to accelerate the airline's mission to decarbonize operations. Photo via LinkedIn
While someone might not immediately make the connection between aviation and the energy transition, United Airlines understands the importance of more sustainable fuel — and has put its money where its mouth is.
According to an International Energy Agency report, the aviation accounted for 2 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions last year. Earlier this year, United Airlines launched a fund that called for collaboration across the industry.
After only five months, the United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund SM increased to nearly $200 million and added new financial partners, airlines, and more. The fund takes on funding from its 13 limited partners and exists separately from United's core business operations. Read more.