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$118.5M battery storage deal, new chair at METRO, and more trending Houston energy transition news

These were this week's most-read articles on EnergyCapital. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: From a new Houston energy transition exec to strategic partnerships and acquisitions, these are the top headlines that resonated with EnergyCapital readers on social media and daily newsletter this week.

Houston geothermal startup reports 'dramatic acceleration' of drilling operations at Utah project

Fervo Energy says its drilling operations Utah’s Cape Station show a 70 percent reduction in drilling times, paving the way for advancement of its geothermal energy system. Photo via fervoenergy.com

Early drilling results indicate a geothermal energy project operated in Utah by Houston-based startup Fervo Energy is performing better than expected.

Fervo says its drilling operations Utah’s Cape Station show a 70 percent reduction in drilling times, paving the way for advancement of its geothermal energy system. Fervo began construction last year on Cape Station, which is set to deliver clean power to the grid in 2026 and be fully operating by 2028. Continue reading.

Houston energy co. secures $118.5M for battery energy storage project in south Texas

Tokyo Gas America has scored over $100 million in investment tax credits for project in Brazoria County that will supply power to Houstonians.

Houston-based Tokyo Gas America has received $118.5 million in investment tax credits for its battery energy storage system in Brazoria County. The system will supply power for the Houston-area territory served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

San Francisco-based institutional fund sponsor Foss & Co. provided the tax equity for the Longbow BESS project, being developed by New York City-based Clean Capital Partners. Construction on the 174-megawatt battery energy storage system began earlier this year, and the project is expected to come online this summer.

“Longbow BESS represents a significant step forward in our commitment to providing clean and reliable energy solutions,” Ken Kiriishi, senior vice president of Tokyo Gas America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Gas Co., says. Continue reading.

Houston to host inaugural climate tech and energy-focused week

The week, which will be hosted at the Ion and around Houston, will gather investors, industry leaders, and startups from across the energy industry to showcase Houston's growing sustainability community. Photo via the Ion

Three organizations are teaming up to put on a week of programming and events focused on energy and climate startups.

Greentown Labs, Halliburton Labs, and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship have announced Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week 2024 taking place September 9 to 13.

“These organizations will execute events that will serve as a launching pad for an Energy and Climate Startup Week in Houston, showcasing the city as a national hub for the energy future,” Brad Burke, executive director of the Rice Alliance, says in the release. “We welcome the community to bring other energy and climate events to the week, which we’ll cross-promote as the dates approach.” Continue reading.

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. Continue reading.

Chesapeake Energy backs Houston geothermal tech co. in $17M series A

Houston-based Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million round led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. Photo via sagegeosystems.com

A Houston geothermal startup has announced the close of its series A round of funding.

Houston-based Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million round led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. The proceeds aim to fund its first commercial geopressured geothermal system facility, which will be built in Texas in Q4 of 2024. According to the company, the facility will be the first of its kind.

The venture is joined by technology investor Arch Meredith, Helium-3 Ventures and will include support from existing investors Virya, LLC, Nabors Industries Ltd., and Ignis Energy Inc. Continue reading.

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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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