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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

The pilot project is a cornerstone of an extended agreement between ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering and Danbury, Connecticut-based clean energy company FuelCell Energy. Photo via exxonmobil.be

The Esso fuel business of Spring-based ExxonMobil is forging ahead with a pilot project at its Dutch refinery in Rotterdam to test technology aimed at reducing carbon emissions and simultaneously generating electricity and hydrogen.

The pilot project is a cornerstone of an extended agreement between ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering and Danbury, Connecticut-based clean energy company FuelCell Energy. The deal is now set to expire at the end of 2026.

ExxonMobil and FuelCell announced the pilot project in 2023.

“The unique advantage of this technology is that it not only captures CO2 but also produces low-carbon power, heat, and hydrogen as co-products,” Geoff Richardson, senior vice president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, said last year.

The Rotterdam facility, which opened in 1960, will be the first location in the world to test the technology. The technology eventually could be rolled out at additional ExxonMobil sites.

The European Union is among the funders of the pilot project. FuelCell is making carbonate fuel cells for the project at its manufacturing plant in Torrington, Connecticut.

The extended agreement enables FuelCell to incorporate elements of the jointly developed technology into carbon capture products currently being marketed to customers. ExxonMobil and FuelCell are working on formalizing an arrangement for selling the new technology.

“The technology, which captures carbon while simultaneously generating electricity and hydrogen, could improve the economics of carbon capture and could potentially lower the barrier to broader adoption of carbon capture in the marketplace,” according to a FuelCell news release.

FuelCell says its 10-year partnership with ExxonMobil has focused on developing technology that reduces carbon emissions from emission-intensive sectors while generating electricity and hydrogen in the process — “something that no other fuel cell technology or conventional absorption systems can do.”

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