hou knew?

3 things to know this week: Energy startups announce big wins, evaluating the IRA's first year, and more

How the IRA is affecting clean energy project development, events not to miss, 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. Three energy tech startups are celebrating big wins, experts evaluate the IRA's first year, and events not to miss this week.

Eyes on the IRA

How did the IRA affect energy transition project development? Experts discussed the positive impacts — as well as the challenges still to overcome. Photo courtesy of Renewable Energy Alliance Houston

August 16 marked one year of the Inflation Reduction Act's enactment, and many have taken this first anniversary as an opportunity to look back on its effectiveness and where it's fallen short.

For Carbon Clean, a United Kingdom-founded company, the IRA made all the difference in its expansion into the United States — by way of Houston.

"The impact of the IRA cannot be overstated for our industry, especially for point source carbon capture technology companies like Carbon Clean," Co-Founder, Chair, and CEO Aniruddha Sharma shares with EnergyCapital in an interview. "The momentum created by the law's passage, along with our existing activity in North America, led to the opening of our US headquarters in Houston in March this year. We will double our US headcount to meet demand for CycloneCC, our breakthrough, fully modular carbon capture technology."

At a recent event at Rice University, experts zeroed in on the effect on clean energy project development. While the IRA opened doors for new funding, it also revealed shortcomings when it came to permitting.

"The IRA for developers has been very positive. It provided certainty and allowed developers and investors alike to plan long term," says Omar Aboudaher, senior vice president of development for Leeward Renewable Energy. "With that comes challenges, including exacerbating some existing problems with permitting."

Energy tech startup wins

These three startups have something to celebrate. Photo via Getty Images

Three energy tech startups had some big wins last week — let's take a look.

  • Nauticus Robotics, a Houston-based tech company providing software and hardtech solutions for industrial and government entities, secured a $2.1 million contract extension with one of its biggest clients. Read more.
  • France-based Engie announced that it will acquire Houston-based battery storage startup Broad Reach Power in $1 billion deal. The company launched in 2019 with backing from EnCap Energy Transition, an arm of Houston-based private equity firm EnCap Investments. Read more.
  • Austin-based energy software company P6 Technologies closed a $3.25 million seed round of funding with support from a handful of Houston investors from GOOSE Capital, Artemis Energy Partners, Tupper Lake Partners, and Veritec Ventures. Read more.

Upcoming events to put on your radar

Mark your calendars. Photo via Getty Images

Plan the rest of your August accordingly.

  • August 28-30 — Industrial IMMERSIVE Week attracts the most industrial, energy, and engineering tech professionals making investment, strategy and tactical decisions, or building, scaling and executing pioneering XR/3D/Simulations, digital twin, reality capture, edge /spatial computing, AI/ML, connected workforce & IIoT projects within their enterprise.
  • August 30 — 2023 Energy Research Day will be a showcase of outstanding energy-related research by University of Houston graduate and postdoctoral students. Sponsored by the Division of Research and Graduate School, the event gives industries in the Greater Houston area a chance to see UH research up close and network with future collaborators.
  • August 30-31 — Carbon & ESG Strategies Conference, presented by Hart Energy, will highlight carbon capture and storage projects and technologies onshore and offshore, direct air capture, enhanced oil recovery, responsibly sourced gas, renewable natural gas, federal funding challenges and insurance issues, ESG initiatives, regulatory concerns and much more.

Trending News

A View From HETI

A View From UH

Behold the future JSX Aura Aero Era 19-seat hybrid-electric aircraft. Rendering courtesy of JSX

Hop-on jet service JSX is soaring into a more eco-friendly future with plans to acquire more than 300 hybrid-electric airplanes.

The Dallas-based air carrier revealed in a release that they'll add up to 332 small hybrid planes in 2028, allowing them to connect to smaller, underserved communities around the country.

"Following the Biden Administration’s call last week for the aviation industry to cut carbon emissions ... JSX expects to take delivery of its first hybrid-electric aircraft in 2028, shepherding the next chapter of regional aviation as the first in its category to adopt this impactful cutting-edge renewable energy technology," JSX says in the release. "While commercial airlines can serve just 480 airports in the United States, JSX’s small community-friendly Part 135 and Part 380 Public Charter operations, combined with the exceptional performance capabilities of these hybrid-electric airplanes, enables service opportunities to thousands of federally funded airports otherwise inaccessible to people who can’t own or charter an entire aircraft."

The new cutting-edge airplanes will come from manufacturers Electra, Aura Aero, and Heart Aerospace and will include:

  • up to 82 Electra eSTOL 9-seat aircraft (32 firm orders and 50 options)
  • up to 150 Aura Aero Era 19-seat planes (50 firm orders and 100 options)
  • up to 100 Heart Aerospace ES-30 30-seat planes (50 firm orders and 50 options)

JSX currently operates about 50 semi-private planes configured with 30 seats, from private terminals in major cities including Dallas (Love Field) and Houston (Hobby Airport), and in "leisure" markets such as Destin, Florida and the Bahamas. The company recently shifted part of its operational focus to small markets (such as Midland-Odessa).

JSX promises a "no crowds, no lines, and no fuss" travel experience, allowing customers to check in and "hop on" just 20 minutes before departure. The carrier recently came under fire from federal regulators and major commercial airlines for its looser security regulations that more closely resemble those of charter providers than those of domestic airlines.

JSX is now doubling down on its pledge to service underserved cities, declaring in the release, "JSX has mastered the trifecta of marketing, selling, and operating attainable by-the-seat public charter air service to numerous small communities that have no other regular air service."

The future Heart Aerospace ES-30 30-seat hybrid-electric aircraft in JSX livery. Rendering courtesy of JSX

The new smaller, electric-hybrid aircraft will allow JSX to "dramatically lower the cost of its service and open new flight options at over 2,000 U.S. airports," they say, "stimulating local economies and empowering regional mobility and connectivity for communities devoid of regular air service today."

They point specifically to Del Rio, Texas, which has lost all commercial air service since the pandemic, they say, as an example of a small city that now can be reconnected to major cities in a cost-effective, sustainable way.

"The favorable operating economics of the Aura Aero Era, Heart ES-30, and Electra eSTOL can create thousands of new and expanded air travel options across the United States without the need for government subsidy," the company says.

In a statement, JSX CEO and cofounder Alex Wilcox adds, "As the network airlines order ever-larger aircraft it is inevitable that more and more small markets will be abandoned. Electra, Aura Aero, and Heart Aerospace are visionary organizations that share in JSX’s commitment to serving smaller communities, working together with us to weave sustainable regional air travel back into the fabric of American commerce and freedom of movement.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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