Q&A

Houston energy tech founder envisions enhanced clean energy marketplace

The conversation with Jason Beck of ZettaWatts offers a glimpse into the exciting world of energy transition.

For Jason Beck, a cleaner future is personal. That's why his company, ZettaWatts, is making clean energy more affordable and available.

In this Energy Tech Startups episode, we dive deep into the world of energy transition technologies with Beck from ZettaWatts. Jason shares his unique perspective on the evolving energy landscape, the importance of climate journeys, and the innovative solutions ZettaWatts is bringing to the table.



The conversation with Beck offers a glimpse into the exciting world of energy transition. As we move towards a more sustainable future, it's essential to stay informed and engaged with the latest developments in the sector.

Energy Tech Startups: What is ZettaWatts' primary mission in the energy transition landscape?

JasonBeck: ZettaWatts is deeply committed to enabling energy transition technologies to reach the market and improve their financial viability. The company's primary goal is to bridge the gap between groundbreaking technologies and the financial structures that support them. By doing so, they hope to accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy solutions.

ETS: You mentioned the importance of individual "climate journeys." Can you elaborate on this concept?

JB: Absolutely. A climate journey refers to an individual's evolving understanding and commitment to sustainability and climate action. It's a personal path that often starts with a growing awareness of environmental issues and culminates in concrete actions to address them. My own journey began with a realization of the pressing need for collective action against climate change. It's essential for everyone to embark on their climate journey, as it fosters a sense of responsibility and drives impactful change.

ETS: Houston is emerging as a hub for energy transition. What makes the city stand out in this regard?

JB: Houston's energy ecosystem is vibrant and diverse. Historically known for its oil and gas industry, the city is now embracing renewable energy and sustainable solutions. This shift is evident in the increasing number of startups, research institutions, and established companies focusing on green energy in the region. The collaborative spirit and wealth of resources make Houston an ideal place for companies like ZettaWatts to thrive.

ETS: How does ZettaWatts differentiate itself as a market maker in the energy sector?

JB: Unlike traditional bilateral markets, ZettaWatts operates as a market maker by aggregating demand and supply. This unique approach allows for instant diversification, reducing risks for both buyers and sellers. By acting as a central hub, ZettaWatts can efficiently match renewable energy projects with interested investors, streamlining the process and ensuring optimal outcomes for all parties involved.

ETS:  Decarbonization by 2050 is a significant goal. How do you see renewable energy playing a role in achieving this target?

JB: Renewable energy is pivotal in addressing the carbon problem. To achieve decarbonization by 2050, we need a comprehensive plan, and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro play a crucial role in this roadmap. I highly recommend the book "Speed and Scale" as it provides a master plan for this ambitious goal. With the right strategies and collective effort, I believe we can create a sustainable future.

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This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click here to listen to the full episode.

Hosted by Jason Ethier and Nada Ahmed, the Digital Wildcatters’ podcast, Energy Tech Startups, delves into Houston's pivotal role in the energy transition, spotlighting entrepreneurs and industry leaders shaping a low-carbon future. Digital Wildcatters is a Houston-based media platform and podcast network, which is home to the Energy Tech Startups podcast.

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A View From HETI

Shares of the Houston-based company rose 2% before the market opened Friday. Photo via exxonmobil.com

ExxonMobil's fourth-quarter revenue and profits declined along with the price of oil, and the energy giant was weighed down by a hefty impairment charge tied to regulatory issues in California. Still, it posted a healthy adjusted profit and the company raised its quarterly dividend.

Shares of the Houston-based company rose 2% before the market opened Friday.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 declined to $84.34 billion from $95.43 billion. That fell short of the $91.81 billion that analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Exxon earned $7.63 billion, or $1.91 per share, for the quarter. A year earlier, it earned $12.75 billion, or $2.25 per share.

The current quarter included a $2.3 billion impairment charge of which $2 billion related to regulatory obstacles in California that have prevented production and distribution assets from coming back online.

Excluding the charge and other items, earnings were $2.48 per share.

Analysts were calling for earnings of $2.21 per share. Exxon does not adjust its reported results based on one-time events such as asset sales.

The Spring, Texas-based company boosted its quarterly dividend 4% to 95 cents per share.

Exxon went on a bit of a shopping spree last year with oil prices surging.

In July, the company said it would pay $4.9 billion for Denbury Resources, an oil and gas producer that has entered the business of capturing and storing carbon and stands to benefit from changes in U.S. climate policy.

In October Exxon topped that deal by announcing that it would buy shale operator Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion. Two months later, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces federal antitrust law, asked for additional information from the companies about the proposed deal. The request is a step the agency takes when reviewing whether a merger could be anticompetitive under U.S. law. Pioneer disclosed the request in a filing Tuesday.

Elevated levels of cash for all big producers drove a massive consolidation in the energy sector. In October Chevron said it would buy Hess Corp. for $53 billion.

Chevron also reported its financial results Friday, posting a fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $3.45 per share on revenue of $47.18 billion. Wall Street was calling for a profit of $3.29 per share on revenue of $52.59 billion. Its stock climbed slightly in premarket.

The San Ramon, California-based company said both U.S. and worldwide annual production hit a record. Chevron's board approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.63 per share, up 8%.

On Thursday, Shell plc reported an adjusted profit of $2.22 for the fourth quarter, with revenue totaling $80.13 billion. Analysts predicted a profit of $1.94 per share. Shell's stock edged slightly higher before the market open.

Oil markets are being stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the war between Israel and Hamas still potentially runs the risk of igniting a broader conflict in the Middle East. While attacks on Israel do not disrupt global oil supply, according to an analysis by the U.S Energy Information Administration, “they raise the potential for oil supply disruptions and higher oil prices.”

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