year in review

Top 5 nonprofit energy transition news stories in 2023

Urban Harvest is now using solar energy to bring its produce around Houston — and other top nonprofit stories on EnergyCapital this year. Photo courtesy of Andrew Hemingway/Urban Harvest

Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, EnergyCapital is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston energy transition. While the responsibility of moving the needle on sustainability doesn't always fall to the shoulders of nonprofit organizations, five of the sector's top news stories from this year resonated with readers — be sure to click through to read the full story.

Nonprofit harvests solar energy to serve Houston's food deserts

Sustainable nonprofit Urban Harvest has upgraded to use solar energy. Photo courtesy Andrew Hemingway/Urban Harvest

Houston nonprofit Urban Harvest is plugging into the power of solar energy.

The nonprofit’s Mobile Market program has added a custom-designed, solar-equipped trailer to its fleet. The market provides fresh locally sourced food to “food deserts.”

“By harnessing the sun’s energy, the trailer can become a self-sustaining unit, eliminating reliance on conventional power sources for a substantial period of time,” says Urban Harvest.

The trailer consists of a Ford F150 hybrid truck with a custom-designed trailer that’s equipped with solar power capabilities. The unit enables Urban Harvest to store and transport nearly $5,000 worth of fresh produce and goods to support the Mobile Market program, which serves an average of 1,200 customers each month. Click here to continue reading article from September.

Green jobs accelerator to launch to Houston, other cities with corporate and nonprofit partnership

The Goodwill Clean Tech Accelerator is a partnership between Goodwill and Accenture that will equip participants with employability and technical skills for entry-level jobs across the energy transition. Photo via Getty Images

A major nonprofit and a worldwide corporate leader have teamed up to advance clean tech jobs.

The Goodwill Clean Tech Accelerator is a partnership between Goodwill and Accenture that will equip participants with employability and technical skills for entry-level jobs across solar and storage, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and energy efficiency, according to a news release from the organizations.

The program launch next year in Houston, as well as in Atlanta, Nashville, and Detroit, as the two organizations announced in at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Forward event. According to Accenture and Goodwill, the plan is to grow the program to 20 cities in the next seven years and train an estimated 7,000 job seekers. Click here to continue reading article from October.

Houston-based Baker Hughes pledges $175,000 to nonprofits with diversity-focused initiatives

Baker Hughes has made two grants to nonprofits looking to support a diverse workforce. Photo via bakerhughes.com

The nonprofit arm of a Houston-based energy company has made two grants into organizations focused on supplier diversity.

Earlier this week, the Baker Hughes Foundation revealed details on a $75,000 grant to Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, or HMSDC, and a $100,000 grant to Washington, D.C.-based WEConnect International. HMSDC supports economic growth of minority-owned businesses, and WEConnect International is focused on women-owned companies.

“At Baker Hughes, supplier diversity is integral to our success, and it is our duty to support organizations that fuel building a more inclusive supply base and take the steps necessary to ensure business practices mirror our diverse landscape,” Lynn Buckley, Supplier Diversity and Business Development Sourcing leader, says in a news release. Click here to continue reading article from September.

Houston-area teen wins prestigious award for sustainable gardening initiative

A Pearland student's hydroponic gardening nonprofit is increasing sustainability efforts at local schools. Photo via Getty Images

At only 16 years old, Pearland student Rahul Vijayan has been named a winner of a prestigious award.

The 2023 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes recognizes 25 young leaders "who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities, and the environment," reads the news release. Additionally, 15 of the top winners each receive $10,000 toward their education or service work.

Vijayan created Farm to Tray, a nonprofit that equips schools with hydroponic gardening systems, which can grow fresh produce for school lunch programs. Since he started his initiative, he has distributed over 150 hydroponic grow kits to 23 schools across five districts.

“I want to influence and improve children’s day-to-day lives,” says Rahul. “Farm to Tray is allowing me to do that and make a tangible impact for thousands of students.” Click here to continue reading article from September.


Houston utility provider gifts $100,000 for energy-efficient upgrades in Galveston

Galveston residents spend 14 percent more a month on electricity, and CenterPoint stepped in to help shrink that gap. Photo courtesy of Vision Galveston

As Texas bakes in scorching summertime heat, a new program has been rolled out in Galveston to provide free energy-efficiency upgrades of homes.

The program, a collaboration between the nonprofit Vision Galveston and Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, is designed to reduce energy consumption and cut utility bills through projects like HVAC tune-ups, as well as installation of ceiling insulation, LED light bulbs, solar screens, and low-flow showerheads.

The program launched July 13 with three CenterPoint customers, all residents of Galveston’s Old Central Carver Park neighborhood, receiving energy-efficiency upgrades. Click here to continue reading article from July.

Trending News

A View From HETI

Paul Froutan has been named COO of Enchanted Rock. Photo via Enchanted Rock

Houston-based Enchanted Rock, which provides dual-purpose microgrids, announced that Paul Froutan has been named COO.

Froutan joined Enchanted Rock in 2022 as the chief technology officer. He will replace Thais Grossi, who served in the role for nearly eight years.

Froutan previously led Google's Global Data Center Operations and was responsible for managing Google's worldwide data center and server operations. He also served as the vice president of engineering for Rackspace Hosting, and holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

“Since joining Enchanted Rock, I've been impressed with the team's vast knowledge of natural gas microgrids and how that has been applied to deliver both customer resiliency and financial value," Froutan says in a news release. "Taking the next step and bringing technology, EPC, and O&M together under one umbrella will further improve our innovation feedback loop, which benefits our customers and the communities that rely on our services."

In his previous role with the company, Froutan was responsible for GraniteEcoSystem, Enchanted Rock's microgrid management software, and the launch of the company's advanced natural gas generator initiative. Froutan will lead the product engineering, EPC, and operations and maintenance teams.

"Paul has helped take the technology and intelligence powering our solutions to the next level, and we are pleased that he has accepted this expanded role," Thomas McAndrew, CEO of Enchanted Rock, says in a news release. "His understanding of emerging technologies and operational excellence, paired with his extensive experience leading high-performing teams, make him an excellent choice to continue our commitment to deliver customer-focused solutions. We are also extremely grateful for Thais' dedication to the Enchanted Rock team and our customers."

Enchanted Rock's electrical microgrids use natural gas and renewable natural gas to help produce lower carbon emissions and air pollutants than diesel generators,and are capable of achieving resiliency with net-zero emissions. The company recently received a $2.1 million grant from the California Energy Commission for development of technology aimed at reducing greenhouse gasses and other natural gas emissions. Enchanted Rock will share the grant with the University of California Riverside, or UCR.

Trending News