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Why Rice University is 'deeply connected' to Houston's energy industry

Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business, shares how the school is intrinsically and intentionally linked to the Houston energy community. Photo courtesy Annie Tao/Rice University

Houston is known as the energy capital of the world, and the industry is ingrained into Rice University's DNA — especially the university's business school.

"We are deeply connected — and have been for a long time," says Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. "One of the five pillars of our strategy is to be the leading business school in the country for the studying and the advancement for the energy transition and decarbonization of the economy. We think we can be the premiere school for training people for this rapidly evolving field of energy and to promulgate great research."

One of the recent way the school has connect its student body to the Houston business community is through its recent Rice Energy Finance Summit, which took place last month. The student-led program has been ongoing for 15 years and gives students a chance to work with business leaders in the energy sector.

"It's aimed at something that's increasingly important now, which is thinking about energy transition and how do you really navigate the process," Rodriguez says. "It's an incredibly complex organization of many disprite units and government to pull off — and the finance side of that is particularly challenging."

This year, Rodriguez says the event had a packed house and even some wrap-around events, including a pitch competition. And he expects next year to be a continuation of that success.

Rodriguez shares more about what he's accomplished in his tenure as dean on the Houston Innovators Podcast.


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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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A View From HETI

Empact Technologies announced a multi-year agreement with Ampliform, which originates, builds, develops, and operates utility-scale solar and solar plus storage projects. Photo courtesy of Empact

Houston company's Inflation Reduction Act compliance management software has scored a new partner.

Empact Technologies announced a multi-year agreement with Ampliform, which originates, builds, develops, and operates utility-scale solar and solar plus storage projects. The Empact platform uses a combination of software and services to ensure projects meet IRS regulatory requirements, which focus on wage and apprenticeship, domestic content, and energy and low-income community incentives. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed

Empact will partner specifically with Ampliform’s project Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) firms, subcontractors, and key suppliers of steel and iron products. In addition, they will work through a project’s life cycle for EPC’s solar modules, trackers, and inverters to manage prevailing wage & apprenticeship, domestic content, and other tax incentive qualification and compliance.

“The team at Ampliform had the leadership and foresight to recognize the significant risks of IRA non-compliance and the need to have third party compliance management in place prior to construction kick-off," Charles Dauber, CEO and founder of Empact, says in a news release. We look forward to helping Ampliform fully leverage the IRA tax incentives to develop and build their project development pipeline.”

Ampliform has approximately 700MW of projects in short-term development. Ampliform also plans 3GW of projects in its development pipeline. Ampliform’s future expansion plans exceed more than 13GWdc in total. Empact will manage the IRA compliance for these projects. According to a Goldman Sachs report, the IRA is estimated to provide $1.2 trillion of incentives by 2032.

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