teaming up

Houston energy storage company forms $10M partnership to enhance storage in ERCOT region

Quidnet Energy has entered into a strategic partnership with Hunt Energy Network, and the two Texas companies will work on a build-transfer program for 300 MW of storage projects in Texas. Photo via quidnetenergy.com

A Houston-based company that's developing long-duration energy storage solutions announced a $10 million investment and partnership with a Texas corporation.

Quidnet Energy has entered into a strategic partnership with Hunt Energy Network, an affiliate of Dallas-based Hunt Energy that develops and operates distributed energy resources. The two Texas companies will work on a build-transfer program for 300 MW of storage projects that uses Quidnet's Geomechanical Energy Storage technology in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid operating region.

“Hunt Energy Network brings an extensive and proven track record across diverse energy businesses, making them an ideal partner to address the need for large-scale, long-duration energy storage in Texas,” Joe Zhou, CEO of Quidnet Energy, says in a news release. “We’re thrilled to have them as an investor, partner, and board member, and we look forward to jointly advancing the deployment of energy storage solutions, particularly in regions like ERCOT where the need is most pressing.”

Todd Benson, the chief innovation officer of Hunt Energy, will join Quidnet's board of directors as a part of the partnership.

“Quidnet Energy's GES technology presents a unique opportunity to revolutionize energy storage, and we’re excited to invest in a solution that purposefully transforms existing resources to expand access to long-duration storage,” adds Pat Wood, III, CEO of HEN. “ERCOT's growing supply of renewable energy makes this region ideal for the deployment of our technology, and we’re pleased to work with another Texas innovator to build a more resilient grid for all ERCOT customers.”

Quidnet’s technology, which can provide over 10 hours of storage, uses drilling and hydropower machinery to store renewable energy. Essentially, the company, founded in 2013, is using water storage to power carbon-free electric grid approach to energy.

One year ago, Quidnet secured $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E. Just a few months after that, the company received an additional $2 million from the DOE for its project, entitled "Energy Storage Systems for Overpressure Environments," which is taking place in East Texas.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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