Texas will make up 35 percent of new utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. this year. Photo via Getty Images

On a state-by-state basis, Texas will account for the biggest share of new utility-scale solar capacity and new battery storage capacity in 2024, a new federal report predicts.

The report, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), says Texas will make up 35 percent of new utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. this year, followed by California (10 percent) and Florida (six percent).

In 2024, EIA expects a record-setting addition of 36.4 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity across the U.S., nearly double last year’s record-setting addition of 18.4 gigawatts. One gigawatt of electric-generating capacity can power an average of 750,000 homes.

“As the effects of supply chain challenges and trade restrictions ease, solar continues to outpace capacity additions from other generating resources,” the report states.

Meanwhile, a new report from the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and the Frontier Group found that Texas ranks third in the U.S. for residential solar power generation. Residential solar power generation in Texas grew 646 percent from 2017 through 2022, according to the report.

A February 2023 poll conducted by the University of Houston indicated that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Texas homeowners are somewhat or very interested in buying a solar energy system.

“Texas is already soaking up the benefits of rooftop solar,” says Luke Metzger, executive director of the Environment Texas center. “With federal tax credits in place to boost solar adoption in Texas, now is the time to lean in. Every sunny roof without solar panels is a missed opportunity.”

In addition to a spike in utility-scale solar, the EIA report forecasts Texas will lead the way this year in the addition of battery storage capacity, with the expected addition of 6.4 gigawatts. In second place is California, with an expected 5.2 gigawatts of new battery storage capacity. The two states will make up 82 percent of new U.S. battery storage capacity in 2024, says the report.

The federal agency predicts 14.3 gigawatts of U.S. battery storage capacity will be tacked on this year to the existing 15.5 gigawatts.

Overall, EIA anticipates solar will make up 58 percent of all new utility-scale electric-generating capacity this year in the U.S., followed by battery storage at 23 percent.

Five of Plus Power's projects received financing from nearly a dozen financial partners. Photo courtesy of Plus Power

Houston renewable energy storage developer secures $1.8B in financing

money moves

A Houston company that develops standalone battery energy storage systems has reportedly secured $1.8 billion in new financing for a handful of ongoing projects — most of which are in Texas.

"Over the last year, Plus Power has raised an unparalleled amount of capital for standalone storage projects from a wide range of leading energy project finance banks and investors," Josh Goldstein, CFO of Plus Power, says in a news release. "This capital will support the ongoing buildout of the largest and most diverse portfolio of standalone storage projects in the U.S. The scale highlights our first-mover advantage in bringing high-quality projects to market as well as the tremendous work by our fantastic team."

The funding will be distributed to the following projects, which are expected to have a total of 1,040 megawatts of capacity, according to the release:

  • The 250-megawatt Sierra Estrella Energy Storage facility in Avondale, Arizona, west of Phoenix will use $707 million of the financing — $202 million of tax equity and a $505 million construction, term loan, and letter of credit facility from Bank of America. Expected to deliver by summer of next year, the 11-acre facility will be the largest to date for a standalone energy storage project, according to Plus Power.
  • $212.2 million of tax equity financing from Foss & Company, as well as $276 million of construction and term financing, for the 300 MW / 600 MWh Rodeo Ranch Energy Storage facility in Pecos.
  • $196 million of construction and term financing for the 200 MW / 400 MWh Ebony Energy Storage facility in Comal County, northeast of San Antonio.
  • $200 million of construction and term financing for the 200 MW / 400 MWh Anemoi Energy Storage facility in Hidalgo County, on the Mexican border northwest of Matamoros.
  • $196 million construction, term loan and letter of credit facility for the 90 MW / 360 MWh Superstition Energy Storage project in Gilbert, southeast of Phoenix.

The $884 million committed to three new standalone storage facilities in Texas bring Plus Power's current ERCOT portfolio to 800 MW. Deutsche Bank and First Citizens Bank were the coordinating lead arrangers, per the news release.

"Plus Power is a market leader in the battery energy storage sector and we are honored to have collaborated with them on these breakthrough financings," Jeremy Eisman, managing director and head of Infrastructure & Energy Financing at Deutsche Bank, says in a statement. "We acknowledge the important role that battery storage plays in ensuring a clean and reliable electric grid and look forward to continuing to support the Plus Power team's continued growth in this sector."

Plus Power's portfolio includes large-scale lithium-ion battery systems across 25 states and Canada. The company reports that three of the projects will be completed before next year's summer heat rolls back in.

Originally founded in San Francisco in 2018, Plus Power moved its HQ to Houston last year. The company recently signed a lease for nearly 7,000 square feet at Three Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. The company previously was based in coworking space at the Rayford Office Park in Spring.

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ExxonMobil adds energy transition leader, investor to board

all aboard

An energy transition expert and investor has joined Houston-headquartered ExxonMobil Corp.’s board of directors.

Maria Jelescu Dreyfus is CEO and founder of Ardinall Investment Management, which is an investment firm that works in “sustainable investing and resilient infrastructure.”

She previously spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs as a portfolio manager and managing director in the Goldman Sachs Investment Partners Group that focused on energy, industrials, transportation and infrastructure investments across the capital structure.

She currently serves as a director on the board of Cadiz Inc. and on the board of CDPQ. She also works in the energy transition space as a director on several companies' boards.

“We welcome Maria to the ExxonMobil Board as the company executes its strategy to grow shareholder value by playing a critical role in a lower-emissions future, even as we continue to provide the reliable energy and products the world needs,” Joseph Hooley, lead independent director for Exxon Mobil Corporation, says in a news release. “Her deep financial background combined with her extensive work in sustainability will complement our Board’s existing skill set.”

Dreyfus is the vice chair of the advisory board of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, and serves as co-chair of its Women in Energy program.

“With the close of our Pioneer merger, we gained a premier, tier-one Permian asset, exceptional talent and a new Board member who brings keen strategic insight,” says ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods in the release. “Our boardroom, shareholders and stakeholders will greatly benefit from Maria’s experience.”

Houston company teams up with offshore partner to level up decarbonization innovation

in it together

Two companies have teamed up on decarbonization efforts and made their relationship official at Houston's Offshore Technology Conference last week.

ABS and Seatrium signed a three-year Technology Collaboration Agreement at OTC, which expands on "their long running partnership on cutting-edge marine and technology projects," per a news release.

The agreement is entitled “Accelerating Decarbonization and Energy Transition,” and covers collaboration on technologies that fall under four broad themes: decarbonization, electrification, new energies and digital transformation.

“Together, ABS and Seatrium have a remarkable history of pioneering the technological frontiers in the marine and offshore industries,” says Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS chairman and CEO, says in a release. "Our shared vision for the future, combined with our twin cultures of innovation and collaboration mean we are well placed to safely deliver the rapid technological advance our industry needs if we are to meet emissions targets and capitalize on the opportunities offered by decarbonization and digitalization."

The agreement is intended to support commercialization across the four identified themes.

“Seatrium is making significant strides in our visionary approach to engineering a sustainable, low-carbon energy future. This progress is achievable through pivotal industry collaborations with organizations like ABS," Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, adds. "We are more than just partners; we are natural allies united by a shared mission and driven by a powerful vision for a sustainable future.

"ABS and Seatrium have achieved great successes through our previous collaborations, and we are committed to harnessing our distinct strengths and capabilities to push the boundaries and transform the way we approach decarbonization, energy transition, and digital transformation,” he continues.

ABS, a 150-year-old marine and offshore energy innovation company, is headquartered in the Houston area. Seatrium, which is headquartered in Singapore, was recognized by ABS as the first shipyard group to deploy smart technologies in its operations.

From events to a $1.5B deal, here are 3 things to know in Houston energy transition news

take note

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a really big deal from last week, an expert's opinion on sustainability strategy, and events not to miss.

Really big deal: Houston energy transition growth capital firm closes $1.5B fund

EnCap Energy Transition's Fund II, or EETF II, was created to invest in solutions to decarbonize the power industry, and invest in low carbon fuels and carbon management. This second energy transition fund follows EnCap Energy Transition Fund I, a $1.2 billion fund that deployed capital to seven material portfolio company investments and four fund realizations with Broad Reach Power, Jupiter Power, Triple Oak, and Paloma Solar & Wind.

Previously, the company made investment commitments to five portfolio companies through EETF II, including Bildmore Renewables, Linea Energy, Parliament Solar, Power Transitions, and Arbor Renewable Gas. EnCap expects to have 8 to 10 portfolio companies in EETF II in total.

"The EnCap Energy Transition team is proud to have raised a sizeable pool of capital to continue to invest in the opportunity created by the shift to a lower-carbon energy system,” EnCap Energy Transition Managing Partner Jim Hughes says in a news release. Read more about the deal.

Guest column: Why companies are investing in sustainable energy technology

As senior vice president of Enchanted Rock, a Houston-based provider of microgrid technology, Ken Cowan has seen how energy resilience has emerged as a key strategy for businesses across industries, as he writes in a guest column for InnovationMap.

"Executives must recognize the strategic imperative of investing in resilient energy infrastructure like microgrid systems, which can provide a competitive advantage against organizations that do not have similar measures in place," he writes. "In doing so, they can navigate uncertainty with confidence, set their business up for future success, and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before."

In the piece, he explores the value proposition and other benefits to making these changes. Click here to read more.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

  • The 2024 KPMG Global Energy Conference is taking place Wednesday, May 15, at the Post Oak Hotel. The event will focus on areas such as capital investment, mergers and acquisitions, risk and resiliency, technology, and human capital. Register now.
  • The Clean Energy Security and Reliability Forum is co-located with the 2024 RE+ Texas on May 15 to 16. This conference will bring together leading experts to discuss regulatory frameworks and technological innovations that can ensure that solar and energy storage projects are the most secure and reliable source of electricity generation on the U.S. grid. Register now.
  • The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit is coming to Houston June 10 to 12. Join for the ultimate event in the world for UAVs, Robotics & Data/AI, 3D Reality Capture, Geospatial and Digital Twins focused on the business and technology in energy & industrial operations, inspections, maintenance, surveying & mapping. Register now.
  • Join the over 150 senior energy and utilities leaders from June 17 to 18 in Houston for AI in Energy to unlock the potential of AI within your enterprise and delve into key areas for its development.Register now.