Here's what you need yo know this week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: It's a new week — start it strong with three quick things to know in Houston's energy transition ecosystem: Baker Hughes makes headlines for new hydrogen tech and grants, three people to know in energy, and more.

Who to know

Last week, EnergyCapital had three stories introducing you to key players within the energy transition:

  • Patrick Sullivan, president and of Hawaii-based Oceanit, explained the impact the company is having on the energy transition in Houston and beyond. Read more.
  • Ken Gilmartin, CEO of Wood, shared his company’s strategic mission for the future and their recent wins in the energy space that are driving the energy transition forward. Read more.
  • Tania Ortiz Mena was named president of Sempra Infrastructure, which is based in Houston. Read more.

What to attend

Here are two events not to miss this month. Photo via Getty Images

Put these upcoming events on your radar.

  • October 10-11 — SPRINT Robotics World Conference and Exhibition will show that many robots are in use and that the industry is accelerating and starting to scale. Learn more.
  • October 30-31 — Fuze is a must-attend event for executives, investors, and founders serious about solving the energy crisis and boosting company efficiency. Learn more.

Baker Hughes makes moves

Missed these storied about Baker Hughes? Photo courtesy of Baker Hughes

As you might have seen, Baker Hughes had two pieces of news last week.

Houston-based energy technology company Baker Hughes is rolling out two new products — pressure sensors for the hydrogen sector.

“Hydrogen plays a key role in the transition to a more sustainable, lower-emissions future but also poses challenges for infrastructure and equipment due to hydrogen embrittlement,” Gordon Docherty says. Read more.

Additionally, 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. Read more.

With 23 years within Sempra's family of companies, Tania Ortiz Mena has been named president of Sempra Infrastructure, which is based in Houston. Photo via Sempra

Houston-based subsidiary co. focused on clean energy names new president

newly appointed

A Houston-based arm of Sempra that's dedicated to delivering clean energy alternatives has named a new leader within its organization.

This week, Sempra Infrastructure announced Tania Ortiz Mena as its president. The company, which is a subsidiary of San Diego, California-based Sempra (NYSE: SRE), works within clean power, energy networks, and LNG, as well as other net-zero solutions.

In her new role, Ortiz Mena will lead all three of these business lines.

"Tania's extensive experience and exemplary leadership will continue to drive our growth strategy and commitment to facilitate a responsible energy transition, guided by our vision of delivering energy for a better world," Justin Bird, CEO of Sempra Infrastructure, says in a news release. "I am confident that Tania's vast expertise will continue to position Sempra Infrastructure as a champion of innovative energy solutions."

Before this promotion, Ortiz Mena served as group president of clean power and energy networks at the company. She has worked within Sempra's family of companies for 23 years and previously served as CEO of IEnova. Prior to that, she was IEova's chief development officer and vice president of development and external affairs.

In addition to her roles at Sempra, Ortiz Mena serves as independent board member of the Mexican Stock Exchange and as president of its Corporate Practices Committee. Also a member of the US-Mexico CEO Dialogue and adviser for the Mexican Natural Gas Association, she serves on the board of directors of several organizations including the American Chamber of Commerce Mexico, the Mexican Natural Gas Association and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations.

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Houston's energy industry deemed both a strength and weakness on global cities report

mixed reviews

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.

New collaboration to build data center microgrid in Houston

coming soon

Two companies are teaming up to build a natural gas microgrid in Houston that will reduce emissions by 98 percent.

Provider of prime and backup power solutions RPower has teamed up with Houston’s ViVaVerse Solutions to build a 17-megawatt (MW) microgrid at the ViVa Center campus in Houston, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

The microgrid plans to employ ultra-low emissions and natural gas generators to deliver Resiliency-as-a-Service (RaaS), and this will connect to ViVaVerse's colocation data center operations during utility outages.

RPower will also deploy the microgrid across different ERCOT market programs, which will contribute to assist with essential capacity and ancillary services for the local grid. ERCOT has increased its use of renewable energy in recent years, but still has faced criticism for unstable conditions. The microgrids can potentially assist ERCOT, and also help cut back on emissions.

“RPower's pioneering microgrid will not only deliver essential N+1 resiliency to our data center operations but will also contribute to the local community by supplying necessary capacity during peak demand periods when the electric grid is strained,” Eduardo Morales, CEO of ViVaVerse Solutions and Morales Capital Group, says in a news release.

ViVaVerse Solutions will be converting the former Compaq Computer/HPE headquarters Campus into an innovative technology hub called the ViVa Center, which will host the High-Performance Computing Data Center, and spaces dedicated to mission critical infrastructure and technical facilities . The hub will host 200 data labs.

“We are thrilled to partner with ViVaVerse to deploy this `first of its kind' microgrid solution in the data center space,” Jeff Starcher, CEO of RPower, adds. “Our natural gas backup generation system delivers the same reliability and performance as traditional diesel systems, but with a 98 percent reduction in emissions. Further, the RPower system provides critical grid services and will respond to the volatility of renewable generation, further enabling the energy transition to a carbon free future.”