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Houston Chronicle: In Oil Capital Houston, Leaders Are Pushing For a Renewable Future. What Will It Look Like?

Posted by Erin Douglas on Sep 21, 2020

The Houston Chronicle reported on the debate about what the energy transition means for Houston's identity, referencing TAEBA's Texas jobs analysis. Read excerpts below and the entire Houston Chronicle piece here.

Houston wants to be the renewable capital of the world. Or, the clean tech capital. Or the energy transition capital. Or maybe the Energy 2.0 capital. It depends on whom you ask...

But while those invested in the energy transition — oil and gas companies, their lobbyists, renewables executives, city leaders — say Houston can lead that charge to a low-carbon economy, few agree on what the transition will look like.

Renewable-energy executives, for example, touted the efforts of startups and entrepreneurs as the best chance for a successful transition, arguing that oil and gas won’t be the leaders...

BP America’s Chairman and President David Lawler, however, said during climate week that a low-carbon future would include a mix of energy sources, emphasizing the importance of partnering with oil companies to achieve emissions goals...

Industry groups say the world will need oil and gas for a long time. They point to projections that to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals of the Paris Climate Accord, oil and gas technology such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, which reduce greenhouse emissions from oil production, will be necessary...

But while the majority of renewable power generation may not happen in city limits, Houston’s large industrial center and large energy talent pool could help it attract renewable energy company headquarters, industry experts said.

Most “advanced energy” jobs, or jobs that aid the transition of the energy sector to cleaner sources, in the state are based in Harris County, according to an analysis by the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance. More than 61,000 are employed in advanced energy in Harris County, compared with 37,500 in Dallas County and 18,400 in the Travis County area around Austin.

That employment base could further expand, experts said, if renewable-energy companies can make deals with Houston’s manufacturers, who represent 17 percent of the region’s economy, according to the Greater Houston Partnership...

But some say that California’s renewable energy policies, which have accelerated the transition from fossil fuels, offer a warning for the oil and gas industry and the city of Houston.

“If we want to be the leader, we have to choose to be the leader,” Clark said. “We should want to be the energy capital of the word regardless of the energy type.”

Read the entire Houston Chronicle piece here.

Topics: AEE In The News