Published Sep 08, 2020 by Lou Ann Duvall
Houston is home to several key Energy 2.0 developments of new and existing components of the industry (see a few of the major 2020 announcements here).
Jose Beceiro joined the Partnership earlier this year to accelerate those efforts. As the Senior Director of Global Energy 2.0, Beceiro is focused on building the future energy economy for the Houston region, which includes recruiting new cleantech, renewable energy, and energy technology companies; launching new strategic initiatives on carbon management, energy storage, and smart cities innovation; and developing new networking and programming events to bring the energy 2.0 ecosystem together.
Beceiro's expertise includes clean energy project development, site selection, university research collaboration, economic development strategy, and corporate business development. He previously worked in the cleantech and economic development industries in Austin for 15 years, most recently as the Director of Corporate Relations for Energy and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin.
On a quarterly basis, Beceiro will share the latest developments in Houston's Energy 2.0 space. Here are a few takeaways of what's happening in this area now.
What are some of the current trends you are seeing and how do you see Houston well positioned to lead the global energy transition?
Houston is leading the global energy transition in several ways. First, Houston is developing a robust startup ecosystem dedicated to the incubation of new energy 2.0 startups, including:
Within the oil and gas industry itself, there are also a growing number of energy corporate venture arms, including Shell Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures. Halliburton and BP America also have such extensions that are supporting new cleantech startups.
There's also the bold and aggressive goals outlined in the City of Houston's Climate Action Plan, which will guide the sustainability and resiliency mission for the Houston region for decades. This particular effort strives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead the global energy transition.
Our Top Tier universities are also leading exciting developments in the Energy 2.0 space.
Rice University’s Business Plan Competition, the largest graduate-level student startup competition devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, is reaching a global audience to elevate student-led energy startups. Rice is also home to the Baker Institute's Soil Carbon Storage program. It's a working group to develop a United States protocol for paying ranchers and farmers to store carbon in their soil.
The University of Houston is leading several areas, including in energy storage as well as superconductivity with the Texas Center for Superconductivity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious disruption in economies across the globe. What kind of impact has it had on emerging startups and the technology sector overall?
The global pandemic has accelerated the development and adoption of new energy technology solutions. The global energy transition is already a decade in progress, but the combined disruption of declining oil/gas prices with declining demand for oil and gas products and services during the pandemic has led to an increased demand for renewable energy and new digital technologies that can be applied to existing oil/gas production processes. For example, major tech companies such as Amazon, Google Cloud, and Microsoft are opening new offices in Houston to serve the energy industry with cloud computing and data analytics technology solutions. These new digital technologies are designed to increase efficiency, productivity, and automation while also lowering emissions of oil and gas production.
Additionally, with the increased demand for digitization, the oil and gas sector is quickly transitioning its culture, green social agenda, and workforce recruitment strategies in order to attract more technical skills within the millennial workforce, as well as prioritizing investments into new cleantech startup companies, including Halliburton Labs, BP America, Chevron Ventures and Shell Technology Ventures.
Are there any promising technologies or opportunities in the energy industry that you think will accelerate the global energy transition?
The increased deployment of energy storage technologies will have a disproportionate positive impact on the future energy economy. With large energy storage development projects coming online, such as Broad Reach Power and Key Capture Energy, the ability to produce electricity from 100 percent renewable energy will become reality.
Additionally, with consumer preferences quickly switching to electric vehicles, the demand for more electric vehicle charging infrastructure and renewable energy will increase while demand for oil and gas will continue to decrease. The shift to electric vehicles is clearly seen with major automotive companies committing to follow Tesla’s lead by introducing 100 percent electric vehicle models and phasing out traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in the coming decade. Given that transportation is responsible for 70% of global oil consumption, the shift to electric vehicles by every major automotive company will dramatically alter the global energy landscape and demand for oil/gas products and services. For example, BP America recently announced that they will decrease oil and gas production by 40 percent and increase energy 2.0 investments from $500 million to $5 billion annually over the next decade.