seeing green

Houston energy company launches program focused on renewables and green hydrogen

EDP Renewables has launched its second iteration of its clean energy innovation program. Photo courtesy of EDP

EDP Renewables, whose North American division is based in Houston, has launched the second module of its Energy Starter 2022 program.

EDP Renewables launched the first module in May; it dealt with the future of energy distribution. Applications for startups seeking to join the second module are being accepted until September 30. The second module focuses on innovations in renewable energy and green hydrogen.

Next year, the third and final modules will focus on decarbonization.

Companies selected for the second module will attend a bootcamp in Houston where they, in partnership with EDP Renewables experts, will develop their ideas and work on pilot projects. After the current four-phase edition of the program ends, startups will be able to test their innovations in the U.S., Brazil, Portugal, or Spain.

During the six editions of Energy Starter, the more than 150 participating startups have sealed over 80 deals, including equity investments and pilot projects. The most recent edition of Energy Starter attracted over 700 applicants.

Earlier this year, EDP Ventures, the venture capital arm of EDP Renewables North America’s parent company, pledged to double its investments in startups pursuing energy transition technology and services.

EDP Ventures says its VC commitment is climbing from 45 million euros (about $45 million) already invested in the past decade to a total of 100 million euros by 2025. EDP Ventures plans to allocate as much as 10 million euros per startup.

“As the electricity sector moves at unprecedented speed, we want to work with the most promising startups, with a clear focus on projects that represent growth opportunities. The coming years will be challenging for the energy transition, and we want to face them with the best ideas on a global level,” says Ana Paula Marques, CEO of EDP Spain, a subsidiary of Lisbon, Portugal-based energy company EDP Group.

Houston-based EDP Renewables North America is part of Madrid, Spain-based EDP Renewables, the world’s fourth largest producer of renewable energy. It’s investing 1 billion euros in innovation efforts by 2025. EDP Group is the majority shareholder of EDP Renewables.

The Houston division builds, owns, and operates wind farms and solar parks throughout North America. EDP Renewables North America oversees 58 wind farms and nine solar parks.

Among the nine solar parks is the $280 million, 240-megawatt Cattlemen Solar Park in Milam County, between the Austin metro area and Bryan-College Station. The park is scheduled to start generating electricity next year. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, recently signed a long-term, 156-megawatt power deal with EDP Renewables North America.

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Building Houston

 
 

McKinsey has set up a decarbonization hub in its Houston office, at 609 Main St. Photo via Getty Images

Management consulting giant McKinsey & Co. plans to spend $100 million over the next decade to pump up Houston’s decarbonization economy.

McKinsey says the initiative will, among other things, focus on:

  • Promoting innovations like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and green hydrogen
  • Revamping business models for carbon-heavy companies
  • Ramping up the community of local startups involved in energy transition
  • Developing talent to work on decarbonization

As part of this program, McKinsey has set up a decarbonization hub in its Houston office, at 609 Main St.

“Decarbonization will lead to a new chapter of economic development, while also addressing a critical problem of climate change,” McKinsey partner Nikhil Ati says.

Global decarbonization efforts over the next three decades will require a $100 trillion investment, according to Utility Dive. Houston, home to 40 percent of publicly traded oil and gas companies, stands to gain a substantial share of that opportunity.

McKinsey’s Houston office has worked for several years on Houston’s energy transition initiatives. For instance, the firm helped produce a study and a whitepaper on energy transition here. The whitepaper outlines Houston’s future as the “epicenter of a global clean hydrogen hub.”

“Texas is the nation’s largest renewable energy producer, home to half of the nation’s hydrogen pipelines, and its companies have unparalleled capabilities in building and operating complex projects,” McKinsey senior partner Filipe Barbosa says. “This is Houston’s moment in time on the global stage.”

McKinsey estimates a Houston-based global hub for clean hydrogen that’s in place by 2050 could generate 180,000 jobs and create an economic impact of $100 billion.

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