Houston is moving the needle on low-carbon initiatives, as one panel agreed at the Center for Houston's Future's Low-Carbon Energy Innovation Summit.
The annual event, which is taking place virtually this year, was broken up into two days. The first installment focused on low-carbon markets on October 8. This week on October 15, the virtual programming will cover Houston's energy ecosystem.
While the day of low-carbon programming zeroed in on specifics within the subject, one panel zoomed out to check in on Houston's progress. Brett Perlman, president and CEO for the center for Houston's Future, moderated the discussion, which featured five energy experts. Here are some highlights from the panel.
“We’ve identified 200 companies in Houston that we would call energy 2.0 companies — solar, wind, energy stories, and other energy and clean tech companies. So, there’s already a lot happening.”
— Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership.
“While innovation and the energy transition are not the same thing, they are close cousins. Innovation is about change and new businesses and how they work with incumbent businesses, so when you think about the transition, you have to include both of them.”
— Barbara Burger, Chevron's vice president of innovation and president of Chevron Technology Ventures.
“Hurricane Harvey was a point where so much changed. Everything I do in my job changed. We went from climate being talked about discretely to something we can’t not talk about. It’s in every conversation whether we like it or not.”
— Lara Cottingham, chief of staff and chief sustainability officer for the city of Houston.
“This is a global challenge, but Houston is a global leader. We really want to be hands on and tackle this to keep Houston in that leadership role.”
— Cottingham continues.
“Houston has the engineering expertise and experience doing energy at scale. Frankly, we need that set of expertise at the table.”
— Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs, which recently expanded to Houston.
“We’d like to see 30 percent of new vehicle sales be electric vehicles by 2030. I think we’ll get there much sooner.”
— Chris George, president and executive director of EVolve Houston.
“Houston is very important and significant because of our relation to the port. Whether it’s looking at hydrogen trucking for long haul trips or looking at reducing logistics cost for manufacturing and assembly, Houston has everything to offer.”
— George continues.