I was as surprised as you were if you read Tuesday's Wall Street Journal Energy Report article on Houston becoming a leading alternative energy city.
Basically, the article describes how Houston has all the necessary ingredients to become to alternative energy what Boston is to Biotech. First - Houston has the major corporations to invest in and nurture the energy startups. It already has a number of emerging technology companies spanning the green energy spectrum - from Horizon Wind Energy to a number of biofuel players. The Houston area's universities provide the research expertise while green friendly government regulations and availability of specialized law and investment firms provide the support structure that is necessary for a flourishing technology hub.
People often wonder why Pittsburgh cannot become a major player in biotech, well, we have two powerhouse universities and a top notch medical center (U. of Pitt Med Center) but the industry does not have enough support from the major corporations or the local investment capital required to grow Pittsburgh from a mid to a top tier biotechnology cluster.
Anyways, I digress. If you look at the following highlights from the WSJ article, its pretty clear that Houston is on its way. In the future, when "H-town" is the topic of conversation, will we think of alternative energy before we think of the oil industry, "Kenny Boy" Lay and the Enron debacle, or the ridiculous number of sprawling highways and strip clubs? Maybe not, but if only a small number of these energy ventures pan out it would go a long way in making Houston a true "clutch city."
• BIG COMPANIES