Mayor's Office Press Release

Houston Climate Week Kicks Off with a Conversation on How to Make Houston the Clean Energy Capital of the World

August 24, 2020 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner kicked off the first day of Houston Climate Week with a virtual fireside chat with President and CEO of NRG Energy, Mauricio Gutierrez, on how Houston to make Houston a leader in renewable energy as part of the recently released Houston Climate Action Plan. Atul Arya, SVP of IHS Markit, moderated the discussion, which touched on Houston’s recent switch to 100% renewable energy as well as the importance of making renewable energy and electrified vehicle charging more available and affordable to communities across Houston.

“Henry David Thoreau once said there is no greater force than an idea whose time has come; I think that applies to this Climate Action Plan.  It is an idea whose time has come and I’m excited about it because it will help generations to come. To the extent that we can further electrify the marketplace, add additional options, reduce the carbon footprint, meet our goals much sooner than 2050, all of us will win and all of us will benefit," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "I don’t want to just talk about the energy capital of the world as if we were defending our title. I want us to continue to lead in this energy transition and I want us to be the global leader. I know these are the goals, but let’s see how quickly we can achieve these goals by working with people in the community, because it’s all about the people that we serve. They want this to happen, they don’t want us just to talk about it.  They want to see the results and they want to see the results soon because they are constantly having to prepare for these storms that are coming with greater frequency and intensity.”

“We understand that as one of the largest power companies or energy companies in the country, we have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint and have a meaningful impact in the fight against climate change.  For us as a company, that means reducing our carbon emissions by 50% by 2025 and achieving net zero by 2050. We are aligning not just with the vision of the communities where we work, but also with our customers," said Mauricio Gutierrez, President and CEO of NRG Energy. "This is the goal that our customers want, and this is the goal that we have as a company.  Here in Houston, you have hundreds of different options for your power provider—many of them are 100% solar, 100% wind. Take the time to exercise that right, because when you choose plans that are consistent with your beliefs and your values, it helps us, and it helps the city accelerate the energy transition that we have been talking about. Not just improving our communities and making them more healthy, but also modernizing the energy mix right here in Texas.”

“Houston Climate Week takes on a new meaning as we prepare for two storms approaching in the gulf,” said Lara Cottingham, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “We are thrilled to have nearly 2000 registrants for Houston Climate Week, but safety is everyone’s top priority. We are monitoring the situation and will be making all Houston Climate Week content available for future viewing.

The City’s Sustainability Office is hosting a virtual Houston Climate Week -- August 24-28 -- to launch the implementation phase of the Houston Climate Action Plan. All Houston Climate Week events are virtual, free, and open to the public. Visit www.houstonclimateweek.eventbrite.com or www.greenhoustontx.gov to register for events.

Tuesday, August 25: 
11am: Making Houston a Global Leader in Energy Innovation
1pm: Taking the Car Out of Carbon Emissions
3pm: Growing Climate Solutions: Green Infrastructure, Conservation, and Equity

Wednesday, August 26: 
11am: Less is More: Making Energy Efficient Equitable and Efficient
1pm: Reinventing Cities: Sunnyside Landfill Solar Farm
2pm: City of Houston Quality of Life Committee – Houston Climate Action Plan Presentation

Thursday, August 27: 
11am: 2020: The COVID-19, Climate, and Equity Connection
1pm: Texas Tough: Bringing EVs to Truck-Loving Texas

Friday, August 28: 
11am: How Green Buildings Can Drive the Energy Transition
1pm: Closing Session: Partnerships and Pathways to Decarbonize Cities

Houston Climate Week Kickoff Graphic