Houston Chronicle

Granholm optimistic after meeting

Energy secretary says tensions with feds have eased after she talked with execs here

- By Amanda Drane amanda.drane@houstonchr­onicle.com

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she felt “extremely hopeful” after a closeddoor roundtable meeting with energy executives in Houston.

“We’ve had some really good meetings that give me a lot of hope,” Granholm said.

The relationsh­ip between the Biden administra­tion and Houston’s energy executives grew tense last year as oil and gasoline prices surged in the wake of the war in Ukraine, but Granholm said those relationsh­ips have improved after a series of meetings over the last year.

“I hope that they’re saying the same thing,” she said. “Things have improved at the operationa­l level.”

While she declined to say who joined the Wednesday meeting, held on the sidelines of the annual CERAWeek by S&P Global conference downtown, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth confirmed to the Chronicle that he was part of the gathering.

Granholm said she was heartened to hear about the companies’ strategies to diversify into clean energies and to take advantage of tax credits available through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Granholm and Wirth met with the Chronicle separately during their visits to Houston, where Granholm delivered a keynote speech Wednesday as part of the CERAWeek conference. She said she was heartened, too, to see how much the conference has expanded to include clean energy.

“It has become, really, an energy conference and not just an oil and gas conference.”

Granholm said she took time this week to identify areas of the IRA that companies might not be aware of, such as clean energy credits that are stackable, meaning they can be used in combinatio­n with other credits. If a company makes the right moves, she said, it could get a tax credit up to 70 percent.

“To not take advantage of this moment,” she said, “their shareholde­rs might raise their eyebrows and say, why aren’t we given the incentives that are out there.”

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