The following blog post includes a series of interviews called "In the Spotlight" which follows some of EVolve Houston’s founding member organizations discussing the latest developments of our region’s journey to electrify transportation.
This week EVolve Houston spoke with David Owen, Transportation Electrification Manager at CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP), about CenterPoint Energy’s efforts to steer Houston towards clean transportation and sustainable energy use. Over the last decade, CenterPoint Energy has focused on reducing its carbon footprint. Its eMobility program delivers more than 200 million miles of electric driving every year through its advanced grid program. Additionally, CenterPoint Energy is continuing to grow its electric fleet helping Houston get closer to achieving its goal of 30% of annual new car sales to be electric by 2030.
At CenterPoint Energy, David Owen plays a significant role in advancing the company's efforts in clean energy and eMobility. We asked David to tell us a bit about himself and his role.
Q: How does your role help Houston improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?
David: I lead the Clean Air Technologies (CAT) Program, which was developed in 2005, and focuses on promoting the electrification of various technologies in the Greater Houston area. In recent years, the CAT Program’s efforts have been primarily focused on electric forklifts and pipeline compression motors. Since its inception, the program has been hugely successful with over 5,500 electric forklifts installed thereby reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 9,953 tons and reducing carbon dioxide by 69,000 tons. In addition, CenterPoint Energy’s motors program has resulted in reducing nitrous oxide emissions by over 7,000 tons.
Q: How is CenterPoint Energy advancing electric vehicle adoption in Houston?
David: CenterPoint Energy is leading by example as we deploy electric vehicles within our fleet. We initially purchased six Chevrolet Volts in 2011 to demonstrate CenterPoint Energy’s leadership in advancing electric vehicles to other fleets and the general public. Since that time, we have purchased more EVs as newer models are released that fit into our operation.
This was followed by CenterPoint Energy’s announcement in September 2020 to replace 50 percent of current electric-operations light-duty fleet vehicles, (this includes cars, vans, and sport utility vehicles) with EVs by 2025, and 100 percent by 2030. In addition, 5 percent of electric-operations heavy-duty vehicles will be replaced by 2025 and 10 percent by 2030. As the market evolves, emission reduction goals for all classes of vehicles will be re-evaluated.
Q: What has your experience been like working with EVolve Houston?
David: I think the biggest value of EVolve Houston is its ability to convene diverse stakeholders all with the single goal of advancing transportation electrification.
You can read more about CenterPoint Energy and its work by visiting its website.
About EVolve Houston
EVolve Houston is a coalition of sustainability-minded civic, business, and academic leaders who seek to accelerate clean transportation through electrification. Collaborating with government, academic, private industry, and community leaders, our goal is to improve regional air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Greater Houston area. In addition to overseeing and tracking the implementation of the actions set forth in the Electric Vehicle Roadmap, EVolve Houston works alongside civic, industry, and academic institutions to advance electric vehicle awareness, availability, and affordability.