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Reigniting the Midwest’s Tech-Energy Industry Through Startups

Gaining traction, energy investors are looking to bring new start-ups back to Oklahoma and the consortium is how they are going to do it. Below is a look at the future of renewable energy in Oklahoma, how investors and startups are reshaping the industry and the future of tech-energy diversification.

The world is striving to make positive changes toward a brighter, greener future. With the renewable energy market needing to step up its game, it presents the perfect opportunity for investment — and that’s exactly what the George Kaiser Family Foundation did.

Bolstered by a team of well-respected oil and gas companies, Kaiser is looking to boost tech-energy startups in Oklahoma, pushing the state ahead of the renewable energy curve.

About The Consortium

The group of key businesses hopes to bring around 2,000 jobs in the energy technology industry to the state within the next five to 10 years. 

From venture capital firms to non-profits, the consortium’s profound knowledge and experience in the industry will give startups everything they need to thrive. Some of the major players:

  • Devon Energy Corporation — The company primarily deals in the exploration, development, production, and transportation of oil and gas. Mainly in North America, the organization has midstream operations involving gas, NGLs, and crude oil. 
  • Williams Companies, Inc. — As an energy infrastructure business, it focuses its efforts on North America’s hydrocarbon resources. The company owns natural gas pipelines across the country, as well as gathering and processing assets for NGLs, olefins, and natural gas.
  • ONEOK, Inc. — The corporation is considered a diversified energy company, involving itself in the natural gas liquids and natural gas markets around the United States of America.
  • George Kaiser Family Foundation — Operating as a non-profit entity, this organization offers early childhood teaching, community health, social services, and neighborhood enhancement in the state of Oklahoma.
  • Tulsa Innovation Labs, LLC — Founded to make Tulsa a tech hub, TIL is led by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. It creates economic development programs that work toward its central goal. 

The $60 Million Investment to Reshape Oklahoma’s Tech-Energy Environment

At the time of writing, the dedicated team has invested a whopping $60 million. And according to experts in the space, they’re hoping to raise even more. 

The ultimate goal of the project is to bring startups to Tulsa and the surrounding areas to diversify economies so heavily entrenched in the oil and gas industries. 

The past ten years have proved financially difficult for many companies. Not only did the city suffer less-than-average economic growth, but all efforts to diversify the economy went unrealized. This consortium is a “mission critical for Tulsa’s future.”

But Many Towns Are Facing the Same Troubles

The towns’ economies that are tied to the peaks and troughs of oil and gas prices are finding saying hello to less revenue from the industry challenging.

Thousands upon thousands of jobs across the United States of America are hanging in the balance, along with over $138 billion generated yearly through taxes for local, state, tribal, and federal governments. 

The Main Research and Development Topics for The Area’s Budding Tech-Energy Businesses

Despite the challenges, tech startups will continue to be vital to Tulsa’s economy. However, the area will begin swinging to a more tech-based environment as the startups tackle research and development in three subsectors:

Energy Transition

The energy transition is the industry’s shift toward renewable energy sources like solar, lithium-ion batteries, and wind.

Oklahoma-based startups will look to develop new ways to drive the region toward the energy transition’s goal of decarbonization and greenhouse gas reduction. They’ll help the state commit to global warming initiatives through thorough, actionable research.

Emission Reductions

Aiding the energy transition, budding businesses involved with emission reductions will develop new and exciting ways to decarbonize. Whether that’s by increasing equipment’s energy efficiency, building numerous wind and solar plants, or creating navigable transmission networks, Oklahoma startups plan to figure it out.

Digital Applications

Others will target the technological side of things, devising software and solutions to revolutionize the oil and gas industry or reinvigorate traditional methods. Already, businesses are beginning to use the IoT for pipeline monitoring, RPA automation in processing, and AR in training.

Diversification for The State’s Technology Workers

As time passes, energy companies will likely evolve into technology businesses, requiring a myriad of talented individuals, a brand-new organizational structure, and very different R & D spending. 

Moreover, many are hoping for state-wide industry diversification. They want to see Oklahoma showcase a range of dedicated scientists, engineers, and tech experts to continue reshaping the region’s markets.

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