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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new Houston-based VC firm called Energy Transition Ventures emerged from stealth mode Tuesday and plans to reach $75 million for its first fund.

Why it matters: It's another sign of how Texas, the nation's largest oil producing state, is increasingly becoming a hub for clean energy innovation.

  • ETV says they're the "first venture fund in Texas exclusively dedicated to investing in energy transition technologies."

The big picture: ETV will target early stage North American startups focused on distributed energy, electrification, mobility, and resource efficiency.

  • “Texas is the energy capital of the world, and outside of corporate venture capital, there are not many venture funds in the state,” co-founder Craig Lawrence said in a release.
  • Lawrence said he expects their portfolio to include Texas-based companies.
  • "Texas is in the early days of building an energy-transition startup ecosystem, and we plan to be a central part of growing that sector," he tells Axios.

Details: The "anchor" investment is from two subsidiaries of Korean conglomerate GS Group, including their California-based GS Futures VC arm.

  • The new firm is headed by energy VC and startup veterans. Lawrence was with Accel Partners during the first cleantech boom and also brings solar sector experience.
  • Neal Dikeman has worked for Shell's corporate VC arm, helped launch the Bay Area firm Jane Capital and has co-founded several startups.

What we're watching: Lawrence tells Axios they plan to work with the energy transition efforts of major oil-and-gas companies and other Texas energy firms.

  • "We will bring them startups that may be relevant to their businesses, and co-invest in startups with them when it makes sense," he said.

Go deeper

Inside Biden's Taiwan flubs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twice this year, President Biden has blurted out commitments that the U.S. is prepared to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion — forcing the White House to walk back his statements and leading to confusion over a high-stakes national security policy.

Why it matters: U.S. defense officials have publicly aired their concerns that China will take Taiwan by force in the next four to six years, perhaps sooner. The president's position on this question may soon have real-world, life and death consequences.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.