Entrpreneurs looking to start their own energy companies in Texas may think first about the oil industry. The oil industry is so deeply ingrained in 20th century Texas history that the barriers to entry are high. Texas investors, venture capitalists and business owners are looking at alternative energies to make money in the state's energy industry. Alternative energy advocates like T. Boone Pickens use the state's abundant lands and resources to make money from natural gas, solar, wind and geothermal energy. Your Texas energy company must start by gathering the right personnel and information to locate power sources for the next generation.
Follow the four-step registration process for new businesses administered by the Texas Secretary of State. Your energy business needs to define whether its a partnership or corporation, get an employer identification number (EIN), register with the state's Department of Revenue and get employee information for payroll purposes. This process will help you operate legally and ensure that your company name and logo are protected under copyright laws.
File for applicable licenses and permits from the Texas Committee on Environmental Quality. This state agency issues air quality permits, mineral extraction licenses and underground storage variances needed to operate legally in Texas.
Approach venture capital firms based in Texas to get funding for the initial stages of your energy business. Focus on venture firms like Houston-based Sternhill Partners that provide capital for businesses in the early (seed) stages of development.
Seek membership with one of the state's energy associations to gain access to resources and valuable connections. Oil and natural gas companies in Texas have been organizing under the Texas Oil and Gas Association since 1919. Solar panel producers, wind turbine companies and hybrid car developers can work within the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association to push alternative fuel in the state legislature.
Purchase empty lots near your headquarters for testing new products and extracting natural resources. Your testing area should be large enough to handle solar panels, a small group of wind turbines and monitoring equipment to collect energy production. An energy company can build a sample home connected to a geothermal heating and cooling system for demonstration purposes.
Recruit energy experts, interns and prospective employees for your energy business from Texas universities and colleges. The University of Texas-Austin has a Solar Energy Laboratory used by students and professors to study the potential for solar energy in residential and commercial settings. The University of Houston's Energy and Natural Resources research cluster may be a good area to find academic support for your Texas energy company.
Check out the State Energy Conservation Office's (SECO) website weekly to find funding and demonstration announcements throughout Texas. SECO lists state and federal funding opportunities for non-profits, businesses and government agencies working toward responsible energy usage. Your business may find funding for public education and demonstration projects in Texas by working with SECO from day one.
Cater to the underserved areas of Texas as your energy business begins production and distribution. Eastern and central Texas cities like Dallas, Houston and Austin are already served by major energy companies that are well established in those metro areas. Focus on El Paso, Midland and rural areas in west Texas with plenty of resources and a lack of robust competition in the energy industry.
- Photo by JohnMMM (Flickr)