Texas should create a national laboratory specializing in crosscutting technologies in oil and gas finding and drilling, renewable energy, batteries, other electricity storage technologies, smart-grid technology, and carbon-sequestration technology. Houston is the “energy capital,” but it is no longer the center of energy innovation. For Texas to continue to be, well, Texas, it needs to remain the leading place for ideas, innovation, and technology development in the energy industry. The new solutions are going to come from crosscutting technologies such as nanotechnology, materials science, biotechnology, and genetic engineering.

Jaffe is the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute at Rice University.

(On the Web: a related idea from economist Ray Perryman.)

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