The Times, They Are A Changing In The Pelican State

State Overview

The population of the Pelican State, Louisiana is approximately 4.55 million people. Louisiana is the 25th most populated state in the United States.

In 2022, Louisiana’s economy was ranked 24th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the oil, natural gas, commercial fishing, petrochemical, and agriculture industries.

Environmental Policies

Louisiana is one of only 13 states that has neither a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) nor a renewable energy goal.

Power Generation Capabilities

In June 2023, utilities used natural gas (79.9%), nuclear (12.5%), coal (4.7%), and renewable energy (2.9%) to generate electricity in Louisiana. Biomass, hydropower, and solar are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Louisiana.

In June 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Louisiana was 11.23¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.11¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Louisiana include:

  • 345 MW Solar Project – British energy company, Lightsource bp is continuing work on the Ventress Solar project at a site approximately 100 miles northwest of the city of New Orleans. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 180 MW Solar Project – Lightsource bp is continuing work on the Prairie Ronde solar project at a site approximately 45 miles west-northwest of the state capital, Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2024.
  • 175 MW Solar Project – In March 2023, Louisiana utility Entergy commenced work on the Iberville Parish solar facility at a site approximately 10 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 150 MW Solar Project – New York renewable energy company D.E. Shaw is continuing work on the Vacherie Solar Energy Center at a site approximately 40 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2024.
  • 150 MW Solar Project – D.E. Shaw is continuing work on the SJ Louisiana Solar project at a site approximately 45 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2024.
  • 150 MW Solar Project – D.E. Shaw is continuing work on the Jacques Louisiana Solar project at a site approximately 35 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2025.
  • 125 MW Solar Project – Spanish renewable energy company, Opdenergy is continuing work on the Elizabeth Solar project at a site approximately 100 miles west of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2024.
  • 90 MW Solar Project – California renewable energy company, Recurrent Energy is continuing work on the Bayou Galion Solar project at a site approximately 175 miles north of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2024.
  • 50 MW Solar Project – D.E. Shaw is continuing work on the Sunlight Road Solar project at a site approximately 70 miles northeast of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 49 MW Solar Project – Louisiana utility Entergy is continuing work on the Sterlington Solar facility at a site approximately 150 miles northwest of Baton Rouge. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • Offshore Wind Study – Louisiana electric utility, Entergy and California energy services company, Diamond Generating Corporation are evaluating the potential to develop offshore wind projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Conclusions

The first commercial coal mine didn’t began operating in Louisiana until 1985. Louisiana’s coal was used to fuel electric power plants in the state.

In 2022, Louisiana had only one operating coal mine, which produced approximately 0.30 million tons of lignite. The majority of the coal used to fuel Louisiana’s power plants is brought by rail from Wyoming.

In 2010, 33.4 % of Louisiana’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. In June 2023, 4.7% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease in the use of coal?

  1. Economics – The cost to generate power from coal is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like wind.
  2. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America.
  3. Climate Change – Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

Louisiana’s oil and gas industry has been a major source of jobs and state revenue for over 100 years. Recently, the state utilities have begun to develop new, clean green energy projects which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money.

In 2020, Louisiana electric utility, Entergy announced it was committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Entergy provides electricity to 2.9 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Louisiana has significant solar, hydropower, biomass, and offshore wind resource potential. The economics of low-cost, reliable green energy have caused Louisiana electric utilities to move from fossil fuels to renewables. The times, they are a changing in the Pelican State.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues.

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