2023 GNO Jobs Report: Explore the top occupations in the region

April 21, 2024

Sunday Night Highlight: Louisiana’s “All-of-the-Above Clean Energy Future”

This past Friday, The Times Picayune / The Advocate published an op-ed I wrote on a generational opportunity for Greater New Orleans and Louisiana – leading the nation and world towards a responsible, job-producing, lower-carbon, “all-of-the-above” energy future.  Here is an excerpt of the piece:

“I am motivated and optimistic… the low-carbon energy transition is real, it is massive ($3 trillion globally by 2030), and Louisiana is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this revolution.

We have some special advantages: first, decades of energy experience and infrastructure; second, geology that is uniquely suited for carbon capture; and third, political leadership that stands apart in recognizing and supporting the economic opportunity inherent in the energy transition.

It’s time to mess with Texas and take back our legacy. Louisiana can be the “All-of-the-Above Clean Energy State of the Future.”

Since 2018, companies have invested $50 billion in new energy projects across our state, creating nearly 5,500 jobs with an average salary of $82,000. Combined with the more than 10,000 jobs in our pipeline, this represents a potential 20% increase in total energy employment in Louisiana.

Our legacy companies are leading the way. For example, LLOG, headquartered in Covington, is recycling an old oil rig for a new asset, saving 70% in carbon emissions versus construction of a new rig. Major companies with a presence in Louisiana, like Shell, Chevron, and Exxon, are investing billions in renewables and are responsible for the majority of global carbon reduction to date.

Natural gas is of major importance, both at home and abroad. While massive projects are creating over 18,000 jobs in Louisiana – the biggest is Venture Global, a $21B+ investment in Plaquemines Parish – LNG exports are supporting geopolitical stability by providing Europe an alternative to Russian gas and giving Asia an economical alternative to higher-carbon coal.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity is carbon capture, the key bridge technology to decarbonize industry. Good examples are St. Charles Clean Fuels, a $5 billion project, in partnership with IMTT, that uses carbon capture to remove 99% of its CO2and Climeworks, a Swiss company investing $3 billion in a direct air capture facility in southwest Louisiana.

We are also seeing big opportunities in biofuels, leveraging all of the natural and man-made feedstock in Louisiana. For example, Grön Fuels in Baton Rouge will create over 500 new jobs, while providing sustainable aviation fuel made from vegetable and cooking oils to customers like JetBlue.

Louisiana is also well-positioned in offshore wind, not only for deployment in the Gulf, but also as the manufacturing hub for America. After all, the same skills needed to design and build for the offshore oil industry can be used for offshore wind. Consider Edison Chouest Offshore, a great Louisiana legacy company, which has secured major contracts to build crew vessels for wind installation on the East Coast.

In solar, Louisiana is bringing manufacturing back to the United States. First Solar recently announced a $1.1 billion, 700-job panel factory in Iberia Parish. We are also working on new ways to store this power, with companies like UBE in Jefferson Parish and Advano in New Orleans East pioneering battery technology.

Finally, GNO, Inc. and partners are laying the foundation to ensure that all Louisianans can participate in this energy revolution. For example, working with Opportunity Hub, five minority-led energy startups were recently awarded $275,000 in seed funding to scale their companies here in Louisiana.

Future energy is coming, and Louisiana is positioned to lead.”

You can read the full op-ed here.