Brights Ideas at University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Deep in Louisiana’s Cajun Country, there’s a renewable energy research center dedicated to studying solar energy and biopower. And it smells like barbecue. Located in Crowley, Louisiana, the Cleco Alternative Energy Center is sponsored by Cleco Power, LLC, and operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

2016 Declared World’s Hottest Year on Record

Scientists reported earlier this week that 2016 was the world’s hottest year since formal record keeping began, topping the records set in 2015 and 2014, each year successively hotter than the one before it. Reported by NASA and NOAA, the news tells us that 16 hottest years in modern global history have occurred in the past [...]

Proposed Wind Power Transmission Project Would Generate $3.9 Billion for Louisiana, Mississippi

The new study highlights the beneficial job and economic development impacts associated with the proposed power line. According to the study, the Southern Cross Transmission project will provide significant economic benefits within Louisiana, and Mississippi, including $3.9 billion in total direct, indirect, induced and fiscal economic impact. The benefits primarily stem from construction, potential local tax revenue, and operations. Notably, the benefits from low-cost wind power associated with the transmission project were not included in the analysis, suggesting a conservative analysis.

Lafayette restores smart solar policy

Late on November 7th, a local Lafayette, Louisiana newspaper (The Independent) posted a story: “About-face: LUS seeks repeal of ‘solar tax’ ordinance”. Lafayette is restoring its smart solar policy!

Local utility quietly clouds solar future

But this past August, our local electric utility company passed perhaps the worst solar power policy in the south. Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) introduced an extremely complicated electric, water and sewer rate increase the same week historic, 1,000-year flooding occurred in Louisiana. The new rate structure for net metered customers, including solar power families like mine, is likely to double monthly electric bills, and double the length of time it takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself. The new policy effectively acts as a giant tax on solar power. Solar tax credits are being phased out, and when coupled with LUS’s new solar tax, it is unlikely that solar power systems would ever pay for themselves.

Green Spirit Awards: Two leading sources of dehydration team up to save water! (HINT: One’s beer.)

Some of Abita’s energy sustainability practices include a brewery process that uses 70% less energy and reuses steam, an onsite wastewater treatment system that captures renewable “bio-gas” to fuel boilers, and a solar panel system that was considered one of the largest in the state when it was installed. Because its local water resource is so pristine, Abita doesn’t need to use filters or chemicals to clean its water.

New Shell Oil Spill in the Gulf Underscores Need to Transition to Clean Energy

An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico reported on Friday serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of perpetuating the fossil fuel era through risky offshore drilling. We all have an opportunity to publicly demonstrate our political will for a transition to clean energy this Saturday, May 21, at local Hands Across the Sand events.

Wind Power Provides 40% of Electricity to Southwest Power Pool

Late in the evening on February 18th, wind energy provided more energy to the Southwest Power Pool electric grid than coal, natural gas or nuclear power. At roughly 11PM, wind power generated nearly 40% of all the electricity in the SPP region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and portions of New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Meanwhile, the region received the remainder of its electricity from coal (37%), natural gas (11%), nuclear (10%) and hydro power (2%). That’s right: renewable energy provided more energy than either fossil fuels or nuclear reactors.

First Legal Challenge to the Clean Power Plan Dismissed

Today, the DC Circuit dismissed the first legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit, filed by the coal industry and several coal dependent states, claimed that EPA lacked the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. Ultimately, the DC Circuit found the legal challenge premature, given that EPA has yet to release the final version of the Clean Power Plan – which is expected to arrive in August.

Breezy for the Big Easy: WINDPOWER 2016 heading to New Orleans

After each WINDPOWER conference, attendees are quickly reminded to save the date for next year’s event. Next year, the WINDPOWER 2016 Conference and Expo will remain in the southern region – and will be hosted in New Orleans. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in downtown New Orleans is just steps away from the Mississippi River, the French Quarter, Cafe du Monde and other locations that represent the full New Orleans experience.