The South Louisiana Economic Council (SLEC) hosted the first meeting of their newly established Emerging Energy Task Force (Task Force) in late June. This Task Force was formed to evaluate and discuss emerging energy opportunities and to provide guidance to SLEC on how best to represent and advocate on behalf of Louisiana’s Bayou Region.
The Task force is comprised of 13 members. Nine members represent service companies who are already engaged in the renewable and alternative energy industry and have a strong presence in South Louisiana. The additional four members represent regional port directors.
At the initial meeting of the Task Force, members discussed opportunities and challenges for Louisiana’s energy service industry given the transition to renewable energy resources, alternative fuels, and new technologies. Some Task Force member companies are currently invested in the exploration of wind energy, but they have identified many logistical and policy issues impacting the growth of these sectors along the Gulf that need to be addressed. The goal of the Task Force is to explore the most feasible and beneficial opportunities for regional industries including carbon capture storage (CCS), wind, hydrogen hubs, and the solar industry.
“We are excited to establish this Task Force that will lay the foundation of the future of our region. Our workforce and business leaders have consistently provided energy resources to our country because of our oil and gas industry. While the oil and gas industry will continue to be part of our regional economy for many years to come, SLEC strives to be well-positioned to support new emerging energy opportunities that can further diversify our economy and provide well paying jobs. A combination of our existing infrastructure, industry sectors, work force, and educational institutions are the assets to help support and drive the new energy economy,” said Vic Lafont, SLEC President and CEO
The global renewable energy market size and share is expected to register an annual growth rate of 8.5% and industry revenue is expected to increase from $860 billion in 2021, to reach $1.68 trillion by 2029, according to a recent research study published by Polaris Market Research.1
“South Louisiana has a long history of servicing the oil and gas industry and as the industry strives to meet greenhouse gas emission goals, new business and job opportunities will become available for the Bayou Region. Creating the Emerging Energy Task Force engages local business leaders who are already on the forefront and can provide exceptional insight on how we can best position the Bayou Region to continue to be America’s energy coast for future generations”, said Lori LeBlanc, SLEC Energy Advisor
On July 20th, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) 2in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and is seeking public comment which is a step in the process towards holding the first ever GoM offshore wind lease sale. In addition, DOI’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is expected to release proposed carbon capture regulations before the end of this year. SLEC will monitor these developments and look for economic growth opportunities for the Bayou Region.
By commissioning this Task Force, SLEC is positioning the Bayou Region as a steadfast and innovative leader in the energy industry. The Task Force is scheduled to meet again in August.