Louisiana has been very big at pushing forward on utilizing renewable energy end becoming more energy efficient. The state has had a number of programs, incentives, and other items to help assist the state’s residents in understanding the importance of clean technologies and how it can help create a more sustainable environment for future generations.
1) Large Number of Transportation Programs Available. To decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the state has come up with a number of transportation programs. There are a number of alternative fuel vehicle incentives and laws, including an income tax credit for 20 percent of conversion or incremental costs of alternative fuel vehicles and refueling stations, and a ride sharing program and carpoolworld.com to decrease the number of vehicles on the road throughout the state.
2) Learning from Disaster Program. The Learning from Disaster Program was designed to create more sustainable schools in New Orleans after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It will create quality learning environments that will exponentially increase the ability of students to retain success throughout their lives, including comfortable schools with natural lighting, low energy consumption, and minimal maintenance requirements to lower school operating costs. Schools will be able to, therefore, spend more money on field trips, textbooks, and various programs that create healthy, well-rounded students.
3) Large Number of Renewable Energy Businesses in the State. Louisiana is home to large renewable energy companies. This includes South Coast Solar, LLC, one of the largest solar panel installation companies in the state. Other solar panel companies include Renogy and Power Earth Supply LLC. Factory Sales and Engineering Inc. is involved in the manufacturing of biomass fired boilers, biomass fired power plants, boiler retrofits, and airheaters. Wind Aid is responsible for the manufacturing of small and large wind energy systems, small and large wind turbines, and wind power plants.
4) Financial Incentives for Businesses and Individuals. To ensure that more businesses and residents are able to afford energy efficient changes to their home or office, Louisiana has created a number of state-sponsored incentives to assist these individuals. This includes tax credit for solar and wind energy systems on residential property, solar energy system exemptions, a home energy loan program, home energy rebate options for commercial buildings, existing homes, and new homes, and a residential energy-efficient appliance rebate program. There are also a number of utility rebate programs under different electricity utility companies, including DEMCO and Entergy New Orleans.
5) The Louisiana Cleantech Network. A partnership between the Renewables Council of Louisiana with the Louisiana Renewable Energy Industries Association created the Louisiana Cleantech Network. This network works alongside stakeholders in an effort to promote the continual growth of cleantech businesses throughout the state, as well as further encourage economic development that is environmentally responsible. The objective of the network is to assist in creating new clean technology companies and assist current businesses in capitalizing on the increasing market for clean technologies, including research, development, distribution, manufacturing, maintenance, and sales. The network also assists businesses that want to make their building more “green.”
6) Net Metering for Renewable Energy Resources. Entergy Louisiana has created a net metering program for renewable energy resources. The energy company offers its customers the ability to decrease their monthly electricity bill and to assist in decreasing the utilization of fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources of energy. The net metering program is available to all residential generation facilities that are up to 25 kilowatts and commercial generation facilities producing up to 300 kilowatts and do not have generators connected to the current grid. To join, customers need to install generation equipment and interconnect with the electrical grid.
7) EmPower Lousiana. Created by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, EmPower Louisiana is a renewable energy program that encourages the continual development, implementation, as well as deployment of renewable energy technologies that are cost-effective in an effort to create more green employment opportunities and a number of other economic and sustainable development benefits. A number of projects have been funded by EmPower Louisiana, including “innovative and emerging renewable energy technologies that have proven commercial viability within the State of Louisiana [and]conventional commercial technologies that are commercially available and economically viable within the state of Louisiana, including but not limited to solar thermal, solar voltaic, geothermal, biomass, biogas, biofuels, waste heat recovery, combined heat and power systems, and other renewable energy technologies.”
8 ) Solar Energy Louisiana. Solar Energy Louisiana is a one-stop-shop for everything solar in the state. This includes the solar energy companies located within the state and the number of federal tax rebates available for individuals who are interested in turning to the utilization of solar energy rather that non-renewable sources of energy, including fossil fuels.
9) Large Number of Bioenergy Incentives. Louisiana’s 2010 Renewable Energy Grant Program featured a large quantity of bioenergy incentives. The Department of Natural Resources provided a large number of funds to a number of renewable energy sources, but for the first time, focused a lot on bioenergy incentives, noting the large number of farming opportunities available to create the necessary items required to produce bioenergy. The incentives are poised to go to those companies in the development process, as long as the technology is developed in Louisiana and create new jobs within the state.
10) Inflatable Dome Home. Want to live in a completely energy efficient dome? One couple created a completely energy efficient home in Louisiana. It has dual insulation which absorbs the energy from the sun and provides a constant temperature. There is also an air-to-air heat exchanger bringing fresh outdoor air inside. A solar thermal envelope ensures that there is no energy leakage, there is teak wood flooring, and energy efficient LED lighting.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. . He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org