One of the biggest business stories in Louisiana today is in the growth of the renewable energy sector.
With a growing acceptance of climate change, and policies in Washington that incentivize the development of renewable energy sources, it’s an exciting time to be in the clean energy space. Louisiana, because it already is home to so many petrochemical facilities, is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growth.
But renewable energy and clean energy are terms that get thrown around freely and actually cover a wide variety of energy types. There is even some disagreement about whether certain types of clean energy are really as clean as they claim to be. What’s going on in Louisiana and where do the opportunities lie?
Renewable Diesel is a Big Deal
One person who certainly knows what’s going in the renewable energy sector locally and worldwide is Bryan Christjansen, General Manager of Renewable Energy Group’s facility in Geismar. REG produces about 75 million gallons of renewable diesel each year, and renewable propane, all sourced from leftover byproducts that nobody wants.
The local plant on Highway 30 is one of 11 REG facilities in the US and Germany that together produce more than 500 million gallons of biodiesel per year. REG’s industry leading stance in biodiesel from its home here in Baton Rouge is such a big deal that it attracted the attention of oil giant Chevron in June of 2022, which acquired the company for a figure north of $3B. REG is expanding to contribute around 25% of Chevron’s worldwide bio-diesel production goal of 100,000 barrels by 2030.
Here Come The Sun
As you have no doubt noticed, there’s a lot of sunshine here in Louisiana. That’s why we’re not only a leader in oil and gas and renewable diesel, but also in solar power generation.
Pierre Moses is President of 127 Energy, a firm that specializes in developing solar- and battery-powered clean energy solutions for businesses, community institutions and individual customers. Pierre and his firm are experts in helping design and finance these clean energy systems, and have a mission to help make these systems more accessible to those who can least afford it, while also helping to address climate change.
Pierre co-founded the firm in 2009, on the heels of founding another successful startup — Make It Right Solar, a for-profit subsidiary of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation, where he structured and completed more than 250 solar projects.
If you believe the traditional group-think – that Louisiana is stuck in the mud and weighed down by our subservience to the traditional oil and gas industry – this edition of Out to Lunch is an eye-opener. It’s nothing short of amazing to hear about the nationwide and worldwide industry-leader positions Louisiana is taking in renewable energy.
Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. Photos by Erik Otts .