How Brad Ives and LSU are helping guide Louisiana’s energy transition

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Louisiana, seeking to balance its economic reliance on fossil fuels with the imperative to embrace cleaner energy sources, stands at something of a crossroads. The intersection of economic tradition and environmental responsibility underscores the critical decisions businesses, communities and policymakers must make in order to navigate the state’s energy transition.

LSU Institute for Energy Innovation Director Brad Ives, who is featured in the latest episode of Business Report’s “Strictly Business” webcast, aims to help Louisiana chart a course toward a more sustainable future. Founded in 2022, the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation coordinates LSU’s outreach, R&D and service efforts related to the energy transition, while also serving as a single access point to the university’s energy resources.

“There is so much going on in Louisiana right now with federal money coming in from the CHIPS Act,” Ives says. “We’re starting to see the massive impacts of that [money], along with strategic decisions that have been made by lots of corporate investors.”

Those developments include carbon sequestration initiatives, offshore wind projects and the state’s first solar plant in New Iberia. The LSU Institute for Energy Innovation’s work has thus far been focused primarily on carbon sequestration and solar, with 10 research projects in those areas funded over the next two years.

While much work still needs to be done, Ives says a good deal of progress has already been made. Implementation has been slow, however, at least partly because of negative public sentiment.

“We’ve got a lot of the technologies we need to solve all of our energy problems right now,” Ives says. “The issue really is how to get them adopted. We’re seeing opposition to solar in communities all across the U.S.—not just in Louisiana—due to misinformation. The only way we’re going to fix that is by providing education and talking to people.”

Looking forward, Ives sees a bright future for Louisiana’s energy industry, particularly because of the work the state’s universities are doing to prepare the next-generation workforce for the energy transition.

“It’s an exciting time for young people in Louisiana,” Ives says. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunity.”

Watch the full discussion on Business Report’s “Strictly Business” archive.