In August of 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order establishing emission reduction goals of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, putting the state in line with pledges made under the Paris Agreement, and by the federal government, 25 other states, and hundreds of companies in the private sector.[1] Approximately a year and half later, Governor Edwards’ Climate Initiatives Task Force has unanimously approved the state’s first ever Climate Action Plan.[2] Prior to Louisiana’s Climate Action Plan, the City of New Orleans implemented the State’s first renewable and clean energy standard. Under the local ordinance, by 2050, New Orleans’s power must be 100% emissions free.[3] The Louisiana Climate Action Plan contains 28 strategies (theoretical approaches) and 84 actions (implementation policy steps) to reduce GHG emissions across the entire state economy.[4]

The first strategy on Louisiana’s Climate Action Plan is the transformation of Louisiana’s electric grid to clean and renewable energy sources. The plan defines “clean” as energy generation that results in emission of little to zero GHGs (i.e., nuclear, biowaste, and natural gas with carbon capture) and “renewable” as naturally replenishing energy sources with zero GHG emissions (i.e., solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal).[5] The first action in pursuit of the shift towards a clean and renewable power grid is the adoption of a Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard (RCPS).

A Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard (“RCPS”) is a law or regulation that seeks to reduce GHG emissions by imposing requirements associated with electricity generation. According to the Plan, Louisiana’s RCPS would require electricity used in Louisiana to be generated from an increasing percentage of renewable or clean sources. In addition to Louisiana utilizing utility-scale solar or other more traditional renewable generation resources, two studies conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) examined the range of clean and renewable energy in the context of the Gulf of Mexico and quickly determined offshore wind power to be a viable energy source, finding offshore solar power, tidal energy, wave energy, and ocean current to all be unreasonably burdensome for the foreseeable future.[6] According to the aforementioned studies, the Gulf has the potential to generate 1,806 terawatt-hours of offshore wind energy per year—significantly greater than the current energy needs of all five Gulf states.[7]

Resultantly, in June 2021, the BOEM initiated a process that will open the Gulf to wind lease sales by 2025. However, to date, discussions with major developers of offshore wind power have focused on the need for Louisiana to make the same commitment to clean and renewable energy that New Orleans previously made so as to increase developers’ access to a larger customer base. Now that Louisiana’s Climate Action Plan has been adopted, the Climate Initiatives Task Force is set to meet again in early March to begin moving forward with the plan’s implementation.  At this time, it is unclear whether the Governor, the Louisiana Legislature, the Louisiana Public Service Commission, or other governmental entities, will take the next steps.  It will be interesting to see how the Louisiana Climate Action Plan unfolds as Louisiana moves towards carbon reduction and net zero GHG emissions goals for the future.


[1] Exec. Order No. JBE 2020-18 (Aug. 19. 2020).

[2] Press Release, Off. of the Governor, (Jan. 31, 2022),

[4] Press Release, supra note 2.

[5] Climate Initiatives Task Force, Louisiana Climate Action Plan 44 (2022).

[6] See e.g. Walter Musial et al., Survey and Assessment of the Ocean Renewable Energy Resources in the US Gulf of Mexico, (2020); see also Walter Musial et al., Offshore Wind in the US Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modeling and Site-Specific Analyses (2020).

[7] Walter Musial et al., Offshore Wind in the US Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modeling and Site-Specific Analyses, at 33.