LSU CES News 2019 Full



Posted July 30, 2019

cover of PURPA paperDismukes: Reforming Outdated Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) Will Protect Utility Ratepayers

David E. Dismukes, Professor and Executive Director of the LSU Center for Energy Studies, recently published new research recommending the immediate reform of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA, a piece of federal legislation adopted during the energy crises of the 1970s and early 1980s.  

Dismukes’ research finds that PURPA’s overly-generous and unnecessary “buy-back” provisions have led to the development of around 70,000 megawatts (MW) of excessive renewable generation capacity equivalent to more than $100 billion in new capital investment that is being paid for by retail utility ratepayers.

Dismukes notes that, in 1978, the year in which PURPA was passed, electric utilities were vertically integrated and highly regulated monopolies, and non-utility energy represented less than five percent of total U.S. power generation. At the time, PURPA tried to subject wholesale power generation to competition by introducing a host of new players and new capacity.  PURPA forced regulated utilities, who at the time owned all power transmission assets, and were the direct link to end-user customers, to purchase electricity from these new generation developers at a set of fixed prices and contract terms.  Back then, PURPA represented “a disruptive piece of federal legislation” that ultimately helped to prove that electric power generation was not a natural monopoly and that competition could be sustained in the electric power industry.

However, since that time, electricity markets have undergone more than three decades worth of reform, making them highly competitive with numerous wholesale buyers and sellers.  PURPA’s mandatory purchase requirements are not needed today, especially given the highly competitive nature of regional electricity markets and the regulatory provisions that require power transmission systems to be operated and governed to support open and non-discriminatory access. The mandatory buy-back provisions included in PURPA simply force utilities to purchase electricity generation capacity that is not needed at prices that do not reflect current market fundamentals. Ultimately, the financial liability of these federally mandated excess electricity purchases will be passed on to ratepayers.

Dismukes says that continuing to allow renewable developers to take advantage of these PURPA buyback provisions will continue to lead to long-term ratepayer financial burdens, incentivize uneconomic renewable energy capacity development, and ultimately increase ratepayer costs. Dismukes notes that PURPA reform “should eliminate a set of regressive and excessive subsidies that benefit large renewable generation developers and their investors—and burden retail ratepayers.”

The Institute for Energy Research contributed to Professor Dismukes' research. View or download the paper here


Posted July 24, 2019Energy Summit 2019 Postcard Image

Announcing Energy Summit™ 2019, Oct. 23

Please join us for Energy Summit™ 2019

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
12 Noon - 5:15 p.m., with reception following

Energy Summit 2019 information here.

Posted June 19, 2019

CES Names Scholarship Recipients for 2019-20 Academic Year

The Center for Energy Studies recently awarded scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year to four LSU students pursuing energy-related fields of study and careers. The Center congratulates our scholarship recipients and wishes them well as they continue their studies.

LMOGA/Brooksher Scholarship

wainrightShelby Wainwright, sophomore majoring in finance, from Hammond, La.
"I am so excited to receive this award. The scholarship will allow me to have so many opportunities this semester." 


F. Malcolm Hood Scholarship

robertsonKelly Robertson, junior majoring in chemical engineering, from Alexandria, La.
"I am so thankful for this scholarship as it will aid in helping me continue in my academic endeavors as I move toward my goal of obtaining a degree in chemical engineering and working in the energy sector one day." 


David Olver Memorial Scholarship

rodrigueFelix Rodrigue, junior majoring in electrical engineering, from Slidell, La.
"It is an honor to be named a recipient of the GCPA David Olver Memorial Scholarship. I would like to thank the Gulf Coast Power Association emPOWERing Foundation for their generosity. This award is very beneficial in the continuation of my degree and a career in the energy field." 


GCPA emPOWERing Women Scholarship

pearsonClaire Kelley Pearson, sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, from Mandeville, La.
"I want to personally thank [the Center] and the Gulf Coast Power Association for making GCPA emPOWERing scholarship available. I feel so honored to have been selected, and I deeply appreciate your generosity....With this financial support, I will be able to reduce my work schedule so that I can focus more on my studies and work on research.... The [award] has inspired me to give back to others. One day, I hope to help students with support similar to what I have received from you." 




Posted June 19, 2019

Dismukes, Co-authors Complete NETL CarbonSAFE ReportNETL logo

In 2017, LSU researchers received a $1.4 million grant from the National Energy Technology Laboratory, or NETL, a part of the U.S. Department of Energy, to study the feasibility of industrial carbon capture and storage, or CCS, along the Louisiana Chemical Corridor. The award is part of NETL's Carbon Storage Assurance Enterprise, or CarbonSAFE, program, which seeks to develop an integrated CCS storage complex constructed and permitted for operation in the 2025 timeframe in several phases.

Led by CES Executive Director and Professor David Dismukes, the research team includes Brian Snyder, assistant professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, LSU College of the Coast & Environment; Richard Hughes, professional-in-residence, LSU Department of Petroleum Engineering; Mehdi Zeidouni, assistant professor, LSU Department of Petroleum Engineering; Muhammad Zulqarnain, postdoctoral researcher, Louisiana State University, Keith Hall, director, Mineral Law Institute, LSU Law; Chacko John, (retired) associate director & professor, Louisiana Geological Survey; Brian Harder, research analyst, Louisiana Geological Survey; Michael Layne, graduate assistant, Louisiana State University; and Juan Lorenzo, associate professor, LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics.

The study conducted an initial emissions screening analysis by identifying the top ten industrial carbon emission sources, six of which are in close proximity to one another in the South Louisiana industrial corridor. Among its findings is the fact that the capture component of an industrial CCS project is the largest individual cost item and can account for as much as half of an industrial CCS investment; however, higher CO2 concentrations and pressures allow for capture systems with lower operational and capital costs.

The source facility and storage location chosen for the feasibility study were, respectively, CF Industries and Bayou Sorrel. Ultimately, the integrated economic feasibility analysis shows that a CCS project in South Louisiana will likely not be economically viable. These economic feasibility results, however, are dependent upon the candidate source and sink and other factors driving project economics. That said, Louisiana has a favorable set of laws and regulations for CCS development, as well as a long history with underground storage rights. Further, the Louisiana Legislature has passed statutes over the past several years that provide clear guidelines on how CO2 will be injected into storage facilities and monitored. These statutes should reduce a considerable amount of business liability and legal risk for CCS developers.

View or download the report.


Posted March 27, 2019

Board of Regents Nominates Upton for Revenue Estimating Conference Position

Gregory UptonLSU Center for Energy Studies, or CES, Assistant Professor Gregory B. Upton, Jr., is one of three candidates nominated by the Louisiana Board of Regents, or BOR, for the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference, or REC.  Members of the REC will choose one person from the three BOR nominees to replace LSU Professor Jim Richardson, the current economist, who will step down in June of this year after 30 years of REC service.

“This is a great honor to be considered for such an important role. I look forward to the opportunity to serve my state in this capacity if chosen among the three highly qualified candidates.” said Upton.

Upton joined the CES faculty in 2014 and since that time has researched a wide-range of Louisiana-specific energy issues, including the impact of the oil price collapse on Louisiana’s budgetary challenges, solar tax credits and net metering policies in the state, and the implications of lifting the federal crude oil export ban. In 2018, he authored the chapter “Mineral Revenues in Louisiana,” published in Exploring Long-Term Solutions for Louisiana’s Tax System, a byproduct of more than a year’s worth of Upton’s extensive research on how upstream oil and gas impacts Louisiana public revenues and the Louisiana economy.

Upton has presented his research to more than 80 industry, governmental, and academic audiences, and has been cited more than 50 times in local and national media. He has co-authored a number of studies examining the economic impact of various energy infrastructure development projects on the Louisiana economy. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Louisiana State University, where he also received both an M.A. in economics and a B.S. in economics with a concentration in empirical analysis.

CES Executive Director, Professor David Dismukes noted, “We are proud of Greg and his nomination. His expertise in energy economics, and how energy impacts the entire Louisiana economy, not just in upstream oil and gas, but throughout the entire energy value chain to petrochemicals and refining, will be an asset to the Louisiana Legislature.”

About the REC
The REC has constitutional authority and responsibility to provide official revenue estimates for the state. Its four principal members are the governor or designee, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and a faculty member with revenue forecasting expertise from a Louisiana university or college.
The REC prepares estimates of money to be received by the state general fund and dedicated funds for the current and upcoming fiscal years that are available for appropriation, and it designates whether money in the estimates will be recurring or nonrecurring. All REC decisions on whether to adopt the estimates must be unanimous.


Posted February 26, 2019

Upcoming Events in April: 13th Annual La. Water Conference, Oil & Gas Symposium

Louisiana Geological Survey and Center for Energy Studies faculty will present two events during the week of Spring Break: April 15-17, 2019:  The 13th Annual La. Water Conference and the Oil & Gas Symposium. Join us for one or both events, which address important natural resource, water, and energy issues for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Continuing education for professional geoscientists (PG), professional engineers, and attorneys may be available.

13th Annual Louisiana Water Conference
15-16 April 2019

Confluence of Mississippi riverDalton J. Woods Auditorium
Energy, Coast, & Environmental Building
93 S. Quad (formerly Nicholson Extension)
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Presented by
Louisiana Geological Survey, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, &
Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute

The Louisiana Water Conference aims to disseminate the latest water-related research and activities within and around Louisiana, promote education and public awareness of Louisiana’s valuable freshwater resources, and promote engagement of water-use sectors.

Click here for more information and to register.

Oil & Gas Symposium
17 April 2019

Rig sunsetDalton J. Woods Auditorium
LSU Energy, Coast & Environment Building
93 S. Quad (formerly Nicholson Extension)
Baton Rouge, LA  70803

Presented by
Louisiana Geological Survey and LSU Center for Energy Studies
This symposium will bring together scientists, engineers, and policy makers from across a range of disciplines to discuss the current state of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana, and its interaction with our ecosystem. John E. Johnston III of the Louisiana Geological Survey and Greg Upton of the LSU Center for Energy studies will serve as the symposium chairs.

Click here for more information and to register.

Posted February 1, 2019

Regents logo

The Future of Solar in Louisiana

An Analysis of the Technical and Economic Implications of Solar P.V. Growth on Louisiana’s Economy and Electric Grid 

Dr. Gregory B. Upton, Jr., Center for Energy Studies, Louisiana State University
Dr. Farzad Ferdowsi, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Dr. Amin Kargarian, Division of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Louisiana State University
Dr. Shahab Mehraeen, Division of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Louisiana State University

SWEPCO logoIn June of 2016, the Louisiana Board of Regents provided support as part of its Industrial Ties Research Subprogram (ITRS) to study how solar could be incorporated into the electric grid and whether the incorporation of battery storage could enhance the scalability of this resource in an economical way. Industry partner Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) also provided data and support including technical engineering data on its distribution grid. This collaborative effort between the LSU Center for Energy Studies, the Louisiana Board of Regents, and SWEPCO has resulted in a report that assesses both the technical and economic implications of the solar industry in Louisiana.

The two-part report addresses the incorporation of solar PV from both an engineering and economic perspective including:

  1. The degree to which solar growth can cause challenges to the distribution grid that electric utilities are responsible for maintaining in order to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to Louisiana’s residents.
  2. The economics of behind-the-meter solar in light of both reduced solar tax credits and rate design changes.

View or download the solar report here.


Posted February 1, 2019

Mineral Revenues in Louisiana
Status Report Submitted to Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs and House Committee on Ways and Means of the Louisiana Legislature La State Seal

Dr. James A. Richardson, LSU Public Administration Institute
Dr. Greg Upton, LSU Center for Energy Studies

In the 2018 second extraordinary session, Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 4 was passed asking Dr. Jim Richardson and Dr. Greg Upton to make specific recommendations to the legislature regarding mineral taxes in Louisiana. The motivation for this request was based on work conducted by the Task Force on Structural Change in Budget & Tax Policy and a recently published book chapter on the topic. View or download the SCR 4.

The economists were asked to explore possible changes to the Louisiana mineral tax structure and consider the following goals:

  1. Preserve or improve the competitiveness of the oil and gas extraction sector in Louisiana.
  2. Decrease or remove the difference in tax rates for oil and gas.
  3. Create an equitable system of severance tax exemptions on all wells, not just horizontal wells.
  4. Hold constant or increase mineral revenues for the state.
  5. Explore other reasons why oil and gas production is fluctuating in the state of Louisiana and any changes that need to be made to increase production.
This document serves as the preliminary status report highlighting the work conducted in the first year of a three-year study process.

View or download the Status Report.

Posted January 19, 2019

The Center for Energy Studies is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year

The Center for Energy Studies is now accepting applications for its four scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Application deadline: 26 April 2019.
LMOGA/Robert R. Brooksher Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship was established to honor one of the original supporters of CES. The purpose of the scholarship is to support the educational goals of LSU students interested in energy-related fields, with a particular emphasis on energy policy related to the oil and gas industry. The annual scholarship is awarded in the amount of $1,000.

F. Malcolm Hood Memorial Scholarship
Established to honor one of the original supporters of CES, this scholarship supports the educational goals of LSU students interested in energy-related fields, with a particular emphasis on energy policy. Two scholarships are awarded in the amount of $1,000 each.

David Olver Memorial Scholarship
A scholarship opportunity for LSU students interested in future careers in the electric power industry, the David Olver Memorial Scholarship, financially supported by the Gulf Coast Power Association emPOWERing Foundation, offers an annual award in the amount of $2,500.

GCPA emPOWERing Women Scholarship
Provided by the Gulf Coast Power Association emPOWERing Foundation, the emPOWERing Women Scholarship is intended for female LSU students interested in future careers in the electric power industry. The annual award amount is $2,500.

NOTE: Final award amounts may vary and are subject to availability of funds.

See our Scholarship page for qualification requirements and to apply.