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H2 theFuture | Louisiana, Equitable Energy State of the Future
- Mar 24, 2023 5:59 pm GMT
H2 theFuture Synopsis:
Louisiana Reimagined as an Equitable Energy State of the Future Since the invention of the first submersible drilling rig, launching the boom in offshore oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and across the globe, South Louisiana has been at the center of energy innovation. For six decades, South Louisiana offshore oil and gas expertise has served the country by ensuring stable, cost-effective energy, indelibly defining Louisiana as an “energy state.”
In recent years, however, this historical hydrocarbon dominance – dependence even – has created economic and environmental challenges. Louisiana has seen more oil and gas job loss than any U.S. state, with nearly 22,000 positions lost from 2001 - 2020 (Emsi). Compounding this economic loss, rural and majority Black populations near South Louisiana industrial plants face 95% higher health risks than most Americans (EPA). The traditional hydrocarbon economy in Louisiana is waning, and environmental concerns are accelerating this change as consumers, investors, and governments focused on reducing CO2 require cleaner energy. Without major intervention to position the economy for future job growth aligned with carbon-reduction goals, Louisiana faces protracted and systemic economic malaise, and continued environmental degradation.
Despite these challenges, South Louisiana is well positioned to bridge to a higher-job, lowercarbon future. Specifically, a transition to the production and use of “green” (zero-carbon) hydrogen (H2 ) can both decarbonize South Louisiana’s industrial corridor, and preserve wellpaying jobs. Green hydrogen - in contrast to traditional “gray” or “blue” hydrogen extracted from fossil fuels - is produced by splitting water (H2 O) with electrolyzers powered by renewable electricity, such as wind. As a flexible, zero-carbon energy carrier, green hydrogen can decarbonize hydrogen end-users (petrochemicals, refineries) as well as new, hard-to-abate sectors (long-haul road/maritime transportation, steel refining).
In fact, green hydrogen has the potential to reduce total emissions by as much as 68% in Louisiana (IEA). Analysts estimate global demand for green hydrogen will soar 500+% by 2050, to account for 71% of total hydrogen use, while creating 3.4M new jobs (McKinsey & Co.).
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