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Energy Policy in New Orleans, Louisiana

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provided guidance, technical support, and expert input and analysis to the New Orleans City Council, Energy Policy Advisory Committee, and Mayor's Office to develop and implement the Energy Smart New Orleans Plan, the city's first comprehensive energy policy.

The plan focuses on residential energy audits, energy efficiency incentives, low-income weatherization, commercial and industrial programs, photovoltaic and solar domestic hot water pilot projects, and education and outreach programs.

City Council

DOE/NREL participated in numerous energy policy activities with the New Orleans City Council to develop the Energy Smart New Orleans Plan, including:

  • Prepared a next steps document for the City Council, which provided near-term opportunities to move suggested programs forward following the passage of an Energy Efficiency Resolution in December 2007

  • Provided analysis and comments on a draft green power program proposed by local utility Entergy New Orleans

  • Guided the City Council Utility Committee on strategic planning processes and how to develop a stakeholder-driven long-term community energy plan. DOE/NREL strategic planning process includes a step to evaluate different cost-effectiveness tests, giving the City Council the knowledge and tools to perform their own testing on policies and programs, including:

    • Renewable portfolio standards

    • Smart metering

    • Options for using the Home Energy Rating System.

Learn more in the NREL presentation: Steps to Developing the New Orleans Strategic Energy Plan. Or read the following NREL technical reports, which were adapted from memos and reports presented to the City Council.

Energy Policy Advisory Committee

DOE/NREL worked with the more than 100-person Energy Policy Advisory Committee—comprised of stakeholders from the business, academic, government, utility, community and nonprofit sectors—on how to measure the impacts of suggested measures in the Energy Smart New Orleans Plan in a comparable way, including net metering, a rate restructuring proposal, and an evaluation of the green building ordinance presented by the Mayor's Office. The Advisory Committee created and presented a variety of policy and program options to the City Council Utility Committee, which were considered when developing the Energy Smart New Orleans Plan.

Mayor's Office

In 2007, the New Orleans Mayor's Office presented a green building ordinance in conjunction with the rebuilding efforts to the City Council. DOE/NREL provided insight and guidance on a draft copy of the ordinance that included suggestions for balancing costs incurred by the city and consumers and potential energy savings benefits for the community. In October 2007, the City Council passed the ordinance, which became part of the Energy Smart New Orleans Plan.

Read about lessons learned and recommendations for energy planning and policy development in disaster recovery and redevelopment efforts in the DOE brochure, Community Greening: How to Develop a Strategic Energy Plan, and the NREL technical report, Effective Community-Wide Policy Technical Assistance: The DOE/NREL Approach.

Find publications related to implementing energy policy in New Orleans.