A holistic approach to alternative energy production in the extractive landscapes of Texas.

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Student: Erin Percevault, LSU Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Committee: Forbes Lipschitz, Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture; David Dismukes, LSU Center for Energy Studies; Christopher D’Elia, LSU School of Coast and the Environment


This thesis proposes a holistic approach to energy production which both highlights the benefits of emergent decentralized design at the site level and acknowledges the scope and needs of the infrastructure of the current widespread grid. By identifying alternative energy potential and planning at the regional level, it becomes possible to create synergistic relationships between production facilities and landscape functionality while continuing to contribute to the larger grid. Due to its future needs, growing conservation challenges, and high alternative energy potential, the state of Texas has been selected as a case study to explore these concepts. In three parts, a methodology is established for comparing energy alternatives, establishing feasibility with regional ecology, and proposing design possibilities for future development. Current challenges and obstacles are identified and discussed further. The project emphasizes the importance of addressing future energy transitions and expanding public understanding of the complexity and holistic nature of energy production systems at multiple scales.

In order to reimagine the current energy industry, this thesis approaches the issue on the end of energy production to reinforce adaptability and diversity, similar to successional processes in nature. To fully recognize the potential of energy focused design, we must have an understanding of the life cycle of current systems, the physical space they occupy, and the resources they use. This research moves from identifying the flow of goods and energy to the United States to articulating current environmental, political, and social conditions required for different energy production on the regional scale to the spatial implications of technologies at the site scale. After identifying major issues, the project will proceed to engineer successional systems that can be implemented at different levels.