Louisiana will enter into a complex agreement that could lead to the widespread privatization of energy systems at state agencies and universities throughout the state, after lawmakers reviewed the deal for a final time Tuesday.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration struck the deal with LA Energy Partners, a joint venture between Johnson Controls Inc. and Bernhard Energy Solutions, one of several companies controlled by Baton Rouge businessman Jim Bernhard.
The company will lease chiller systems at the Shaw Center for the Arts, a state-owned building in downtown Baton Rouge, from the state for $3 million over 20 years. The state will then buy back the chilled water — used to cool the building — for $6 million. The firm will also make energy upgrades at 31 state buildings, including the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion and state Supreme Court building, in exchange for $54 million.