|  Feb 13, 2023

Indiana Is Winning with Clean Energy

Isak KvamIsak Kvam, Communications / Policy Associate
Delainey ThorudDelainey Thorud, Member Services Coordinator
Indiana Is Winning with Clean Energy
Isak KvamIsak Kvam, Communications / Policy Associate
Delainey ThorudDelainey Thorud, Member Services Coordinator

Indiana has a lot to be proud of regarding clean energy. With the second-most clean energy jobs in the Midwest, Hoosiers can be proud of the wind and solar energy being built in the state. Clean energy isn't just providing low-cost electricity for the state — it's investing in the economy with family-supporting jobs and delivering sizable environmental benefits year-round.

Indiana is currently 12th in the nation for installed wind capacity with over 3,400 MW of wind energy — enough to power more than 1,000,000 homes with clean, low-cost wind power. There is an additional 202 Megawatts (MW) of wind power under construction and another 590 MW in advanced development (American Clean Power Association Clean Power IQ). Indiana also has 15 active manufacturing facilities that help make products for the wind industry. That's good for the economy, because Indiana's wind industry employs almost 7,000 people with family-supporting careers. Wind has also created $6.8 billion in capital investments for the state, as well as $23 million in annual state and local tax payments and $22 million in annual land lease payments for rural landowners. 

Communities in Indiana are seeing significant impacts from the wind projects in their backyards. According to the American Clean Power Association, White County, Indiana received 11% of its total tax revenue from wind energy projects in 2021, totaling over $3 million. White County Auditor Gayle Rogers said that "White County residents continue to see benefits from local wind and solar energy projects in the form of low-cost electricity, increased economic activity, and additional revenue for public services – all of which are critical for the economy." Benton County, Indiana has also benifitted from wind energy with Kelley Kepner, the former Director of Economic Development in Benton County sharing that "After receiving some of the company's tax abatement payments, the county has been able to pay off all debt... With the money received from the tax abatement, the county has made a huge impact financially in helping our schools by contributing 2 million... and... a full-time economic development director and full-time administrative assistant position was created. Through this department was the creation of the Tourism Center, which is providing tours of the windfarms and making money for the county."

While Indiana only ranks 20th in the nation for installed solar energy with 1,410 MW, it is projected to add 7,360 MW of solar over the next five years. The cost of solar has dropped 52% since 2013 making it one of the lower-cost sources of electricity generation in the nation. Indiana currently supplies 1.43% of its electricity with solar, enough to power 162,934 homes. 

There's plenty of room for solar to grow in Indiana — but it's already delivering economic benefits to the state. Over 3,800 folks are employed in Indiana's solar industry. There are currently 91 solar companies in Indiana, including 23 manufacturers, 26 installers & developers, and 42 other companies related to the industry. It's invested over $1.7 billion in the state, with over $875 million invested in 2021 — and those benefits will only increase as more solar is developed. 

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Prologis, Bendix, and Brookfield Properties Retail have all started investing in the solar market in Indiana. In fact, Prologis' 4 MW solar project in Indianapolis is one of the largest corporate projects in the state. Other projects of note in the state include the 255 MW Riverstart Solar Park in Madoc, which produces enough electricity to power over 29,954 homes, and the 65 MW Troy Solar project that can power more than 7,635 homes!

Indiana is also home to the emerging energy storage industry, which will be an integral piece of the clean energy puzzle. Indiana currently had 228 MW of storage of the grid, with another 60 MW under construction and 130 MW in advanced development (American Clean Power Association Clean Power IQ).  Indianapolis Power and Light has a 20 MW energy storage array which stores and feeds energy onto the grid on a 24/7 basis. Energy storage not only makes wind and solar more economic and efficient on the grid – but it also helps to make the electric grid itself more reliable, resilient, and efficient.

As America's energy sector transitions to a clean energy economy, states across the nation are preparing for a future with huge growth in clean jobs. According to the 2022 Clean Jobs Midwest Report, is home to 86,215 clean energy jobs, the second most in the Midwest. Over half of those jobs are in energy efficiency, followed by advanced transportation, renewable energy, grid and storage, and clean fuels. In total, clean energy is nearing 3 percent of the state's labor force, and they're growing quickly. Clean energy jobs in Indiana grew by 6.9% in 2021 and grew nearly 2 times faster than the overall state economy. The Hoosier state has regained nearly 89% of clean energy jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the state decarbonizes and Hoosiers reap the benefits of clean energy, Indiana's power sector is reaching new heights. CGA is very active in the state of Indiana, advocating for the increased use of utility-scale wind, solar and battery resources through utility Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) and through legislation. These efforts will increase clean energy output, power more homes at a low price and create more economic opportunity – and that's just smart!

by Isak KvamIsak Kvam
Communications / Policy Associate
by Delainey ThorudDelainey Thorud
Member Services Coordinator