is transitioning away from fossil fuels and embracing the great benefits of
renewable energy. Wind and solar energy are reliably powering homes across the
Midwest at record low prices, and investment and jobs are booming. For the
Hoosier state, renewables are contributing a massive $5 billion to the economy.
Ranking 13th in the country for
installed wind capacity, Indiana has an impressive 2,317
megawatts (MW) on line. That’s
enough wind to power nearly 569,400 homes. There are 232 MW under construction
and another 900 MW in advanced development. State and local taxes contribute
$12 million into the coffers every year. Additionally, annual land lease
payments of $20 million are being paid to rural landowners. The state’s 15
manufacturing facilities provide direct wind jobs while making products for the
The benefits of renewables are more than economic. Indiana’s power sector has
benefitted its natural surroundings. Wind power generation creates no emissions
and uses virtually no water. Wind in the state saved 2.2 billion gallons of
water and avoided 3.8 million metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent of taking
800,000 cars off the road.
Indiana’s solar sector is just
getting started, but big things are on the horizon. Currently, it only ranks
23rd in the nation for installed solar energy with 444 MW.
However, Indiana is projected to add over 1,300 MW over the next five years.
Solar prices have dropped 88
percent since 2009, making it one of the cheapest sources of electricity.
Indiana’s solar industry employs about 4,000 people through its 81 solar companies,
including 22 manufacturers, 32 installers and developers and 27 other related
companies. The solar industry has invested over $600 million in the state, and
this is likely to increase as capacity grows.
Ratepayers will continue to
benefit from low-cost clean energy as the state welcomes more clean
energy projects. New job opportunities will emerge in high and low-populated
areas, and businesses will continue to grow. According to Clean Jobs Midwest,
Indiana had nearly 87,000 clean energy jobs prior to COVID-19. These jobs are located across the state, with more
than 18 percent located in rural areas at the end of 2019. Renewable energy is
the second largest clean energy employer in Indiana, with 10,975 workers.
As America’s energy sector
transitions to a clean energy economy, states are implementing new
strategies so that everyone can access these resources. States are also setting carbon-reduction goals. Indiana
is uniquely located to provide renewable energy into PJM and MISO and to meet
state renewable energy goals of neighboring states. Renewable energy
accounted for over 6 percent of the state’s electricity in
2018, most of which is attributed to wind.
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!