It’s a fact. The U.S. is transitioning away from fossil fuels and
embracing the great benefits of renewable energy. Wind and solar energy are
reliably powering homes and businesses across the Midwest at record low prices,
and investment and jobs are booming. For the Hoosier state, renewables are
contributing $7 billion to the economy.
Indiana is blessed with strong wind and solar energy resources and
access to good energy markets. Renewable energy accounted for about seven
percent of the state’s electricity in 2019,
most of which is attributed to wind. Consumers and businesses want
cost-effective, renewable energy and many Indiana utilities are looking to
renewables to serve their customers. This presents significant economic
opportunities for Indiana’s rural communities to benefit directly from the
investment, new jobs and tax revenue created by wind farms and solar parks.
A balanced approach to siting renewable energy projects that
protects communities and preserves a local government’s ability to issue
permits and approve or deny a project on its merits is just the type of
precedent-setting leadership that Indiana needs. Farmers and private landowners
most often host renewable energy projects on their property, and those citizens
should have the right to decide how best to use their property. Securing
property rights ensures that development companies negotiate with counties in good faith to determine if a project is
a fit for the county.
16th in the country for installed capacity, Indiana has
3,275 megawatts (MW) of
operating wind, solar and energy storage on the grid powering an impressive 911,000
homes. State and local taxes contribute $34.1 million to the coffers every
year. Additionally, annual land lease payments of $15 million are paid to rural
solar sector is just getting started, but big things are on the horizon. Although it ranks 20th in the nation, Indiana's installed solar capacity doubled in the last year, with 939 MW currently online. Indiana is projected to add over 4,500 MW over the next five
years, the third highest megawatt increase in the country. Solar prices have dropped 90 percent since
2009, making it one of the cheapest sources of electricity. Indiana’s solar
industry employs over 3,000 people through
its 80 solar companies, including 24 manufacturers, 30 installers and
developers and 26 other related companies. The solar industry has invested over
$1.1 billion in the state, and this will certainly increase as capacity grows.
As the state decarbonizes and Hoosiers reap the benefits of clean
energy, Indiana’s power sector is reaching new heights. Ratepayers and job-seekers 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 was the third largest clean energy employer
in Indiana in 2019, with 10,975
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 the PJM and MISO energy markets to help meet the renewable
energy goals of neighboring states. However, the state’s current patchwork of
renewable energy ordinances has allowed opponents, often peddling
misinformation, to hijack renewable energy project permitting and development.
CGA has been actively engaged in legislation to ensure a stable,
predictable permitting process that will spur billions of dollars in renewable
energy investment while protecting local Hoosier communities and the property
rights of landowners. These efforts will increase clean energy output, power
more homes at a low price and create more economic opportunity – and that’s