As Predicted, a Renewable Energy Transformation in Indiana
A year ago, noted Indiana Economist Dr. Hicks of Ball State University told us an energy transition to renewable energy was happening in Indiana. A year later, we see signs of it all around us.
There are countless examples, but I think a recent announcement by Hallador Energy is the most striking. Based in Terre Haute, Hallador Energy shows that this transition is here and key to the success of Indiana. Hallador announced that following the closure of the Merom Coal Generation Station, they would add 1,000 MW of renewable energy. The fact that Indiana-based traditional fossil fuel companies now recognize the logic of energy diversification via solar power says this transition is real. This proposed renewable energy plan will inevitably provide hundreds of new jobs and ensure millions of dollars continue to flow to the local community.
The renewable energy transition is driven by the fact that the lifecycle cost of new wind and solar is less expensive than coal, nuclear, gas, and other fuel sources, as Dr. Hicks reported. Diversifying our energy mix with lower cost energy helps ensure Indiana energy costs stay low.
Importantly, this is occurring across the board, among major investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, municipal agencies, and major corporations. The recently announced acquisition of the Hardy Hills Solar Project in Clinton County by AES, a Fortune 500 global energy company, is just one more example that emphasizes how utilities are embracing renewables as a natural part of our energy mix. Hardy Hills will provide power for 30,000 homes in central Indiana. As IPL CEO Kristina Lund said, "Our investment in solar energy allows us to diversify our electric generation portfolio, while still reliably serving our customers."
The renewable energy transition is driven by the fact that the lifecycle cost of new wind and solar is less expensive than coal, nuclear, gas, and other fuel sources, as Dr. Hicks reported. Diversifying our energy mix with lower cost energy helps ensure Indiana energy costs stay low. In our daily lives, we might not get to see a direct "price drop" in our bills, but we can be confident that by adding renewable energy on the Indiana grid, we are getting the most affordable energy available. As another utility in Indiana, NIPSCO, has pointed out (a company leading the energy transition with ten wind and solar projects under development or operational already), this new renewable energy future will result in over $4 billion in cost savings.
If you follow along with us, you surely know the amazing benefits that this renewable
transition is providing for local communities. After a terribly difficult 2020, these are communities that are finding new revenue to support critical community services for their residents. Dr. Hicks' study projected that each 50MW project would result in over $1 million in new property tax revenue for a local community. That's real money for Hoosiers.