• Connie Neininger

Indiana Has More Room on Our Grid for Renewable Energy

Updated: Sep 20

“MISO concludes up to 50% renewable-power penetration ‘achievable’ on its system”

There is a lot of talk about the power grid and reliability in the last few weeks, which should be of interest to every person. However, most of us – including me – care the most that when we flip our light switch, our lights turn on. We expect the “powers that be,” and yes, the pun is intended, to take care of the details.

We can add more renewable energy while still maintaining a reliable system.

Many of you may have heard the name MISO, which is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. I call them the traffic cops of electricity. They control who puts power on the grid and where it goes when needed. They understand the whole system and what is required to keep our lights bright, the heat on during the middle of winter, and our air conditioning running when the temperature gets too hot.

A few weeks ago, MISO released a big report, the Renewable Integration Impact Report (RIIA), that says there is more room on the grid for renewable energy than they reported in the past. The best part is we can add more renewable energy while still maintaining a reliable system. You might often hear this mythical idea that wind and solar aren’t reliable or will somehow threaten the grid. Well, MISO is telling us a different story.

While it’s not yet feasible to rely on renewable energy to handle all of our energy needs, it’s good to see that the organization that manages the electric grid thinks there is more capacity available to have a sustainable mix of energy sources. Of course, as Hoosiers, we should be practical. But there’s no denying that the economics have changed and that renewable energy technology continues to evolve.

MISO’s RIIA report states that up to 50% of renewable energy is achievable on our grid system while still maintaining a reliable electric system. Of course, to do this, there needs to be careful planning – and that’s exactly what MISO, along with its state partners, like the IURC, already do. Today, the entire MISO region, which covers multiple states, is only at 13% renewable energy generation. Indiana isn’t even at 10%, so we have plenty of room to grow. The good news from the MISO report is that the electrical distribution system – “The Grid” – has ample capacity to absorb the new opportunities from wind and solar.

What does this mean for you and me? It means we can enjoy the greater benefits of low-cost and clean renewable energy while remaining confident that the lights will come on when we flip that light switch. It means when my home county, White, approves a new wind farm and we get another $15 million or so in new tax revenue, we can feel good that we are helping our county, helping our state, and helping our environment, while keeping our power flowing reliably.