Indiana Needs to Board the Renewables Bandwagon or We Risk Being Left Behind
Just how many kinds of fuel are really needed to provide reliable electric service to our Indiana homes, industries, farms, schools, healthcare facilities? It can be a mind-numbing discussion. Thankfully, there are hundreds of folks who work every day to figure out the best, most affordable and efficient energy mix for electricity customers throughout Indiana.
"...the cost of generating electricity with wind has dropped 70% in the past decade. The same study says the cost of utility-scale solar energy generation has dropped 89%..."
The short answer is that delivering affordable and reliable electricity to the over 2 million households and several hundred thousand businesses across the state requires a variety of fuel sources.
Over time, the energy mix across America has changed dramatically. Twenty years ago, coal was used to generate half of the country’s electricity. Today, natural gas dominates the U.S. power generation mix, and wind and solar has continued to increase. And big surprise to me: the U.S. Energy Information Agency announced at the end of last month that they expect generation from renewables to soon pass coal and nuclear. Who knew?!
Time passes, things change, and change brings new opportunities and challenges. Indiana is behind many states in adding wind and solar to generate electricity and the time is now for Hoosiers to get on the bandwagon or we’re going to be left behind.
Like many things, decisions often come down to cost. One of the reasons that natural gas dominates the generation mix across the U.S. (and in 2018 was used to generate about one-fifth of Indiana’s electricity) is that it is low cost. Similarly, a big reason wind and solar are rapidly gaining popularity is they are very affordable and now cost-competitive.
Nationally, the latest Lazard Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis shows that the cost of generating electricity with wind has dropped 70% in the past decade. The same study says the cost of utility-scale solar energy generation has dropped 89%, largely because of the cost of components has declined.
We Hoosiers pride ourselves on our common sense. Continuing to add affordable homegrown wind and solar to coal and natural gas to generate electricity makes a lot of sense to me.