• Steve Eberly

Renewable Energy Costs Have Plummeted, and that’s Great News for Indiana

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Those who work in renewable energy know about a profound change in the cost of generating electricity with wind and solar sources. Now, a new study just completed by economist and Ball State University professor Dr. Michael J. Hicks shows just how dramatically and quickly the landscape is changing for the better.

Dr. Hicks illustrates an economic transformation underway in Indiana due to the plummeting cost of renewable energy. The Hicks study shows that using wind and solar power to generate electricity costs less than either coal or natural gas.

I have followed Dr. Hicks work in economics since 2008, when I attended my first orientation to economic development in Indiana at an educational session hosted at Ball State. At that time, my home county was being considered for a wind energy project. I learned the term “power purchase agreement,” among a myriad of other terms related to energy. Back in ‘08, the use of renewable energy, mostly from power purchase agreements with out of state developments, was driven by environmental factors. Indiana was purchasing energy that had to come to us from outside our borders.

Today renewables are less expensive than fossil fuel. The Hicks study shows that over the last decade, wind energy costs have dropped from $135 to $40 per megawatt hour. Over the same period, solar energy prices have dropped even faster -- from $369 per megawatt hour to $40 per megawatt hour! And more and more, we are producing it locally, providing a host of other opportunities. That’s remarkable progress, and I think it points the way for the future.

Our mix of power generation is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. We are witnessing this as more and more Indiana renewables projects are completed. Renewable energy projects are generating power or being planned in 33 Indiana counties. Hoosier counties that either have a wind or solar project or are making plans for one. For those of us following the renewable energy industry, we now have a fantastic new source of information that supports our cause, and from my seat this news allows us to celebrate how renewables are leading the way to the future.

Learn more about the Hicks Study