• Steve Eberly

Renewable Energy – If We Build It

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Remember the iconic line from the 1989 movie “A Field of Dreams?” Protagonist Ray Kinsella hears a voice telling him to build a baseball diamond in his Iowa cornfield. “If you build it, people will come.” Kinsella listens, builds the baseball field, and yes, people did come.

Today, when it comes to renewable energy, Iowa is ready to play ball. Iowa’s biggest single source of energy is provided by wind, 40 percent of all energy generated. . One reason Iowa may be turning to low-cost, renewable energy is that it attracts business and people wanting to take advantage of its benefits.

For Indiana to remain competitive and for our rural communities to survive, Hoosiers need to embrace renewables as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy.

There’s proof of that – with large companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon siting new locations in states where renewable energy is readily available. One example is Amazon’s new fulfillment center planned to open later this year. That center will bring 1,000 new jobs! With its move to renewables, Iowa is saying: if we build it, benefits will come.

In Indiana, large employers like Best Buy, Cummins Inc., Eli Lilly, General Motors and Walmart wrote over a year ago to Governor Holcomb and members of the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task saying, “…we value an affordable and reliable electricity supply. The ability to control energy costs and sources has always been a critical business priority, particularly for energy-intensive industries … We write today to ask that you include renewable energy access as you convene the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force and explore the future of energy in Indiana …”

For Indiana to remain competitive and for our rural communities to survive, Hoosiers need to embrace renewables as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy. We know that if we do that many economic benefits will flow to our communities. A recent Ball State University Study found that:

  • Electricity generation from renewable energy is now lower than the cost of natural gas or coal.

  • Renewable energy projects bring tax revenue, investments and jobs to rural Indiana counties. The projected benefits of a single 50-megawatt solar or wind project includes 250-477 jobs and more than $1 million in property taxes per year.

  • And the benefits of renewables will be widespread across Indiana; coal production is mostly confined to just three counties; renewable energy projects are planned or underway in 33 counties and counting.

As renewables grow, Hoosier energy jobs will increase from 29,000 to 33,000 statewide.

Starting September 17, the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force, comprised of a handful of state Senators and Representatives, will meet to hear from energy experts and debate Hoosier’s energy future, including renewable energy. They need to hear from all of you!

We know, from an Indiana University study, that renewables have broad, bipartisan support. And we know there are immense benefits that will come from these projects, benefits our rural communities desperately need. However, a small but fierce band of renewable opponents are attempting to block Indiana’s transition to a better future. It’s critical our state leaders hear from supporters of renewable energy, like you, so that we can continue to support economic growth.

We need renewable energy in an all-of-the-above energy strategy. No single source of energy is perfect, but renewable energy offers many unique advantages: less expensive than natural gas or coal, and cleaner over its entire lifecycle than fossil fuels. And most importantly, at a time when rural Indiana communities and families are struggling, renewable energy projects pump millions of dollars of revenue into local economies and can do that across more of Indiana than any other power source.

This is what the 21st Century Task Force needs to hear and understand. We know they are hearing from the other side, the naysayers who attempt to throw cold water on anything that smacks of change.

Other midwestern states, like Iowa, are building their renewable energy capability. Hoosiers also need to answer opportunity’s call. If we build it here in Indiana, benefits will come.

Write to the legislators on the 21st Century Task Force today!