• Steve Eberly

The Future of Renewable Energy - a Hoosier Outlook

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Earth Day 2020 Update: Since January we’ve become even more excited about the future of renewable energy in Indiana. Purdue has released a study detailing many of the local economic benefits renewables deliver to our communities. Major employers, like GM, have announced transitions to renewables (Joining Honda in an earlier announcement). Discussions are moving forward on renewables in Porter County and Lake County. Projects in Richmond and South Bend reached milestones, and three projects have been completed in Merrillville. Meanwhile projects continue to move forward in Benton, Warren, White and Randolph counties.

Original Post:

In my last post, I discussed the exciting outlook for renewable energy nationwide. And in Indiana we will see that growth. Wind and solar energy will continue to be a key player in driving local economic opportunity.

This was driven home to me in a real way this week, when I attended a Warren County planning meeting for a new $20 million elementary school. It’s exciting to think that our kids will have new school as they enter kindergarten or first grade. And it’s the expanded tax base from the Jordan Creek Wind Project that will increase the chances of that school becoming a reality. Renewable energy means more than just megawatts -- it’s opportunity for our kids.

Local improvements in our Hoosier communities is a wonderful tale being told in Indiana where renewable projects are moving ahead. Don’t just take my word for it – watch Chalmers Town Manager Faith Willoughby talk about what renewable energy has done for her town. Or hear what this farmer from White County has to say about these projects.

It’s clear that renewable energy projects generate large tax gains for their communities, supporting services and reducing the burden on local taxpayers.

Can we expect renewables to continue to grow in Indiana, just like they are across the county?

According the Solar Energy Industry Association, growth projections for Indiana “large scale” solar is now 1,799 megawatts over the next five years. That is an amazing 65.8% increase over the original 2019 five-year projection (which was 1,085 megawatts.). That reflects a massive investment in Indiana, producing homegrown power and supporting local economies.

Note the map of renewables projects at near start or underway in Indiana. And this is only projects I am aware of. Please let us know if there’s a project in your community we should add.

I remain confident that more projects will continue to be announced as the tremendous demand for renewable power generation continues. NIPSCO alone has announced a “request for proposals” to build out 2,300 megawatts of solar or solar that is paired with electricity storage. And it’s not just NIPSCO, the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) has nine solar parks currently under construction and another eight in the planning phase.

I am excited for the next decade of renewable growth for us Hoosiers. It’s going to be great.