The Hoosiers We Met and What They Taught Us About Renewables
How does one measure progress? Despite the pandemic of 2020 we have made tremendous steps to advance renewable energy in Indiana.
In 2020, Hoosiers learned that renewable energy projects will invest more than $3.5 billion into their communities as these projects move forward. That’s well over $200 million in local revenue for our counties and schools over the next few decades. While 2020 has been an incredible expansion year, there’s room for more growth in Indiana. Our Indiana electric providers want a greater proportion of renewable energy in their portfolios. Their customers – from you, me, and our neighbors to Subaru, Cummins, and their colleagues – desire more power from renewable energy.
Often progress is measured by size and scale – how big, how many, and how much. We have made some great strides, and the numbers I reference reflect that. While these are valuable measures of advancement today, another way is to explore the network of Hoosiers supporting renewable energy. As I reflect on all the fantastic people we’ve met over the past year, it’s clear that Hoosiers share a common vision for Indiana’s economic and energy future.
Meet just a few of these Hoosiers:
Greg Beumer, leader and advocate for Randolph County and former state representative, Ceann Bales, Director of Economic Development for Randolph County, and Paul Jackson, Economic Development Director for Benton County, who told us how renewables are helping provide access to broadband across their counties.
Shweta Singh, Purdue Assistant Professor in Agriculture and Biological Engineering who shared her study about how renewables could benefit states like Indiana.
Dr. Michael Hicks, Ball State Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business Research, who taught us that renewables are now less expensive than coal or natural gas and provided estimates on how communities will benefit economically as renewables grow in Indiana.
John Roudebush, Program Chair of Energy Programs at Ivy Tech College, whose students are excited about the opportunity for careers they see in wind and solar.
Donnie Bowsman, Superintendent of Randolph Southern School Corporation, who showed us how local economic development payments from renewables can improve rural schools.
Trent Dishman, farmer in Henry County, who, along with his sons, fully understand the benefits of landowner cash payments from a renewables project. The influx of revenue represents financial stability and sustainability from the logical use of their land. Thank you Trent for your eloquent and vocal testimony at the Henry County hearings.
Connie and I had no idea at the outset that the Hoosiers for Renewables venture would enable us to meet so many individuals passionately committed to the progress of renewables in Indiana. While we highlight a few names today, we now have tens of thousands of Indiana residents who have signed on to support renewable energy as a common sense and financially prudent way to move Indiana forward.
Thanks to everyone and let’s all look forward to a fantastic 2021!