Indiana Getting Greener

The current population of the state of Indiana is estimated to be 6.73 million. In October 2018, the state utilities used fossil fuels (93.6%) and renewable energy (6.4%) to generate electricity. Coal was the primary fossil fuel and wind energy is the primary renewable energy.

The state’s use of natural gas has offset the high cost of coal to keep electricity costs near the average price in the United States. In October 2018, the average cost of electricity in Nevada was U.S. 12.4 ¢ per kWh, which is the 27th most expensive price in the United States. The escalating prices for fossil fuels is causing Indiana utilities to move to renewable energy.

Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has announced plans to close all of its coal-fired power plants by 2028. The company has also committed to using renewable energy to replace all the coal-fired power plants. NIPSCO is an electric and natural gas utility, headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana, NIPSCO is a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., one of the largest regulated utilities in the United States.

Economics is the primary reason for NIPSCO’s decision to abandon coal for renewable energy. An independent study by the Lazard Bank in 2015 showed that the cost of electricity with onshore wind farms is approximately half the cost of electricity with coal-fueled power plants. Violet Sistovaris, NIPSCO president stated that the move from coal-fueled power plants to wind energy will save customers an estimated $4 billion over the long term.

Indiana utilities have been slow to move to renewable energy, unlike utilities in the Great Plains states. In my opinion, the move from coal-fueled power plants to renewable energy will continue to gain speed. Global warming and air quality aside, the economics of renewable energy are compelling.

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