The Hoosier State Is Cooling On Coal

The population of the Hoosier State, Indiana is approximately 6.76 million people[1]. In July  2020, state utilities used coal (57,6%), natural gas (38.3%), and renewable energy (4.1%) to generate electricity[2]. Wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass are the renewable energy sources used in Indiana.

Indiana’s use of natural gas and renewable energy contributes to the state’s below average cost of electricity. In July 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in Indiana was 12.23 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.26 ¢ per kWh.

In May 2011, Indiana enacted the Clean Energy Portfolio Standard[3] which set a voluntary goal of 10% clean energy by 2025 for investor owned, municipal and cooperative utilities. Participating utilities receive an incentive to increase the amount of renewable energy sources in their portfolio.

The cheapest form of power without any financial incentives is onshore wind, followed by solar, and hydropower. The cost for electricity from coal-fueled power plants is more than double the cost of wind energy. Economics are now encouraging Indiana utilities to turn from expensive coal to clean, low-cost renewable energy.

Recent renewable energy developments in Indiana include:

  • 800 MW Wind Projects – Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has announced plans to develop three wind farms which will have a total capacity of 800 MW. The new wind farms will replace the power from NIPSCO’s coal-fired power plants, which are being closed by 2028.
  • 302 MW Wind Project – In August 2020, American infrastructure company, IEA commenced construction on a wind farm in northern Indiana. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 200 MW Solar Project – French utility, Engie has commenced construction on the Emerald Green Solar Farm, which is located approximately 50 miles north of the 50 miles north of the state capital, Indianapolis. The solar project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 200 MW Solar Project – American electric utility, NextEra Energy Resources has commenced construction on the Brickyard Solar Farm, which is located approximately 30 miles northwest of Indianapolis. . The solar project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 150 MW Solar Project – American energy company, Tenaska and Swiss investment firm, Capital Dynamics have received approval from state regulators to build the Ratts 1 Solar Project, which will be located approximately 125 miles southwest of Indianapolis. The solar project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.

 

Indiana legislators have shown little concern about global warming or climate change.  The state’s Clean Energy Portfolio Standard even allows for utilities to meet the clean energy goal with “clean coal.”

Indiana has significant renewable energy potential, including wind, solar, and biomass. The compelling economics of clean green energy over all fossil fuels are causing Indiana’s utilities to cool on coal and move to clean, green low-cost wind and solar. Even climate skeptics like to save money!

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Indiana Population 2020, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency, www.eia.gov

[3] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, April  17, 2020

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