A House bill aims to ensure reliable electricity for Indiana as utilities move toward renewable energy sources. It addresses a goal set by the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force.
The bill is based off of a similar law in Michigan. Every year electric utilities would have to show how they plan to provide reliable energy to their customers for the next three years.
If the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission doesn’t feel a utility can meet peak demand times, the utility would have to come up with a plan to bridge that gap — which could include building a new power plant or solar farm.
The bill’s author, Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) said the bill doesn’t favor any one energy source.
“Whether it’s coal, wind, natural gas, or rabbits on a treadmill — it doesn’t matter to us. The bill just assures you have a reliable electricity," he said.
READ MORE: Energy Task Force Says Indiana Should Ensure Reliability, Standardize Laws For Renewables
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Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) worries that could change if the bill gets to the state Senate.
“If our friends in the coal industry try to get something put in the bill that will somehow buffer them from the market forces that are against their industry, I’d be very disappointed by that," he said.
In the past two years, Soliday has put forth bills that would have slowed the transition to energy sources like wind and solar. As of 2019, renewable energy sources only provided about 7 percent of the state's electricity.
The bill passed out of committee and now moves to the full House.
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Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.