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IndyStar: 34 Indiana Counties Restrict Wind, Solar Projects. Lawmakers are Pushing a Bill to Override Them.

Posted by Sarah Bowman and London Gibson on Mar 10, 2021

IndyStar highlights an Indiana bill placing statewide standards on wind and solar projects, quoting AEE’s Caryl Auslander on the need for expanded wind and solar generation in Indiana as localities resist. Read excerpts below and the full story here.

The roads in Henry County, Indiana, were dotted with signs protesting projects locals say will infringe on their rights and their quality of life: wind turbines. 

The county is one of 34 around the state with ordinances that restrict wind and solar projects, or prohibit their construction altogether. Residents in these counties fear the projects, if too close to their homes, will tank property values as well as inconvenience the lives of those who live near them…

State lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would create consistent statewide standards for how close wind and solar projects can be located to other properties. This would overrule the county ordinances that have tried to stop them, including Hamilton and Hendricks counties, which have restrictive ordinances…

Residents from other counties, such as Whitley and Madison Counties, have also spoken in opposition of the bill. Hamilton County and Hendricks County also have restrictive ordinances, and Boone County has a moratorium on construction, said Caryl Auslander with the Indiana chapter of Advanced Energy Economy... 

There is serious demand for these projects in Indiana, Auslander said.

As utilities across Indiana and the country transition away from coal and other fossil fuels, they are “looking to add significantly more wind and solar to their portfolios over the next 20 years” to generate that electricity — “not for environmental reasons, but to lower cost,” Auslander said. Utilities, along with manufacturers and industries, are also receiving significant demand from customers and corporate boardrooms to move toward clean energy. 

“So we as a state want to be supportive,” Auslander said. “We want to make sure we are removing burdensome red tape to move toward a generation transition as seamlessly as possible.”…

There is a lot of money on the table, Auslander said: "The need has never been greater."

According to a recent report from Advanced Energy Economy, Indiana would see more than 25,000 new jobs and $5 billion in new investment in the next ten years if it met the demand for renewable energy in the state…

Read the full story here.

Topics: AEE In The News