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DailyEnergyInsider: Amended Indiana Coal Proposal Better Suited to Investor-Owned Utilities

Posted by Kim Riley on Feb 28, 2020

DailyEnergyInsider covered the Indiana Senate's amendments to HB1414 (that AEE opposes) noting AEE's perspective on closures of uncompetitive coal power plants and quoting AEE's Caryl Auslander. Read excerpts below and the entire DailyEnergyInsider piece here. 

A controversial Indiana bill that investor-owned utilities denounced for potentially increasing ratepayers’ power costs and extending the life of coal-powered electricity, on Thursday passed a state Senate committee with significant changes they find more favorable. House Bill 1414, authored by Republican state Rep. Edmond Soliday, chairman of the state’s energy task force, on Feb. 27 garnered passage by the Indiana Senate Utilities Committee, 8-2, thanks to an amendment authored by GOP state Sen. Jim Merritt, chairman of the Utilities Committee...

Among the changes to HB 1414 made by Merritt’s amendment is one to hasten the expiration of the date of the bill from May 2021 to Dec. 31, 2020, for utilities to phase out coal-based power generation. The original date in HB 1414 prompted critics to cite it as a “coal bailout” bill that would have delayed plant retirements, which already are being driven by the increased use of alternative energy sources. For instance, according to Advanced Energy Economy, the state’s coal plants are expected to close as they become uncompetitive with more cost-effective advanced energy resources, including wind, solar, storage, and demand-side resources. In fact, coal mines in Indiana already are closing down quickly, according to several groups, with the state having 26 active coal-burning power units in 2010 compared to just 13 in 2016...

In turn, numerous groups came out in opposition to HB 1414, including Indiana’s five investor-owned utilities through the Indiana Energy Association, as well as Advanced Energy Economy, the Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy, the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP, and the Sierra Club, among others.

“HB 1414 is a bad deal for Indiana businesses and consumers,” said Caryl Auslander, policy director at Advanced Energy Economy. “It interferes with free-market competition and it will cost Hoosiers more for electricity.” But now that HB 1414 is on the Senate side of the Indiana General Assembly, the committee’s amended version seems to have swayed some of the former critics...

Read the entire DailyEnergyInsider piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News