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Hoosiers Rally For Renewable Energy Policies In Indiana

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Environment, Government, Technology
Renewable energy advocates at the 2019 Renewable Energy Day rally. (Rebecca Thiele/IPB News)
Renewable energy advocates at the 2019 Renewable Energy Day rally. (Rebecca Thiele/IPB News)

Eight organizations rallied at the statehouse Wednesday for policies that support renewable energy in Indiana.

They’re backing a House Bill 1331 that prevents homeowners associations from banning solar installations, forcing property owners to remove them, or making unreasonable restrictions on them.

Environmentalists also oppose House Bill 1470 that would allow utilities to more quickly recover the cost of certain projects from customer’s bills. They say it’s been the subject of state court battles where utilities got money for projects that weren’t part of their initial plans.

Though some renewable energy legislation failed to advance this session, speakers at the rally told attendees not to give up hope.

“We need to remember that we’ve been faced with very challenging situations in the past in this country and we’ve met them,” says Janet McCabe with Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute.

McCabe cited how switching to unleaded gasoline quickly brought down children’s blood lead levels.

Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) says he’s not ready to give up on a bill that would give people with solar panels more money for delivering excess energy to the grid.

The bipartisan bill didn’t get a hearing in the Senate utilities committee. It’s chaired by Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) who passed the original law to phase down net metering. But Ford says he’s going to try to add the language of his bill into a House amendment.

“I reject the General Assembly’s attempt and inability to accept legislation that will better support renewable energy,” he says.

Several speakers at the rally talked about the role renewable energy plays in public health and in bringing jobs to the state.

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.