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Access To Green Energy Will Keep Indiana Attractive To Businesses

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Business, Environment, Government
Solar panels on the roof of the IKEA furniture store in Fishers. Economic experts that spoke with the state's energy task force said more companies are looking to be located in states that can help them meet their sustainability goals. (Google Maps)
Solar panels on the roof of the IKEA furniture store in Fishers. Economic experts that spoke with the state's energy task force said more companies are looking to be located in states that can help them meet their sustainability goals. (Google Maps)

If Indiana wants to attract certain businesses, the state will have to help them go green. That’s what speakers representing economic development organizations told members of the state’s 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force.

Ian Nicolini is the vice president of Indianapolis Economic Development for the Indy Chamber. He said companies want to be sure the city can help them achieve their sustainability goals — especially technology companies and other advanced industries.

“Considerations of things like utility rates don’t rank as high as reliability and the sources of energy — and that is an increasingly shifting trend,” Nicolini said.

Some companies that are already located in the state are particularly concerned about cost, however. Rachel Hazaray works for Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette — the facility supplies half the vehicles for Subaru’s North American market and has plans to expand.

She said Subaru is concerned about the rising cost of electricity from inefficient existing sources of energy like coal. Hazaray said just like other global companies, Subaru is also facing pressure from customers and investors to become more sustainable.

It has a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 percent in the next 10 years.

“Flexibility to access and incorporate sustainable generation will ensure Subaru can meet its sustainability goals and move in a manner that minimizes cost for all ratepayers,” Hazaray said.

Business that can’t meet those goals through their utility may decide to buy renewable energy certificates or generating their own renewable energy.

Representatives with the Indiana Energy Association and Duke Energy also said making more sites energy-ready would make the state more attractive to businesses. Reliability was also mentioned as a top priority.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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.