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Major companies in Indiana, two cities ask utilities to create green tariff program

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Business, Environment, Technology
Green tariff programs allow utility customers that use a lot of energy have part of their bill go towards setting up a local solar or wind farm. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Two Indiana cities and six major companies in the state want AES Indiana and Duke Energy to make it easier for them to get their power from renewables. That’s according to a letter sent Thursday from Indianapolis, Bloomington, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Salesforce, Cummins, Rivian and Roche.

They asked the two utilities to create a green tariff program. It allows utility customers that use a lot of energy to have part of their bill go towards setting up a local solar or wind farm.

Trish Demeter is a managing director with the trade group Advanced Energy Economy — which also signed on to the letter. She said unlike the renewable energy credits that invest in renewables elsewhere, green tariffs fund those projects locally.

“Local jobs, local air pollution improvements, and also just new projects that they can point to and say, ‘Those are the projects that are helping our company or our community meet our renewable energy targets,'” Demeter said.

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Kelly Young is the director of public relations for AES Indiana. She said the utility is still reviewing the letter and plans to respond.

Young wouldn’t say whether the utility will consider creating a green tariff program specifically, but did say that these kinds of discussions are already taking place.

“We are having conversations with customers, our large customers that want to work to advance their sustainability goals and what we can do together,” she said.

Demeter said green tariff programs would likely have to be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Duke Energy couldn’t be reached in time for comment.

Last year, city officials from Bloomington, Carmel, and West Lafayette joined some Indiana lawmakers in a letter to ask Duke Energy to make a faster transition to renewable energy sources. Cities were concerned they wouldn’t reach their goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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