Quantcast

Another State Fights War on Solar and Energy Efficiency

Business

Despite poll after poll showing that Americans want more clean energy, Indiana legislators are pushing bills that would reduce energy efficiency and make it harder for Hoosier state residents to go solar, just as the solar industry is getting on its feet in the state.

Last week, Indiana's Senate Utilities Committee heard from a packed room about its bill that would let utilities set energy efficiency goals. Last year the state decided to end the popular Energizing Indiana efficiency program. Now some in the legislature have created Senate Bill 412, which is very one-sided in favor of utilities who sell electricity and doesn't protect the average person from monopoly interests.

Energy efficiency is a proven tool to lower electricity bills and save money for people across the state. Handing control of these programs over to companies that are in the business of selling more electricity jeopardizes Indiana’s progress on energy efficiency.

And many Indiana residents spoke their mind and delivered that message during the hearing.

"We need state leadership that actually leads, engaging all of the state energy providers, community organizations, businesses, landlords and homeowners in a broad partnership that incentivizes broad-based investment in a more efficient, affordable and broadly-distributed energy future, instead of just pitting the utilities in an adversarial role against the ratepayers," said Rich Van Dyke, of the group NESCO, which represents 32,000 residents on the Indianapolis East Side.

People from many backgrounds spoke out against the utility's plan to control energy efficiency goals, including many from the faith community.

"This bill could be improved if it provided for mechanisms to encourage local governments and non-profit groups to develop energy efficiency programs for the poor in their communities," said Jack Hill, a minister in the Secular Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church in Indiana, in his written testimony submitted to the committee. "More than anyone else, the poor must spend extra money to pay for homes that are poorly insulated and appliances that waste too much energy."

HB 1320 is not fair to current and future owners of rooftop solar and small-scale wind, and threatens to drive up costs for all ratepayers—not just those who own solar—by allowing utilities to increase everyone's fixed monthly charges to feed their bottom line.

Sierra Club Indiana activists were part of the coalition of groups testifying, as Indiana Beyond Coal has long been working getting the state to switch to clean energy and energy efficiency.

"Energy efficiency means lower energy bills and less reliance on expensive power plants, creating savings for all Hoosier families and small businesses," said Jodi Perras, Indiana representative for Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "It's time for our elected officials to stand up for the interests and financial security of ordinary Hoosier families by keeping energy efficiency strong and out of the total control of those who sell electricity."

What's more, there's also a bill being proposed that would severely hamper solar's growth in the Hoosier state as well.

Electricity customers in Indiana who use solar power receive credits for selling excess power back to the grid, but HB 1320 would minimize those credits, and allow utilities to set fixed charges for solar users.

Brad Morton, owner of Morton Solar in Evansville, says it would increase the cost to install solar power, effectively killing it as an energy option in Indiana.

"It takes the incentive out of the homeowner's pocket and puts it right into the pocket of the utility company," he says. "That's what this bill is all about, shifting the profits from the homeowner to the utility company."

Indeed, our Indiana experts say this bill is clearly designed to make residential rooftop solar and small-scale wind more expensive, rig the game in favor of electric utility control and restrict residents’ freedom to generate their own electricity.

HB 1320 is not fair to current and future owners of rooftop solar and small-scale wind, and threatens to drive up costs for all ratepayers—not just those who own solar—by allowing utilities to increase everyone's fixed monthly charges to feed their bottom line.

You can help fight for energy efficiency and clean energy in Indiana—take action today!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Solar Is Creating Jobs Nearly 20 Times Faster Than Overall U.S. Economy

Ohio’s Renewable Energy Freeze Threatens Growth of Solar and Wind Investments and Jobs

The War on Solar

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A measure that would fine parents who refuse to vaccinate their children passed Germany's parliament Thursday. Self Magazine / CC BY 2.0

A measure that would fine parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for measles close to $2,800 passed Germany's parliament Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
A flooded St. Mark's square (Piazza San Marco) during a new exceptional high tide on Nov. 15 in Venice, Italy. Simone Padovani / Awakening / Getty Images

The historic "acqua alta" that swamped Venice Tuesday night also flooded the Veneto regional council for the first time, just moments after it had apparently rejected measures to address the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less