Indiana looks to establish statewide renewable development regulations


Indiana legislators have advanced a bill that would standardize development regulations for wind and solar projects statewide, superseding any existing county or regional standards.

The bill, H.B.1381, passed 58-38 in the state House and will now move on to the Senate. The bill was sponsored by state Rep. Ed Soliday, a Republican from Valparaiso.

Most notably, the bill would open up development in the 32 Indiana counties that previously enacted bans on renewable power projects. Outside of that provision, the bill also includes setback and height requirements, a ground cover mandate, prefunding of decommissioning costs, and an obligation to minimize interference with roads and wireless signals.

According to Soliday, the bill was passed not in an effort to push more counties to develop renewable projects or to cut the state’s emissions, but to help Indiana establish a renewable market rather than force interested energy buyers to look to other states to fill their needs.

“This is not the Green New Deal, and you won’t see that coming from me,” Soliday told local press. “The Green New Deal sets renewable requirements; we’re not doing that.”

While this bill may not directly bring a wave of new solar development to the Hoosier state, it at least makes the process of doing so somewhat easier. As it currently stands, Indiana is about middle of the pack for installed solar capacity as a state, with the state’s 475 MW of installed solar good for 23rd in the nation, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The future looks a lot brighter than average, however, as SEIA predicts that the state will add 3,045 MW over the next 5 years, good for 10th in the country over that time. A significant portion of this capacity will be coming from Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO), as the company has announced it will be bringing an additional 900 MW of capacity online by 2023, across just three projects.
NIPSCO also announced three large requests for proposals in the fall, one of which seeks to add 2.3 GW of solar plants coupled with energy storage.

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