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Energy Plan Proposals Coming From Pence And Legislators

U.S. Navy

Legislators and the Pence administration are working on an energy efficiency proposal to replace the dismantled Energize Indiana plan.

Gov. Pence says he’ll propose an energy efficiency plan in his State of the State address next month. And House Utilities and Energy Chairman Eric Koch, R-Bedford, says he’s crafting a plan with his Senate counterpart Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis.

Energize Indiana was created by then-Governor Mitch Daniels in 2009 and repealed by this year’s legislature.

Koch says conditions today are radically different from those which shaped the program five years ago, when natural gas was more expensive and the state was talking up the potential of plant-based fuels.

“Then you had $14 natural gas instead of $3 natural gas, among other things,” Koch said. “At that time we thought we may be seeing another nuclear renaissance, well that’s not happened. We have $2.50 gasoline instead of $4 gasoline.”

Koch also argues Energize Indiana was too much a “one size fits all” program. 

He says the bills he and Merritt introduce will be customized to the differing needs of different utility customers.

Office of Energy Development director Tristan Vance says Indiana has gone from the fifth lowest-cost electricity in the U.S. to the middle of the pack, thanks to a combination of aging power plants and new regulations.

“There’s been a number of federal and environmental roles through the years that have had an impact on our primarily coal-based electrical system,” Vance said. “But there’s also been a number of  issues just in terms of the age of our infrastructure.”

Vance says reducing energy consumption is one key part of trying to reverse that trend.