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Government / IPBS

House committee amends bill on wind, solar siting, stripping incentives

FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WFIU, WTIU
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Right now, Indiana has a patchwork of local ordinances that make it difficult for something like a wind farm — which can span multiple counties — to be built.

Lawmakers amended a bill to remove incentives for adopting state guidelines on where wind and solar farms can be located. Money from renewable energy projects would have boosted revenues for rural counties and townships.

The original bill, SB 411, would have given counties $1 for every megawatt hour of energy generated by a wind or solar farm, every year for a decade.

But Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) said it wasn’t clear in the bill where that money would come from and that it should probably be part of the state budget. Still, he said it’s important for communities to have state guidance on siting wind and solar farms.

“Almost every company that’s moving to Indiana or wants to move to Indiana wants renewable energy. You can believe in global warming, you can not believe in global warming. There is a market for renewable energy," Soliday said.

Right now, Indiana has a patchwork of local ordinances that make it difficult for something like a wind farm — which can span multiple counties — to be built. The original bill aimed to give renewable energy companies clarity on which areas are open to wind and solar.

READ MORE: Bill encourages counties to be wind and solar friendly — but there's no mandate

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues. Trying to follow along with our coverage of the legislative session? We've compiled all the stories our reporters have published by bill number and topic here.

Caryl Auslander serves as state director for the trade association Advanced Energy Economy. She said the bill is still a good first step to promote renewable energy districts around the state.

“Obviously, we would love for the state to provide an incentive and we'll be working towards this next year to get an incentive package in place during a budget session," Auslander said.

The bill passed out of a House committee on Tuesday and is being considered in the full House.

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.

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