INDIANAPOLIS – Amid President Biden’s trip to Europe this week to discuss climate change with world leaders, experts say Indiana has made some progress implementing renewable energy sources like wind and solar but lags behind other Midwest states.
Some state lawmakers say they’re trying to take action, working to pass more legislation on renewable energy sources.
“In Indiana, there’s been a number of great developments actually,” said Gabriel Filippelli, executive director of the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute.
Filippelli said Hoosiers have likely seen firsthand the progress made on implementing wind and solar energy in Indiana.
According to the Indiana Office of Energy Development, the Hoosier State ranks 12th in the U.S. for the number of wind turbines statewide.
Still, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows as of 2019, Indiana was among the top ten in the nation for carbon dioxide emissions.
“There’s a lot of momentum we’re seeing in the state,” Filippelli said. “There’s not so much momentum at the state government level where they could actually be helping out more than they are now with incentives and regulations.”
State lawmakers from both parties have tried to get significant new legislation passed. Those efforts include a bipartisan bill introduced last session that would have set statewide standards for wind and solar energy projects.
That legislation died after some county officials advocated for more local control.
“I think that there’s still work to be done in terms of making sure that we strike the right balance,” said State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis), who co-authored the bill.
Moed said he still believes lawmakers can get legislation focused on renewable energy passed, adding it’s likely more proposals will be introduced next session.
“I think that there’s a growing consensus that this is the right thing to do and I think it’s more a matter of the devil’s in the details, so just sorting through some of that as we move forward,” Moed said.
Several other challenges remain, including a lack of transitions in place to move communities from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, Filippelli said.
Local governments can take action on their own – and some in Indiana have already done so – to implement their own plans to limit carbon emissions, he added.