Letter: Empower Hoosier energy consumers

When lawmakers returned to the Statehouse last month for Organization Day, the building was filled with thousands of advocates who want elected officials to hear their concerns. It would be easy in all of that action to overlook an issue that affects every single Hoosier household: energy policy.

In recent years, Hoosier consumers have been hit hard by increasing utility rates, and they often feel helpless in the face of a monopoly power company with total control over the energy they consume.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There are clean-energy alternatives such as residential solar that lawmakers could help Hoosiers access—a move that would lower bills, support good-paying local jobs, and improve the quality of our air and drinking water.

For the past three sessions, I’ve pushed for legislation that would prevent homeowners associations from restricting the placement or use of solar panels. This would help expand residential solar and protect property rights; it’s a relatively small step on a much bigger path that should include more incentives for Hoosiers to embrace clean energy and invest in the power of the sun.

The Indiana 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and experts, convened earlier this year to address the state’s energy future and make recommendations for policies that will help move Indiana forward.

They’ve heard from utilities, coal and gas interests and companies that consume massive quantities of energy. They haven’t really heard from Hoosiers like me and you—everyday energy consumers who are sick of rate hikes and want to explore other options.

While customer-owned energy resources like rooftop solar, battery storage and electric vehicles are taking off in other states across the country, Indiana risks being left behind if our policymakers continue to look backward at 20th century energy technologies.

For those looking to learn more and get involved, the Indiana Solar Congress, a free conference for those interested in solar energy, will take place on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis.

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Joey Myles

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One thought on “Letter: Empower Hoosier energy consumers

  1. If common sense is used I’m in favor of solar. Solar is like many things, it’s not for everyone and every location. Most homes are older and the roof line of many isn’t large enough nor facing south. If you use common sense at all you won’t put solar on a residential shingled roof. The majority of residential lots simply are not large enough to be practical. A parking garage is a reasonable size building and many get large amounts of direct sun light. E & W highway Right-of-Ways have stretches that face south. One drawback for along roads is far to often vehicles get off the pavement.

    IPL thru its parent company, IMPA, Hoosier Energy, Duke, NextEra, NiSource have proven it works in Indiana. What needs to take place is to make it easier for small utilities and REMC’s to get back in to generating using solar.

    (1) Doing so will ease the load on the GRID.
    (2) Money for a small utility has always been an issue. If small utilities had just 5 to 10 percent of their load covered by solar they could keep the dollars that leaves the area every month under their PPA.
    (3) Long term local solar would help control rate increases.
    (4) Solar at ground level can be up with a few men and a backhoe by local contractors.
    (5) Our Federal Gov’t is offering millions upon millions towards energy research. Take a look at what our 17 National Laboratories are doing research on.

    I mentioned common sense. There must be some guidelines at the state level.

    Note: It’s unfortunate that the Dec. 7th meeting of the Indiana Solar Congress was not better publicised.

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