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.