LETTER: Indiana should not stifle energy innovation

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We have the technologies today to deliver reliable, clean, homegrown energy for Indiana while saving Hoosiers billions of dollars. The “solutions” proposed by Mr. Robert Turner in his Viewpoint on Nov. 24 [“As winter nears, state must protect reliable coal energy”] would be a barrier to truly reliable, affordable energy in Indiana.

Achieving greater reliability at a lower cost starts with an all-of-the-above strategy that makes use of all the tools at our disposal. That includes wind and solar power, which produce significantly cheaper energy than coal or gas; batteries to help store that energy and dispatch it when the grid needs it most; modern demand-response technologies that empower and reward customers for matching their energy use to periods of excess supply; and investments in energy efficiency that lower our overall demand for electricity and save money by helping Hoosiers do the same with less—because the cheapest most reliable energy is the energy we don’t use at all.

Indiana’s state regulators, utilities and regional grid operators can use all of these technologies together to ensure continued reliability at lower cost to consumers. Clinging too tightly to antiquated technologies only makes Hoosiers more reliant on resources whose prices fluctuate with every new trade tension or global conflict.

At the end of the day, the decision to close a coal plant comes down to risk and expense. Utilities make much of the call on how long their fossil fuel plants are profitable for shareholders. But the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has a duty to ensure Hoosiers aren’t on the hook for unnecessary expenses.

Asking the IURC to stand in utilities’ way and force them to continue operating uneconomical power plants at the expense of their ratepayers and communities would be foolish when we have alternatives at hand to boost reliability without the risk.•

__________

Trish Demeter,
managing directorAdvanced Energy United

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