Chesterton Tribune



Indiana House rejects proposed ban on new power plants

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana House has stripped language from a bill that would have temporarily banned the opening of new, large power plants even as Indiana’s utilities increasingly move away from coal-fired power generation.

A House panel proposed the amendment this month, but the full House voted to remove the language Thursday following outcry from utilities, environmentalists and consumer groups, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Rep. Matt Pierce, the amendment’s sponsor, noted no other industry faces such suspensions and that delaying the move to cleaner power would cause energy companies to invest in other states.

Critics said the ban was an attempt to delay the retirement of aging, coal-fired generating units that could be replaced with renewable energy and natural gas.

A provisional halt was necessary while the state tried to figure out whether the industry’s shift from coal and toward cleaner energy would throw the electrical grid out of balance or cause electricity reliability problems, said Rep. Ed Soliday, a supporter of the moratorium.

In recent months, two major utilities, Northern Indiana Public Service Co., based in Merrillville, and Vectren Corp., based in Evansville, announced plans to move away from coal.

The amendment should likely end postponements to renewable energy projects across the state, according to the Hoosier Environmental Council.

“It means that jobs-producing, sustainable-minded energy projects, like those in northwest Indiana, will likely move forward in a very timely manner,” said Jesse Kharbanda, the group’s executive director. He added that it would help Indiana “remain in the game in the U.S. renewable energy investment boom."




Posted 4/15/2019




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