Advocates say an Indiana utility’s plan to delay the installation of new wastewater pollution controls at its largest coal plant is among the first clear effects of President Trump’s aggressive rollback of environmental regulations.
The route ahead for one of Indiana’s largest coal plants is clouded by a lawsuit over a lease and costly pollution control upgrades, but environmental advocates say the destination should be clear: retirement, and soon.
As dozens of states consider adopting fees and less-favorable rates to tilt the scales against net metering, advocates say a proposal in Indiana would offer rooftop solar customers the worst deal in the country. Senate Bill 309, authored by Republican Sen. Brandt Hershman, would end net metering by 2027 at the latest, and earlier than that for new panel installations by customers of utilities that hit caps on net metering capacity. The new rules would require customers to buy all the electricity they consume from the utility at a retail rate while selling everything they generate to the utility at a lower wholesale rate. If the bill passes, Indiana would be the only state in the country with a “buy all, sell all” model that doesn’t credit customers at the full retail rate for the energy they consume from their own solar panels, said Autumn Proudlove, senior policy analyst at the NC Clean Energy Tech Center, which tracks net metering rules around the country. “I don’t think that I’ve seen any other models proposed that would be less financially favorable to solar customers since most of them allow the customers to at least self-consume energy from the system,” she said.
Indiana legislators have introduced a bill that many fear could kill the state’s solar industry by ending net metering and also essentially preventing people from using the energy from their own solar panels.
Indiana coal advocates hope President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-regulation stance will bring a competitive boost to their beleaguered industry. But the state’s utilities have shown they’ll continue moving away from coal, driven by the low price of natural gas and the costs of meeting pollution regulations that won’t be easy to roll back.
A handful of Indiana mayors are talking about how their cities can prepare for and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Four Midwest states rank among the top in the nation for making it easier for corporations to gain better access to wind and solar, according to a report released Tuesday by Advanced Energy Economy.
Advocates who live near the BP refinery outside Chicago say recent fines for pollution violations are “less than a drop in the bucket” for the company.
An Illinois energy expert says the former State Line coal plant near Chicago would be an ideal site for a small modular reactor.
An Indiana lawyer and his wife have filed an objection to a settlement over a controversial coal plant, saying it doesn’t go far enough to protect ratepayers.