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Ind. bill would give counties more flexibility to access 'solar-, wind-ready community' incentives

A row of energy-generating windmills
Ben Thorp
/
WBAA
Communities that adopt state guidelines for renewable energy projects can get one dollar for every megawatt hour of energy generated by those projects, every year for a decade. The money would come from federal grants rather than taxpayer dollars.

A state law says counties that have wind or solar ordinances more restrictive than state guidelines can’t access state incentives. But a new state House bill, HB 1278, would let counties that nearly meet the guidelines get them too.

Communities that adopt state guidelines for renewable energy projects can get one dollar for every megawatt hour of energy generated by those projects, every year for a decade. The money would come from federal grants rather than taxpayer dollars.

Ryan Hadley directs the Indiana Office of Energy Development. He said some counties have laws that align closely with state guidelines, but are technically more restrictive — so they can’t qualify for the incentives.

“One county has an ordinance that meets all of the existing model ordinance requirements, but requires wind energy systems to be certified by an engineer. Another county requests a safety and security plan for solar farms," Hadley said.

The bill would allow the OED to designate counties as wind- or solar-ready communities as long as their ordinances don’t differ significantly from industry or regulatory standards — or pose a big barrier to developing renewable energy projects.

The bill passed unanimously out of committee and now heads to the full House for consideration.

Only two Indiana residents — who are opposed to locating solar or wind projects in their communities — spoke in opposition.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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