Nearly 90 companies in Indiana play some role in renewable energy projects, which bring jobs to the state. But these businesses can’t be as successful without the policies to support them, according to a new report by the Environmental Law & Policy Center.
The ELPC says lately Indiana hasn’t been creating a good business environment for renewable energy. The state opted to phase out net metering last year and eliminated statewide energy efficiency standards in 2014. Chris Rohaly is the president of Green Alternatives Inc., a small solar installation company in Kokomo.
“I’m bidding against companies out of Ohio or Illinois and they — because of the strength of their home markets — are pretty well funded,” he says.
ELPC Clean Energy Business Specialist Tamara Dzubay co-authored the report. She says the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects two renewable energy jobs will grow substantially in the next eight years — but without the right policies, Indiana could miss out on the opportunity.
"Solar energy installation and wind turbine technician jobs cannot be outsourced, so many jobs are there to stay,” Dzubay says.
Among other things, the ELPC suggested developing a statewide energy plan and making it mandatory for utilities to get half of their energy from renewables by 2030.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.