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As the cost of solar and other renewable resources falls, more and more utilities across the country are diversifying their resource mix with clean energy. This shift is more polarizing in Indiana than in most other states because the coal industry makes up a significant portion of the workforce.

Indiana Utilities are Investing in Renewables

AEP Energy

Ohio-based AEP Energy signed a long-term renewable energy purchase agreement in May 2021 for power from a massive 1,400-megawatt (MW) solar farm in northern Indiana. The project spans over 12,000 acres in Starke and Pulaski counties.

AES Indiana

As part of a commitment to expand its energy generation resources, AES Indiana has invested in several solar projects across the state, which are either already in operation or currently under development. One such project is a 20 MW solar farm at the Indianapolis International Airport completed in 2015. There’s also the recently acquired 195 MW solar project in Clinton County, which is expected to begin operation in 2023.Along with investing in solar, AES has also stated it will retire two of its four coal-burning units at Petersburg Generating Station by 2023. The utility has also stopped using coal at two other plants.

Vectren Energy

In 2018, Vectren Energy announced that it would shut down three coal plants by 2023, effectively retiring 730 MW of coal-fired power. In their place, Vectren plans to open a 460 MW combined-cycle natural gas plant and invest in 700 to 1,000 MW of solar, among other renewables.

Vectren’s decision comes despite proposed legislation to place a moratorium on new resources replacing coal-fired power. That particular bill failed in 2019, but a highly contested bill from early 2020 passed, making coal plants in the state more difficult to retire. This political pressure simply wasn’t enough to sway Vectren in light of economic and environmental signs that renewable energy is the future.

When this utility provider announced plans to diversify its energy resources in 2018, its generation portfolio was 78% coal-fired and 10% renewable energy. By 2025, the mix will be 12% coal and 64% renewables. This change is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 75% lower than 2005 levels by 2035 and save consumers up to $320 million over the next 20 years.

Duke Energy Renewables Solar LLC

Duke Energy Renewables Solar LLC, a division of Duke Energy, plans to build a $180 million solar farm in western Indiana. The 175 MW Hoosier Jack Solar project will be located on 1,500 acres of a reclaimed coal strip mine in southern Vigo County and northern Sullivan County. It is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 35,000 homes. The land, currently being used to grow crops, will be leased out by the owner and outfitted with solar panels. Construction is slated for 2023.

As a Landowner, Now is the Time to Act!

As energy resources continue to shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewables, situations like these are popping up in Indiana and across the country. If you’re a landowner, and you think your property could be a good match for solar development, now is the time to act! You can lease your land to a utility-scale solar developer and make many times more money than you could by growing crops.

Still, it’s important to know that not all developers are created equal. You may not want to sign on the dotted line with the first company that comes knocking. But how can you tell which opportunity is right for you?

That’s where NLR Solar comes in. We are experts in utility-scale solar developments and can help you navigate the process. Let us ensure that your land is fully vetted and help you pair up with the perfect partner for your solar development project.

We would be happy to help you navigate the process, ensuring you partner with the best developer for the job. Contact us today for a free evaluation.


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