COLUMBUS, Ind. – Officials in nearly two-thirds of Indiana’s 92 counties are opposing a bill that they claim preempts local control for the location of wind and commercial solar projects.
The proposal is HB 1381, authored by State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, who chairs the House Utilities Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
The bill essentially sets state zoning and regulatory standards for commercial wind and solar installations, as well as for the siting of these renewable energy sources. While the measure allows local units of government to come up with more lenient standards, city and counties cannot pass regulations that are more stringent than those established by the state.
One of the co-sponsors of the legislation is Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, who serves as chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee. Koch represents District 44, which includes parts of five townships in Bartholomew County, three townships in southern Monroe County, a large section of western Jackson County, and essentially all of Lawrence and Brown counties
Koch said it’s important to understand that the bill reflects recommendations developed after a two-year study by the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force. Created through the Indiana Office of Energy Development in 2019, the task force was formed to explore the impact that fuel transitions and emerging technologies might have on the state’s electric system.
The task force felt that Indiana, as a state,”was making energy policy very much on an ad hoc and reactive basis, rather than through a coherent policy,” Koch said.
For more on this story, see Sunday’s Republic.
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