Renewable energy projects could change the landscape of parts of rural Indiana, but whether that’s a change communities should embrace continues to be debated.
Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch serves as Indiana’s secretary of agriculture. “It seems to be a debate between property rights versus quality of life within a community,” she tells WKVI News. “And currently the county commissioners – and I am a former county commissioner – have the ability to weigh in and decide what is best for their communities, and that is what we’re seeing happen all over Indiana.”
What could be one of the largest solar farms in the country will officially break ground in Starke County next month. Actual construction on the first phase of the Mammoth Solar project is expected to begin in January. But the Pulaski County portion of the project was recently the topic of litigation, and a judge determined that the county’s board of zoning appeals failed to adhere to the requirements of the county’s zoning rules.
A bill to replace many of the county-by-county regulations with statewide standards failed during this year’s legislative session, but Crouch doesn’t think that discussion is over. “The debate is ongoing, and I think we will see legislation come back to the General Assembly here in this upcoming session,” she says.
The lieutenant governor says the state’s main goal is to make sure any energy source is resilient, dependable, and affordable.