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Bill encourages counties to be wind and solar friendly — but there’s no mandate  

Credit:  Rebecca Thiele | WFYI | February 4, 2022 | www.wfyi.org ~~

Lawmakers are making another attempt to set standards for new wind and solar projects in Indiana. But this time, the state isn’t making anything mandatory for local governments.

The bill, SB 411, would allow Indiana counties to be designated as solar or wind ready communities. Counties would adopt the state’s standards – like how far away a wind farm should be from a home. The state would then give those counties a dollar for every megawatt of energy generated by the project, every year for a decade.

A bill proposed last year would have made those state standards mandatory for all counties – to provide consistency for renewable energy companies looking to build in Indiana. The bill caused a lot of controversy for overriding local ordinances and ended up being withdrawn by its sponsor, Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper).

“I don’t know if anybody’s going to want to fight that hill again. I know I don’t,” he said.

Many groups have come out in support of the bill – including the Association of Indiana Counties, the Indiana Farm Bureau, and the Indiana Energy Association.

The Hoosier Environmental Council has problems with just one line. It would allow landowners to veto requirements to cover the ground at a solar farm with pollinator habitat – something some counties have written into their local laws. Tim Maloney is the HEC’s senior policy director.

“It could mean building a solar farm for 20 or more years that is not in the best interest of the county from the vantage point of stormwater control, soil and water conservation, wildlife protection or the aesthetics of the county,” he said.

The bill passed in the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

Source:  Rebecca Thiele | WFYI | February 4, 2022 | www.wfyi.org

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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