Will the EPA force BigWind upon us and divide our states?

We would like to think Indiana is a good neighbor, but the EPA may change that relationship. Let us recap…Ohio legislators have ‘frozen’ our renewable energy mandate, for now, while the long-term effects are studied. In the meantime, companies are free to purchase wind energy and Amazon is a perfect example. They have chosen to build offices in Ohio and purchase renewable energy from an industrial wind site in Indiana. However, now the EPA wants to deny utility company credits, under the ‘clean power plan’, if renewable energy is purchased from outside its home state.  How is this a positive mandate for any state?  The USA land with tremendous diversity.   Some states are rich in coal, some in natural gas, others offer more sunshine and wind. If the EPA wants to control ‘where’ wind energy can be sold, it will become a self-limiting/destroying mandate. Our grid simply cannot accommodate the variation in power production (and LACK of it when the wind doesn’t blow), particularly, in states without multiple large cities- states with sparse, rural populations.  The energy needs across our county are simply too diverse.  This mandate will kill the wind industry in some areas and burden it upon others. The states will begin to fight within their own borders, as you can read in other Indiana headlines right now. Some areas are willing to take on more wind industry penetration, while others are saying NO and want greater setbacks etc.    Let us remind you of a famous American quote, “A house divided amongst itself cannot stand…”

…New EPA rules coming down the pike will cut carbon emissions from coal and gas power plants for the first time and boost demand for clean power such as wind. One result: Indiana could see two or three times as many wind farms as it has now.

In its latest projection of U.S. wind energy needs, the federal Department of Energy says only five other states are in line to boost their wind power sectors as much as or more than Indiana.

Indiana has a good shot at tripling its wind power capacity in the next decade or so, from the current 1,744 megawatts to 5,000 or more, says Sean Brady, Midwest policy manager for the wind power advocacy group Wind on the Wires….

Whether wind power actually has that kind of upside, however, depends on a few cards being played just so.

For one thing, not everyone in the public policy arena thinks that wind is the way to go. It is, after all, a variable power source that you can’t rely on to generate the juice when needed. (Indiana’s four-season winds are especially fickle, with a fivefold difference in breeziness between the least windy month, August, and the windiest, November. Regional power grid operator MISO tracks wind power use by the hour and posts it online.)…

One particularly sticky issue: EPA’s proposed “clean power plan” rules don’t give a utility any credit, under the CO2-lowering mandates, for using green energy in its generation portfolio if it buys wind power from outside its home state.

If that proviso stands, Indiana’s wind industry could be hurt because it currently sells the bulk of its power to non-Indiana utilities. They would be newly motivated to drop their Indiana contracts and buy their green energy from wind farms in their own states.

Utilities and other interests are lobbying the EPA to drop the rule giving credit only to home-state-bought green energy. The final EPA rules are expected out this summer. States also will have a say in the matter, so they’ll have to be lobbied, too. (Some states also are fighting the CO2 rules in court.)…

Indiana wind power could get boost from new EPA rules.