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United States

Indiana takes step toward green mandate

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Indiana took a major step last month towards joining the ranks of US states with mandates for the use of renewable energy. The Indiana House voted 77-20 to establish the Indiana Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which would require that 10% of electricity come from in-state renewable energy sources like wind and biomass by 2025. The RES requirement is on par with other mandates in US states -- and it could have been stronger. House debate had at one time included a target year for the 10% of 2017. Either way, says Jesse Kharbanda, with the Indiana Coalition for Renewable Energy and Economic Development (ICREED), if the measure passes it will be a major step to bring Indiana into the wind power game. So far, even though Indiana borders wind friendly Illinois, it has yet to install a single wind power megawatt. "Indiana's great combination of dense transmission infrastructure, excellent wind potential and proximity to big cities like Chicago has drawn the attention of many investors and the Department of Energy's Wind Powering America, which views Indiana as one of its top three priority states in the Midwest," says Steve Aker of White Construction in Vermillion County. The Senate side of the Indiana legislature passed a weaker version of the House policy and now the two must be reconciled by a legislative committee. At least one company is poised to take part in Indiana's market if the law is approved. "A more ambitious time-line for a RES, such as the 2017 proposal, is quite doable in Indiana from both a technical and economic perspective," says Stephen Jones, Midwest Director for wind plant developer Enxco, owned by the French state utility EDF.

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