An energy plan we can all back

Dateline: Wed 09 Aug 2006

This just in from Dave Menzer at Citizens Action Coalition....

Bi-Partisan Coalition Calls on the Governor to Include

A Renewable Electricity Standard in the Governor's Energy Plan

August 8, 2006--Today, the Indiana Coalition for Renewable Energy and Economic Development (ICREED), consisting of elected officials, corporations, advocacy groups, and economic development organizations, urged Governor Daniels to include a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) in his energy plan, to be released this Friday.

Indiana Rural Development Council (IRDC) Chairman Bill Graham said, "We strongly believe that bold public policies are required to solve the energy problems facing the nation and the state and that renewable energy is a key building block of any state's energy policy and economic development strategy. We would greatly encourage the Governor to consider supporting the passage of an RES in the next legislative session."

A Renewable Electricity Standard entered into the Indiana public debate in early January of this year, when Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) and Rep. Dale Grubb (D-Covington) introduced a bill that would call for 10% of Indiana's electricity to come renewable energy by 2016. Senator Richard Lugar and Representative Pete Visclosky issued a strong public endorsement of that bill on January 25. The bill is now set for review by the Indiana General Assembly's RegFlex committee; hearings have not been set, but will most likely take place in early September.

If Indiana adopted Rep. Lehe's RES bill, ICREED states that:

1. Between $6 to $9 billion dollars in investment would flow to Indiana.

2. Several thousand jobs would be created.

3. Indiana farmers would get anywhere between $4000 and $9000 per year for every commercial-scale wind turbine installed on their land.

Benton County Commissioner Jim Hasser points out, "States like Texas have used an RES to catapult themselves into some of the largest renewable energy markets in the world."

ICREED noted that the Governor did initiate an Alternative Electricity Task Force, presumably to study -- among other things -- an RES, but that the Task Force, despite a promising beginning, has met only once.

"The Governor has done a great job advancing renewable energy initiatives by promoting Biotown in White County and drawing in investors to build biofuel plants," says Doug Morehouse, President of White County Farm Bureau, Inc. "Those initiatives are not, however, enough by themselves to develop a thriving and effective sector in the state. They will not have any serious impact on tackling the problems of rising energy costs and our over-reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels. It is time for the Governor to take the next step and join the already 20 states that have adopted a Renewable Electricity Standard."

"We must together work to create a job-creating, technologically driven economy in Indiana," says bill co-sponsor Rep. Don Lehe. "A key component of realizing that goal is leveraging investment in renewable electricity-generating sources of power to diversify our energy sources and strengthen Indiana's economy."

Chairman of the Indiana Rural Development Council (IRDC)'s Mayor Bill Graham, said, "Let's hope that in the strategic plan to be released on Friday, the Governor embraces a historic opportunity to be remembered as someone who took the foresighted step of taking on both Indiana's enormous energy challenges and Indiana's need for a dynamic new economic sector by supporting a Renewable Electricity Standard."

The ICREED link is www.indianacleanpower.org

comments: ruth@ruthholladay.com

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