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The United States overtook Germany as the biggest producer of wind power last year, and will likely take the lead in solar power this year.  U.S. wind power capacity surged 50 percent last year to 25 gigawatts – enough to power more than five million homes. “Governments must send a strong and unequivocal signal that the age of fossil fuels is over,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council.

This is great news for the U.S., but what does it mean for Indiana?  Is Indiana ready to jump into the green technology movement?  Can coal-dependent Indiana benefit from a shift to wind, solar or other green energy source?

Unfortunately, on wind power, the answer is probably no.  In order for an area to have suitable wind energy potential for wind turbine applications, it needs to have class 3 or greater annual average wind power.  Taking a look at a map of Indiana’s average wind power, it’s pretty apparent that, apart from Gary and areas bordering Lake Michigan, there just isn’t a lot of wind blowing here.  Class 1 and 2 wind power dominates the state map.

This doesn’t mean that technology won’t someday allow lower wind powers to be harnessed, but it does mean that current wind power providers are going to look outside Indiana for initial investment.  Indiana is not poised to be a breeding ground for new wind technology.

Notwithstanding wind power, Indiana does tout other renewable energy resources that can be tapped, such as clean, competitive, low-carbon energy, solar, biomass and geothermal energy.  The Green Jobs Development Act, comprised of two bills (Senate Bill 283 and House Bill 1349), is currently making its way through both Indiana legislative branches.  Listed below is a summary of the Act’s main points:

Click here for the full fact sheet, which additionally sets out how the Green Jobs Development Act will create new jobs and what happens with coal energy, on which Indiana is currently 96% dependent.  If you want to improve the chances of the Green Jobs Development Act being heard and passed, contact either (or both) of the Chairmen of the House Utilities and Senate Utilities Committees.  Email Chairman Win Moses (h81@in.gov) of the Indiana House about HB 1349 and Chairman James Merritt of the Indiana Senate (s31@in.gov) about SB 283.