Indiana is primed to be a renewable energy hub for the U.S., according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). ‘A Clean Energy Economy for Indiana: Analysis of the Rural Economic Development Potential of Renewable Resources’ says wind power, biomass and other sources of renewable energy will bring significant job creation, economic investment and new tax revenues to Indiana's struggling rural communities.
‘Within Indiana's borders are vast resources of wind, land and water – all the ingredients needed for Indiana to become a national leader in new energy development, creating tens of thousands of good jobs and substantial new sources of income for farmers,’ says Pierre Bull, NRDC policy analyst.
Indiana's total fuel production amounts to 6% of the nation's ethanol and 3% of U.S. coal annually. Coal is used to produce 95% of the state's electricity. Because Indiana coal is high in pollutants and relatively expensive to mine, however, utilities import most of their coal from other states, with more than one-third of it shipped from Wyoming.
Almost one-third of Indiana has commercially viable wind resources. Although Indiana saw a large jump in wind development in 2008, it ranks 14th in operating capacity. If 30 commercial-scale wind farms were built in Indiana, the result would be tens of thousands of construction jobs, including 1,260 permanent jobs, $71 million in annual property tax revenue and $201 million per year in ongoing positive economic impact on local communities, according to the NRDC report.