Environment

Promising Forecast Offered For Renewable Energy

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September 5, 2013 — TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Renewable energy use is on the rise nationally and in Indiana as new resources are being used more frequently, Doug Gotham of the State Utility Forecasting Group told a legislative group on Wednesday.

Gotham told the Regulatory Flexibility Committee that renewable resource usage in America is 12 percent, an increase from the 10 percent usage nationwide in recent years.

Biofuels like ethanol have been used as energy sources more frequently across the country in recent years but will most likely plateau in the near future, he said.

Conversely, the use of wind as an energy source is continuing to rise around the country. Solar energy, Gotham said, is becoming more common but is still only a small part of the total renewable energy sources used.

In Indiana, renewable resource usage is just 3 percent. Traditionally, wood waste has been the most commonly used renewable energy source, but the use of ethanol has been on the rise since 2008.

Hydroelectricity has been used at the same rate in Indiana since the 1960s. Gotham said the amount of hydroelectric energy derived is “run of the river,” meaning dams aren’t used to control the flow of the river and, therefore, don’t control the amount of energy that can be created.

Gotham said wind energy use has been increasing in Indiana since 2008. Earlier this year, Wildcat Wind Farm was opened in Madison and Tipton counties, and there are five total large-scale wind energy projects throughout the state.

Solar energy is not as commonly used in Indiana as it is in other parts of the country, particularly in the Southwestern region of the state, Gotham said. But, he also said he thinks Indianapolis Power & Light Co. and NIPSCO have plans to increase their uses of solar energy.

Organic energy – specifically wood waste – has long been the most common type of renewable energy in Indiana but has fallen to third place behind wind and hydroelectric energy.

 

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