INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
The Indiana House has stripped language from a bill that would have
temporarily banned the opening of new, large power plants even as Indiana’s
utilities increasingly move away from coal-fired power generation.
A House panel
proposed the amendment this month, but the full House voted to remove the
language Thursday following outcry from utilities, environmentalists and
consumer groups, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.
Rep. Matt Pierce,
the amendment’s sponsor, noted no other industry faces such suspensions and
that delaying the move to cleaner power would cause energy companies to
invest in other states.
Critics said the
ban was an attempt to delay the retirement of aging, coal-fired generating
units that could be replaced with renewable energy and natural gas.
A provisional halt
was necessary while the state tried to figure out whether the industry’s
shift from coal and toward cleaner energy would throw the electrical grid
out of balance or cause electricity reliability problems, said Rep. Ed
Soliday, a supporter of the moratorium.
In recent months,
two major utilities, Northern Indiana Public Service Co., based in
Merrillville, and Vectren Corp., based in Evansville, announced plans to
move away from coal.
should likely end postponements to renewable energy projects across the
state, according to the Hoosier Environmental Council.
“It means that
jobs-producing, sustainable-minded energy projects, like those in northwest
Indiana, will likely move forward in a very timely manner,” said Jesse
Kharbanda, the group’s executive director. He added that it would help
Indiana “remain in the game in the U.S. renewable energy investment boom."