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Letter to the Editor from Greg Ballard on putting Indianans to work

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Letter to the editor (read here):

Energy will put Indiana to work

I agree with the recent Tribune-Star editorial editorial stating that market forces are an important factor driving Indiana’s energy mix (Nov. 22, “Coal’s future remains cloudy).

But there may not be huge trade-offs to “blend jobs and affordable power with environmental stewardship.” New jobs will continue to develop as advanced technology meets our energy needs. Indeed, these jobs are here already, in the tens of thousands — and poised to grow.

In Indiana and across the country, we are in the midst of an energy transformation, even if most people don’t know it yet. Lower prices for natural gas, wind, solar, and energy storage are creating more secure, clean and affordable energy options — and jobs. Large corporations, including many in Indiana, are demanding renewable energy and efficiency choices as they choose places to expand and relocate their operations. If we want them here, we need to pay attention.

Just last week, Indiana Advanced Energy Economy, a new business group taking root in the state, reported that 48,000 Hoosiers were employed in advanced energy in 2015, with another 900 jobs to be added this year. The report also showed that 90 percent of advanced energy employers had difficulty finding qualified workers, primarily due to lack of experience, technical qualifications and certifications, suggesting an opportunity for further job growth.

We need to make sure that Indiana gets its share of the $200 billion advanced energy market in the U.S. — and the jobs that come with it — by reducing market barriers, making sure workers have the skills they need, and simply getting the word out that advanced energy is here today, and it is Indiana’s future.

Greg Ballard, Senior Fellow, Indiana Advanced Energy Economy 

(Former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis)