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Utility Dive: Indiana Passes Coal Plant Support Bill as Democrats Removed from Conference Committees Deliberations

Posted by Catherine Morehouse on Mar 11, 2020

Utility Dive reported Indiana passed a bill making it more difficult to retire coal-fired power plants, quoting AEE's Dylan Reed. Read excerpts below and the entire UD piece here

Indiana on Tuesday passed House Bill 1414, which will make it harder for utilities in the state to retire their coal generation. The House version of the bill was significantly altered in the Senate, drawing greater support from critical groups including the Indiana Energy Association (IEA) which represents electric and gas utilities in the state. 

To reach a compromise in conference committee, legislators removed Democratic Senate and House representatives from the discussion. The final version is a hybrid of the House and Senate bills, leaving out a provision from the House that would have allowed utilities to keep up to 90 days of fuel supply on site, but extending the sunset provision back to 2021 and keeping other House language that adds layers to the coal plant retirement process...

"From where we started the session to where we are now, that's a huge progress in terms of the impacts of this bill," Director at Advanced Energy Economy Dylan Reed told Utility Dive. The hybrid version of the bill keeps the fuel language out, but reverts the sunset date back to the House's proposal of May 1, 2021. The Senate version would have had the bill expire at the end of this year, aligned with the end of Indiana's energy task force deliberations, intended to provide the state with policy recommendations based on the status of its power sector...

As the state's task force wraps up its discussions and makes policy recommendations for 2021 at the end of this year, Reed said he hopes to see the state think less about how to stop coal plants from retiring, and more about how to integrate renewables and clean energy technologies onto the grid.

In the past two years, "the only energy bills [the legislature has] really considered have been focused on how do we delay or stop entirely coal plant closures," he said. "What we'd like to see is more consideration from the legislature in how you handle the integration of [clean energy] technologies in a cost effective way that ultimately is going to benefit reliability."

The bill also keeps in language that sets state grant money aside for coal workers who have lost their jobs...

Read the entire UD piece here.

Topics: AEE In The News