photo: Todd Woody
Can a state that gets 95 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants go green? The Natural Resources Defense Council thinks so. In a report released this week, the environmental group lays out how Indiana can become the California of the Midwest when it comes to renewable energy. As I write in The New York Times on Friday:
Coal-dependent Indiana could become one of the nation’s greenest states by tapping rural resources to generate renewable energy, according to a new report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Hoosier State now obtains 95 percent of its electricity from plants running on coal — largely imported from Wyoming and elsewhere — but it could profit as an exporter of wind energy and machinery, the report said.
“Indiana has some of the best wind potential in the eastern U.S. and has a competitive advantage as a wind producer over most other states because of its location,” said the report’s author, Martin R. Cohen, said during a conference call on Wednesday.
Mr. Cohen noted that while the wind blows stronger in states like North Dakota and Nebraska, Indiana already has the transmission system in place to bring wind-generated electricity to eastern cities.
If Indiana increased wind energy production to 4,500 megawatts from its current 530 megawatts, it would create thousands of jobs and attract turbine manufacturers, according to the report. An owner of a 500-acre farm could earn $30,000 a year from leasing land for wind turbines, Mr. Cohen estimated.
Farmers also could profit, the report said, if Indiana starts harvesting corn stalks, wheat stalks and soybean residue and uses the biomass either for power production or to make ethanol.
You can read the rest of the story here.