Your Home Your story reservation Indiana needs affordable, reliable, renewable energy to attract the gold rush of the 21st century – Indiana Capital Chronicle

Indiana needs affordable, reliable, renewable energy to attract the gold rush of the 21st century – Indiana Capital Chronicle


Indiana has a proud legacy of manufacturing that continues to this day, but the state is now at a crossroads. As industry comes to Indiana to build the data centers and computer chip factories that will power U.S. 21st In the century, some in the state seem more concerned with clinging to the past than laying the foundation Indiana needs to meet the moment.

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Recent comments, “The New Gold Rush: Driving Indiana’s Data Center Growth” asserted that Indiana needs coal to power the manufacturing centers of the digital age, and advocated forcing the state’s utilities to keep aging coal plants running, even if those utilities would prefer to transition to cheaper, reliable renewable energy sources. Frankly, the strategy isn’t working.

Data and microchips may be the lifeblood of the digital age, but reliable, affordable clean energy is the essential foundation on which everything else will be built. The energy-hungry industries Indiana wants to attract aren’t just looking for ample space, a central location and a business-friendly environment. Beyond that, the Googles and Microsofts of the world often are explicitly seeking abundant renewable energy In all cases, they want to place their investments where energy is abundant, reliable and affordable, in a way that only sustainable energy can.

Renewable energy sources, not coal

It is cheaper to build and connect new renewable energy sources to the grid than it is to continue operating coal-fired power stations, and in combination with other proven, high-tech tools we can deliver clean energy at any time of the day or year. For example, large-scale batteries already make the difference between a reliable network and a potential disaster in states like Texas coverage for failing coal installations under the high stress of record heat. And distributed energy sources such as rooftop solar, energy storage systems and smart thermostats can be linked together in neighborhoods in so-called “virtual power plants,” allowing everyday Hoosiers to play the role of energy producer and sell their extra power back to the grid as needed. is. most needed.

To return to the metaphor of the gold rush: what started with miners going out en masse on foot to dig with shovels and pans, resulted in a boom in technological development. Machines were built to extract and refine gold more efficiently. Railroads were built to transport the bounty. And when the gold rush ended, it was these investments that continued to sustain the economies that the gold rush had built.

Advanced energy technologies are today’s equivalent of these technologies. Building it in Indiana is a challenge the state must overcome to benefit from the 21st century gold rush, and an opportunity that will continue to pay off for generations. Right now, coal is fool’s gold.