Earlier this year, America surpassed Russia and China as producers of oil and natural gas and supplied more clean energy than coal. Here’s how.
This week, we celebrate Clean Energy Week: a recognition of the innovative, reliable, and affordable renewable energy that is increasingly powering the American economy. Clean energy projects are growing across the country, particularly in Indiana.
New data from the Energy Information Administration backs this up: During the first six months of 2020, wind and solar expanded faster than all other energy sources in the U.S., up 16 percent from just one year ago.
And according to the latest analysis from BloombergNEF, utility-scale wind and solar projects are now the cheapest sources of new-build generation for at least two-thirds of the global population. Yet, this week also represents a substantial opportunity to observe how clean energy is making a difference where Hoosiers reside.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has left every state with new and unprecedented challenges for meeting the economic demands of tomorrow. Today’s renewable energy sector is an answer to addressing these challenges, and Indiana can lead the way. With the right support, the crossroads of America can also become the crossroads for renewable energy development.
To truly understand the economic potential, we can look to the local impact renewable energy has had on communities across the state. EDP Renewables North America’s 51 wind farms and eight solar parks in operation across 16 states are built to generate low-cost, clean energy while creating an economic boost in the communities hosting the projects for decades to come.
EPDR is the fourth-largest wind producer in the U.S., and Indiana has been a key success story for our growth.
EDPR’s seven operating projects in Indiana represent more than 1,000 megawatts of installed wind power capacity. The Meadow Lake Wind Farm that spans Benton and White counties is a proven resource for reliable wind power. As the fourth-largest wind farm in the U.S., the project produces enough clean energy to power more than 200,000 Indiana homes.
The Headwaters Wind Farm in Randolph County complements the strong corn and soybean presence in the area and supports local farmers, providing more than $15 million in land lease payments through last year.
Combined, Meadow Lake and Headwaters wind farms have resulted in nearly $87 million in property taxes, land lease payments, and wages, all of which have been spent within 50 miles of the wind farms.
Amid the pandemic, many local governments in Indiana are searching for stable sources of revenue to support them well into the future. Revenue that stays in the community is essential to remain afloat and fuel community growth. EDPR projects meet those needs, and understanding these local impacts are critical for paving the way for new clean-energy development.
The benefits of wind farms are comprehensive and immediately felt by local communities. All types of businesses, including gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores, have benefited from the business activity EDPR projects bring to communities.
The recent challenges of the last several months have shifted the ground beneath our feet. Innovative solutions are not only requested but required. However, 2020 also offers us time to focus our priorities in energy policy and development.
Clean energy projects that are sustainable and far-reaching in their fiscal impact are exactly what renewable energy developers, business leaders, and local officials should look toward when planning Indiana’s future.
Clean Energy Week is a celebration of how far we’ve come, but let this time also serve as a reminder for how renewable energy can be the key to our economic future.
Tom Loturco is the director of development for the Eastern U.S. and Canada at EDP Renewables North America.
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