Jared Noblitt, executive director of the Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy (ICAE), sends this Cheer for Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb:

“Gov. Eric Holcomb recently had an opportunity to shape the future of energy policy in our state — and he deserves credit for seizing the moment.

“Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly created the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force, a 15-member group that will issue a report by December 2020 on the current state of electricity generation, potential challenges, policy considerations and, most importantly, how to safely incorporate new technologies alongside existing ones.

“The governor had seven appointments to the task force. Given our state’s long history with the coal industry and coal-fired power, it would have been easy for Holcomb to tip his hat to our energy past instead of looking toward a future defined by affordable renewables and new clean energy jobs.

“He didn’t do that.

“Instead, the governor appointed a diverse group of task force members that includes a professor of agricultural economics, the CEO of a rural electric cooperative, a policy group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the retiring dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“It’s a solid, smart group we believe will gather information from many sources before delivering its analysis next year.

“The task force report is important because it will lay the groundwork for our state’s energy future, and we believe that future is one that includes competition from all sectors and encourages Hoosiers to find innovative individual energy solutions.

“We’ve already seen utilities like NIPSCO leading the charge to phase out coal and include renewables in their long-range plans, and we hope that trend will continue now that wind and solar are as affordable — if not cheaper than — coal and gas. We need to be nimble and ready to adapt to the fast-moving marketplace.

“Moreover, the number of Indiana clean energy jobs increased by 4.7% last year — 86,900 total jobs that account for 2.5% of our workforce. That’s the biggest share among Midwestern states.

“We look forward to working with the task force and its members to highlight and promote a safe, free market-based approach to energy in our state that includes renewable sources alongside more traditional ones and creates opportunity for Hoosiers.

“Thanks to the governor for sending the message Indiana is poised and ready to grow our clean energy economy.”

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