Indiana environmentalists held a rally and met with lawmakers on Tuesday to demand better renewable energy policies in the state.
State Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) says one of his goals with the state’s Energy Policy Development Task Force is to promote solar on homes and businesses.
He says having multiple solar power sources spread throughout the state would make Indiana’s energy grid more resilient to a possible cyber attack from Iran.
"The question is are they going to have the ability to somehow do cyber attacks that disrupt our electric energy grid? Well, if we have lots of distributed energy, it's much harder,” Pierce says.
Environmental groups in the state also showed support for a bill authored by Sen. Linda Rogers (R-Granger) that would allow homeowners to petition their homeowners associations for the right to put solar panels on their houses.
Joey Myles of Franklin Township was only allowed to place solar panels on certain sides of his home after he applied a covering to the panels to make them blend in with the roof.
“Which I lose a little bit of efficiency on that,” he says.
Under the bill, if homeowners gather enough signatures of support from their neighbors and meet certain requirements, the association would not be allowed to deny their request for solar panels.
Several high school and college students also attended Renewable Energy Day with a focus on informing lawmakers about how climate change will affect their future. Koby Tavell is a first year student at Indiana University studying environmental management.
"Those feelings that you get in class from learning about what's happening in the environment, those are the feelings that you need to take into the legislature and to the Senate and really convey those feelings. Because you need to feel it to be able to make a change. If you just think that everything's fine, then no change is going to happen," he says.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.