The Issues

Sustainable Economy

HEC has long sought solutions that are good for the economy and good for the environment. We focus on helping to reduce barriers for economic sectors that, by their nature, will be engines for jobs and better for our air, water, and climate.   For more than a decade, HEC has been very focused on advancing sustainable energy, like solar power, and sustainable transportation, like mass transit.   And climate initiatives, in general, present new economic opportunities for farmers, forest owners, energy efficiency professionals, and more.   Achieving democracy reform – like ending gerrymandering – is key to having elected officials who have the foresight to realize the economic promise of sectors like sustainable energy.

Sustainable Energy

Indiana has the potential to be a sustainable energy leader in the U.S. -- creating jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency, while reducing our state’s significant carbon footprint.
We’ve experienced significant progress on both fronts. Indiana has nearly 86,215 jobs in clean energy (Clean Energy Trust, 2022). A new report from the group WorkingNation, forecasts that the demand for green jobs in Indiana will increase nearly 30% over the next five years.  Indiana’s dependency on coal for its electricity — the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. — has gone down from 77.7% to 47.3% in just nine years (IURC, 2021).In the spring of 2022, rooftop solar saw a victory thanks to HB 1196. Homeowners can now petition their HOA to install rooftop solar as long as they meet certain requirements.That said, Indiana trails fellow Industrial Midwest states on a variety of sustainable energy public policies and has ranked #1 in the Midwest and #8 in the U.S. in terms of energy related carbon emissions per capita (EIA, 2022).HEC supports, and actively advocates for, public policies that facilitate investment in utility-scale renewable energy, customer-owned renewable energy, and energy efficiency.  Dedicated public policy in these areas, with an eye towards stabilizing and reducing energy bills for Hoosiers, would enable Indiana to be a better magnet for clean energy jobs and improve our state’s public health standing as well.  In 2022, HEC urged the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force to provide serious consideration of battery storage, demand response practices, and distributed energy as a benefit to grid reliability.

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Sustainable Transportation

A more sustainable transportation system for Indiana means more transportation choices for travelers and commuters...
...public transit for our metropolitan areas, intercity passenger rail or bus service connecting our communities, and widespread availability of trails and greenways for active transportation and recreation. It also means more efficient use of our land and natural resources, energy savings, and reduced global warming-causing carbon emissions. 

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Climate Action

Our global climate is spiraling out of control. In Indiana, we have already warmed 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895 with a further projected rise of 5 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 (INCCIA, 2018). As Hoosiers, we have a particularly tough challenge before us. Indiana has ranked eighth nationally – and first in the Midwest – for energy-related greenhouse gas emissions per capita (EIA).

Figure 1. Indiana’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Gas and Sector for 2019 contrasted with surrounding state gross totals measured in million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2e). Land Use is the estimated carbon sink capacity of the state to sequester emissions per year. (Data from EPA, 2022) Graphic designed by HEC.

Indiana’s climate data already reveals increased average temperatures, rainfall, and extreme heat events (INCCIA, 2018). These state-specific trends have impacts on Indiana’s agriculture, health, and quality of life. Already, Indiana has warmed 1.1 degrees F and increased rainfall by 5.6" over the last century. Given the current state and global greenhouse gas emissions, we expect these trends to continue (figure 1).

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Democracy Reform

If the legislature better reflected the full diversity of Indiana's citizens, we would likely see environmental public policy that would be more protective of those vulnerable to toxic air and water risks.
Getting to a more representative body will require a number of democracy reforms. HEC has been focused on helping to tackle the long-standing problem of gerrymandering.

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