Audio Democrats' clean energy amendments blocked in Senate

Democrats' clean energy amendments blocked in Senate

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Indiana Senate Democrats were blocked by Republicans in a series of amendments on Senate Bill 313 to improve Indiana’s net metering policy.

Net metering regulations allow homeowners and businesses to generate their own electricity and roll their meters backward when they send any excess power back onto the electric grid.  Net metering allows anyone to participate in the energy economy while helping ensure a more reliable electric distribution system.

State Senator Jean Breaux of Indianapolis proposed an amendment to limit the size of net metering systems for utility customers who generate some of their own power through solar, wind or other means.

“Net metering is intended to promote small renewable energy systems for homeowners, farmers, office buildings, schools, and city and county governments,” said Breaux. “This amendment would make sure that customers are constructing their renewable energy systems for their own estimated annual use and not for profit.”

Listen to Senator Breaux’s comments from the Senate floor:

State Sentator Sue Errington of Muncie proposed an amendment to allow for monthly rollover of credit for excess generation on a rolling annual basis rather than on a monthly basis as the original bill language dictates. Monthly rollover allows the customer to receive year-round benefit from their generation system providing a better return on investment and quicker pay-back to consumers.

“We must make net metering work for consumers by enabling them to get a fair return on the energy they produce,” said Errington. “This amendment encourages the installation of renewable energy equipment and saves consumers money by crediting them for the energy they create.”

Listen to Senator Errington’s comments from the Senate floor:

State Senator John Broden of South Bend proposed an amendment that provides that a single customer whose energy consumption is recorded on more than one meter may be credited the full amount on one electric bill. This would benefit businesses, farmers and local government units that have multiple buildings or facilities, each with their own meter.

The amendments would encourage clean energy production by schools, businesses and homeowners. All three amendments failed.

What is net metering?

Net metering allows for the measurement of both the usage and production of electricity. Small-scale renewable energy production has grown in popularity through the use of modern wind mills, high efficiency solar panels, and other mechanisms. The practice can reduce the demand from power plants and increase the amount of alternative energy available on the utility grid.

Where does Indiana stand?

42 other states have adopted a net metering policy. Indiana, however, has one of the lowest individual system capacity limits (see map). Indiana’s current net metering policy received an F from The Network for New Energy Choices, a national energy policy organization.

Tax credits for homegrown energy:

Indiana offers state property tax exemptions for the installation of geothermal technologies. For more information please contact Donna Palmer with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at 317-233-0478.

Property tax exemption information for the installation of solar and wind technologies can be found by contacting your local county auditor or county assessor.