Letter: State deserves praise for using less coal, more gas

To the editor:

Indiana state Sen. Jim Merritt recently provided some much needed perspective regarding the ongoing debate over our state’s electrical energy policy.

Merritt points out that Indiana has in fact developed a rational balanced energy approach which over the past decade has reduced coal-fired electrical energy generation from 86 percent to 65 percent while natural gas-fired energy production has increased by a factor of four. Additionally, electricity generated by renewable (wind/solar) sources has increased by a factor of 12 (6 percent vs 0.5 percent).

As noted above, the state’s utilities are not entirely captive to a coal industry for power generation but appear to reflect an understanding of the reality that current alternate/renewable energy systems can play an increasingly important role in providing for the state’s electric power needs.

While fossil-fueled power production remains a significant provider of Indiana’s electrical power demands, the decreasing ratio of coal-fired power plants to those now fueled by natural gas continues to reflect the clearly favorable benefit of natural gas in both economic and environmental terms.

Although our state’s strong economy continues to reflect the historical economic benefit attributable to large scale coal fired energy systems, it is encouraging to note that the state’s utilities and independent electrical energy providers are obviously taking an objective, forward-looking approach to Indiana’s future electric power needs. They are to be commended.

David A. Nealy