As the economy has changed with the pandemic in the past few years, Indiana’s small communities have seen an exodus of jobs and people. However, experts say there’s hope on the horizon in the form of community redevelopment through renewable energy.
According to the Clean Grid Alliance, Indiana already has the second-most clean-energy jobs in the Midwest because millions of dollars are being invested in wind and solar energy.
Connie Neininger, senior advisor for the Center for Infrastructure and Economic Development, said clean energy could be the answer to revitalizing a community.
“The rural area needs to find its niche, and that could be renewable energy, because more and more companies today are looking for renewable-energy sources,” she said. “Especially globally, they’re looking for communities that have renewable energy available.”
Since 2021, Neininger said, clean-energy jobs in the Hoosier State are growing twice as fast as the overall economy. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide $6.9 billion over the next five years for road, bridge and redevelopment projects.
Neininger said economic development agreements can be a powerful incentive to recruit for renewable-energy businesses. She recommended hiring a qualified attorney or consultant to advise on issues such as financial incentives or tax-abatement agreements.
“When a renewable-energy project comes in and invests sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars into that community with its infrastructure,” she said, “the actual equipment – that is adding to the county’s assessed valuation.”
Neininger warned that local officials need to be clear-eyed about which types of companies they recruit, making sure their community and the employer are a good fit.
“They may not have the workforce available,” she said. “They may not have the infrastructure, whether it’s water, wastewater or even power. And they may not have the transportation – the roadways, the access to interstate – as do a lot of the metropolitan areas.”
Pipe full of hash dream. The only danger to our planet is the green weenies spreading such false hope.
Frankly, any “expert” who touts green job creation can be safely ignored. I could create lots of jobs by mandating a crew of 4 in all semi-trucks, but that doesn’t generate more wealth it only makes transporting everything more expensive. If those green jobs could exist without government action, if they were truly necessary, they would already exist.
“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.”
― Nicholas Butler