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Conservationists tout Indiana old mines, brownfields to develop renewable energy

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Thursday was the summer solstice, the day of the year with the most sunshine, and Indiana conservationists said they have a plan to make the best use of solar energy.
In a new report, called Mine the Sun, The Nature Conservancy says the quickest way for the state to gain energy independence is to utilize unused sites — such as abandoned mines, brownfields or dumpsites — to develop solar and wind farms.
Sean Mobley, senior policy associate for The Nature Conservancy-Indiana, said there is less resistance to using sites not being used in other ways.
“If you have acres that are abandoned mines or brown fields, they don’t really serve a purpose in the community or economically anymore,” Mobley pointed out. “We see clean energy as a way to transition those back to productive acres.”
Mobley noted clean energy is a way to transition land back to productive acres. In a Nature Conservancy survey, 66% of Hoosiers favor solar energy production, and 69% support adding state incentives to facilitate solar and wind development on brownfields and mine lands.
Mobley emphasized solar capacity tripled across the state from 2021 to 2022, and Indiana ranks eighth in the nation for projected solar energy growth by 2025. He added the state’s Department of Natural Resources currently has $385 million in federal grants available to reclaim abandoned mine lands.
“There are a little over 150,000 acres of mine lands, primarily in southwest Indiana, that would be suitable for solar energy development,” Mobley stressed. “Again, bringing back economic and conservation value back to those acres.”
The Mine the Sun report outlines steps to develop policies to generate new revenue streams for landowners and create jobs in construction and maintenance.
“I think the first step is to develop some bill language for the next legislative session that would direct the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to update the Indiana state reclamation plan for the abandoned Mine Lands program,” Mobley urged.

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1 comment

Deborah Dunn June 23, 2024 at 3:59 pm

This sounds like a perfect idea and puts the ground back into some type of production.

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