Readers’ Forum, January 6, 2022: Let’s plead for cleaner air | Opinion

Let’s advocate for cleaner air

This letter aims to draw attention to the fact that Duke Energy is dragging its feet to wean itself from the coal monsters of the last century. Dismantling major polluters in southern Indiana appears to be taking longer than necessary, according to author John Russell. Writing in the Dec. 17, 2021, edition of the Indianapolis Business Journal, he says Duke is lagging behind all other Hoosier utilities in the transition to fossil fuels.

His article is titled “Critics Urge Duke Energy to Green Faster”. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, “the state’s largest electricity company wants to retire much of its coal-fired units” by 2035. Critics wonder, with today’s technology, why it should take 14 or 15 years, with Indiana consistently ranking about 41st – if not worse – of all states for airborne particulate contamination.

From Wall Street Journal and articles dated 21-21:

“Duke’s geographic operations are split between the Carolinas, Florida and Indiana, which represent 60%, 25% and 15% of the company’s rate base, respectively. The company focuses over 90% of its time in the Carolinas, and Indiana and Florida’s valuable assets tend to be under-managed. These are valuable assets in high growth areas with opportunities to reduce costs and make additional investments. “

In other words, it looks like the people of North Carolina could do more in Indiana, as various renewal sources such as wind and solar power are already operational in the Carolinas, perhaps because these are larger markets. In an article titled “Universal Deception: Duke’s New Energy Plan Takes Heavy Fossil Fuels”, the Indianapolis Star also criticizes the timeline: “… this plan, called the Integrated Resource Plan, is not coming soon enough. rather early. Duke is Indiana’s biggest carbon polluter, and environmentalists say the utility outlook is failing to take on that role amid the climate crisis.

Consumer advocates are also concerned that Duke will say he will continue to operate the controversial Edwardsport coal-fired gasification plant, which they say wastes customers’ money. Overall, this plan would raise rates by about 1.4%, according to Duke. This comes after a rate affair last year that increased bills by around $ 15 each month. “

If the Indiana Regulatory Commission revises that timeline and forces Duke to act faster than 15 years, our air will be cleaner and more attractive, because not only is southwest Indiana experiencing a brain drain and a loss of population, but it also has less than desirable air quality. One wonders if a more progressive stance on renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar power, would be beneficial to all Hoosiers, entrepreneurs as well as those of us struggling to breathe the contaminated air of Duke.

– Deb Sitarski, Terre Haute

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Melvin B. Baillie