Large Indiana employers asking utilities for `green tariffs’

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Several of Indiana’s major employers want their local utilities to make it easier for them to buy power generated by wind and solar farms so they can move closer to their renewable energy goals.

Cummins, Salesforce, Roche and other companies recently joined with the cities of Indianapolis and Bloomington in signing a letter that asks Duke Energy and AES Indiana to offer more options for large customers to source their electricity through renewable energy.

They want what’s often called a Green Tariff, which would allow the cities and companies to buy locally produced renewable energy, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The companies, including Walmart and Rivian, penned the letter in conjunction with the Advanced Energy Economy Indiana — the local chapter of a national association of businesses working to accelerate the transition to clean energy.

Caryl Auslander, executive director of Advanced Energy Economy Indiana, said large customers “want to choose renewable energy, and we’re asking Duke and AES to give them more options.”

All green tariff programs would need to be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the state’s utility regulator.

Todd Marty, senior director of sustainability at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated — the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the U.S. — said it’s hopeful “Indiana utilities can offer more options to purchase our electricity from more sustainable sources of energy, like wind and solar.”

Coca-Cola has committed to reducing carbon emissions 25% by 2030, and one of its bottlers signed onto the letter to Duke and AES.

The two utilities currently offer green pricing programs for residential and business customers under which they pay a premium as an extra charge on their electricity bill to be put toward renewable energy sources in the Midwest.

But green tariff programs are what the large companies and municipalities want. Instead of paying on top of their current bill, those programs would let the companies and cities lock in a new rate that pays directly for the cost of electricity from wind or solar farms.

Both AES and Duke said they are exploring ideas about other renewable offerings that go beyond the existing green power options available to their customers.

“We are glad to talk with these companies and municipalities,” said Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere. “We can discuss with these organizations different approaches they are interested in.”

AES Indiana, meanwhile, said it similarly “stands ready to partner with our customers and communities to help create Indiana’s economy for the future.”

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