Indiana is addressing climate change for the first time, thanks to an EPA grant made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act. A $3M planning grant was awarded to the Indiana Dept of Environmental Management to develop a Climate Action Plan for the state. Indiana is one of 46 states to receive a grant to develop or update its climate action plans.
A climate action plan is due to EPA by March 1st. Grant requirements include reducing pollution while also building the economy and benefiting communities.
Indiana will then be eligible to compete for $4.6 billion in additional funding to implement its climate action plan, making this a big opportunity to bring federal funding to the state to achieve carbon pollution reductions. The application for the implementation grant is due to EPA in April.
IDEM has hired ClimeCo consultants to help manage the process and develop the plan.
. Here are suggestions for your consideration. These key actions would get the most effective carbon reductions as quickly as possible and also directly benefit communities and boost local economies. These actions align with Carmel’s climate action plan and Carmel Green Initiative goals.
Align with local governments, universities and schools to accelerate the plan. Work and coordinate with local governments, universities, schoolsalready engaged in climate action. Support existing local and regional climate action plans with direct funding to expedite implementation/deployment. This action shows that Indiana has a coordinated climate action network ready to implement the climate action plan according to localized and regional needs. Prioritize underserved communities. Combine state grant funding with direct IRA incentives. .
Establish a statewide green schools program. This would include funding for solar power, EV buses, energy efficiency, and hubs of community education and resilience. To qualify for funding, schools can be required to establish their own climate action plan and offer community education on solar, EV buses, energy efficiency and sustainable living to qualify for funding. These measures reduce carbon pollution for communities as well as the school’s energy costs so more dollars can go to support teachers. Better education has long term benefits for the community and boosts the local economy. This action shows that Indiana is committed to statewide ongoing community education. Mid-term goal is to have green schools serve as resilience hubs in case of a climate disaster (see action 3). Prioritize underserved communities. Combine state grant funding with direct IRA incentives. .
Prioritize solar and solar+storage for schools and local governments. This action is the most powerful, quickest and measurable carbon reduction action that also directly benefits communities and boosts the local economy. Solar mitigates one of Indiana’s largest sources of pollution (electricity) and also helps to build grid resilience during heat waves which are projected to get hotter and last longer. Peak solar production in the summer during peak demand reduces local demand, helping to maintain Grid Stability on sweltering summer days when air conditioners are running high. Distributed solar throughout a community also builds Energy Security by making the grid more resilient against extreme weather disasters and cyber attacks. Solar plus storage boosts grids resilience. Combine state grant funding with IRA incentives. .
Where possible, promote onsite solar for local government, schools, libraries and county jails. Onsite solar is the cleanest energy you can get, right where you need it. Prioritize underserved communities. Combine state grant funding with IRA incentives. .
Where onsite solar is not possible, promote Community Solar as the cheapest and cleanest energy you can get. This addresses areas that don’t lend themselves to onsite solar in an economical way. Prioritize underserved communities. .