Perception of Indiana: Positive and Negative

Sustainable Indiana 2016 seeks to encourage Hoosiers by discovering, cataloging, and celebrating Hoosier based climate solutions. Part of this mission is to counteract the perception that Indiana is always a laggard when it comes to environmental matters. Several recent news items, one in Forbes and one released by the EPA, illustrate the struggle to highlight the positive activities while continuing to receive negative ratings in national studies. In many ways we deserve the reputation we have, but it is also true that good things are happening that we need to celebrate and publicize.


Once again Indiana has has been cited as one of the states contributing most to global warming. On September 30th the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program released its fourth year of emissions data, including information from facilities in 41 source categories. The report listed the top 5 greenhouse emitting states for 2013 as: 1) Texas, 2) Indiana, 3) Pennsylvania, 4) Louisiana and 5) Ohio.

The EPA report shows that the primary source of greenhouse gasses in Indiana is electric generation, and the secondary source is metal processing.

This report reinforces the perception that Indiana is a state with a poor environmental record.


On the other hand, there are examples of progressive initiatives in and around Indianapolis.


In the spring of 2014 Forbes Magazine reported that Indianapolis is launching the nations largest electric car sharing service. This service will provide electric vehicles at convenient locations for hourly rental. Blueindy plans to establish 200 stations with 500 vehicles around the city during the first phase of the project. This will ensure that the vehicles are readily available to a many Indianapolis residents.

This new electric car sharing service is part of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s crusade to help the city go green. He also set up an Office of Sustainability in 2008, and has plans to convert the government’s entire municipal non-police fleet to electric vehicles by 2025. A Blueindy demonstration site has been set up downtown at 14 E. Washington street so residents can learn about and experience the car sharing service. Also, electric powered municipal vehicles can be seen on the streets of Indianapolis today.

“We want to demonstrate the electric car is not only a very high priced toy for VIPs,” said Vincent Bolloré, whose Bolloré Group is developing Blueindy. “I think you can increase the number of cars in the cities and decrease the level of pollution.”

Solar Powered Charging Station

In a separate program, a solar powered charging station for electric vehicles was installed at Clay Terrace in Carmel in early 2013. Clay Terrace’s vehicle charging station is equipped with solar panels and a battery storage system, creating an integrated ‘plug-in ecosystem’ which uses renewable solar energy and a battery system to capture solar energy and store it so customers can recharge their electric car batteries while shopping at Clay Terrace.

This project is being driven by Indiana based Energy Systems Network. “Indiana is becoming known as an ideal location for companies and research institutions to collaborate, develop and test new clean technologies,” said Paul Mitchell, Energy System Network’s President & CEO. “It’s exciting that Hoosiers have the opportunity to get the first look at these innovative systems, but even more significant to Indiana’s economy is the fact that the clean tech sector recognizes our state as a place where innovation is embraced and validated.”

“Innovations in grid energy storage can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of renewable energy usage,” said Zachary Kuznar, Senior Project Manager, Emerging Technology Office at Duke Energy, a parter in the project. “Because renewable energy sources like solar and wind are intermittent and less reliable, incorporating energy storage can make them much more stable...”


Though reports like the one from the EPA can be discouraging, reports of progress like Blueindy and solar powered charging stations are encouraging. As we move from the discouraging past into the encouraging future we need to avoid being overcome by fear, and operate firmly in a state of hope and hard work.


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Submitted by:

Dick Sprague Region 8 Regional Coordinator October 2014

Blog NewsMargaret Stout