A look at legislation

Image of legislative building

by Matt Randall

The past 15 months have been busy ones on the legislative front, and Hoosier Energy is looking to maximize the opportunities that accompany the passage of both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as well as the Inflation Reduction Act.

Both of those bills include a number of programs connected to the energy sector and utility industry. Efforts to take advantage of those are led by Matt Randall, manager of public policy and community relations at Hoosier Energy.

“Between these two pieces of legislation, it is the single largest investment in the energy industry since The New Deal in the 1940s when Hoosier Energy was founded,” Randall said. “So we are connecting with NRECA nationally and our partners at Indiana Electric Cooperatives (IEC) to find opportunities for Hoosier.”

That means a lot of sifting through the options and putting them in the right pile.

“The intent of the legislation and accompanying changes are to further spur things in the industry that we are already doing or considering, so all we see are positives,” Randall said. “We’ve already begun applying for various grants.

“For example, there are billions of dollars available in electric vehicle infrastructure adding to the work already being done in the industry. And with transmission, we’re not sure how much Hoosier will benefit directly, but if those programs facilitate transmission development in the Midwest and Indiana, it would certainly be of value.

“There’s upside not only for Hoosier but for cooperatives around the country.”

Many of the programs are still emerging or will emerge throughout 2023, so the work is ongoing. And there’s always the potential for new bills to be passed with further ramifications for the industry and Hoosier Energy.

“The major legislative initiative we are looking for from a federal perspective is supporting permitting reform,” Randall said. “We are supporting NRECA and industry efforts to get Congress to pass permitting reform to reduce some of the roadblocks and inefficiency as the industry looks to invest billions in transmission infrastructure and renewable energy.

“Here in Indiana and Illinois, we will be working alongside our statewide associations to encourage lawmakers to support policies that help us on affordability while giving Hoosier flexibility as we meet our resource capacity needs in the future.”

MATT RANDALL is manager of public policy and community relations for Hoosier Energy in Bloomington, Indiana.