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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Tech World

Bill aims to encourage energy storage technology at old mines, quarries

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Senate bill, SB 147, would add a type of energy storage to the state’s list of clean energy resources — such as wind and solar power. Underground storage hydroelectric power that is pumped underground generates power by passing water through a turbine as it travels from a higher reservoir to a lower reservoir.

This technology can store energy from wind, solar, or even coal. It has been around for decades and accounts for most utility-scale energy storage in the United States but has not been used much in Indiana.

Peter Schubert, of IUPUI’s Lugar Renewable Energy Center, said this is likely because most of the state is too flat to create the highest and lowest water reservoirs.

But caves left by abandoned coal mines, gypsum mines, and limestone quarries could open up a new opportunity for technology in Indiana — and that could benefit communities losing coal mines, too.

“It’s a valuable tool for creating new jobs, and economic development for coal and energy communities,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of the Citizens Movement Coalition.

The bill’s author, Senator Eric Koch (R-Bedford), said the bill would put this type of storage on the same level as wind, solar or other technologies on the state’s list of clean energy resources.

“This is the first step for many to make sure that Indiana is up front and ready in the event that federal dollars and/or private investment are willing to come here and implement this technology,” he said.

The Indiana Energy Association and Governors for a Clean Energy Future also expressed support for the bill. And she left the committee unanimously on Thursday.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at Tweet embed.

Environmental reporting in Indiana is supported by the Institute for Environmental Resilience, an Indiana University mega-challenge project that develops Indiana-specific forecasts and informed responses to environmental change problems.

Copyright 2022 Indiana Public Media. To see more, visit.

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