Local environment group pushes for more renewable energy

NOW: Local environment group pushes for more renewable energy

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- 

A local environment team hopes to gain the support of city leaders in a push for more renewable energy. 

The Indivisible District 2 Environment Team will attend the South Bend Common Council meeting on Monday to ask councilmembers to sign a pledge. 

The team wants to use the pledge to prove to Indiana Michigan Power that the South Bend community stands behind renewable energy, and in turn encourage the company to go 100% renewable. 

"We want the gravitas of the whole community behind us, and important elected officials," said Kelley Beduhn, head of the environment team. "We want our elected officials to know that we expect this from them... to know that we want people representing us that are going to seek out the best results for our community."

Indiana Michigan Power announced it is considering phasing out its Rockport coal plant over the next ten years. Beduhn hopes that will be replaced with clean energy. 

She says that would mean less pollution and more jobs in South Bend. 

"Instead of burning coal down in Evansville and shipping it up here through the power lines, in wind and solar you really want to have those facilities located throughout your service area. So there would actually be facilities in South Bend, Muncie and Fort Wayne to service those communities, and that brings jobs to our community and tax revenue. It's just a win win for everyone," said Beduhn.

The power company has held two workshops so far this year to discuss what people would like to see in the 20-year plan. 

Beduhn attended both of those workshops, and says she feels the company is listening to input by the community.  

"We really want our state to start to make that transition to renewable power," said Beduhn. "We're really excited about this opportunity with I&M right now. We are asking them to be the first utility in Indiana to be 100 percent renewable and affordable for all."

The next workshop will be held in South Bend on August 1. That's when Beduhn will present the company with all the signed pledges of elected officials in South Bend and other communities. 

Indiana Michigan Power will present models for the 20-year plan during that workshop as well. 

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