Indiana communities are facing complex land-use planning decisions, specifically in regard to renewable energy. To assist communities, Purdue Extension, through support from Hoosiers for Renewables and Indiana Farm Bureau, released a comprehensive study on land-use regulations for wind and solar renewable energy along with county snapshots.
“Hoosiers for Renewables is pleased with the effort made by Purdue on this important topic, and we look forward to additional studies that will help decision-makers and the general public develop a better understanding of the opportunities that exist with renewable energy in Indiana,” said Steve Eberly, executive director of Hoosiers for Renewables.
In 2021, Purdue Extension’s Land Use Team conducted a comprehensive overview study of land-use regulations for wind and solar energy. The team identified a statewide need for research-based information focused on the intersection of renewable energy, land-use decision-making and ordinance development.
“We hear from our members consistently that they need resources they can look to for ideas as they consider wind and solar projects or ordinances in their communities. We believe this can serve that educational purpose while maintaining local decision-making,” said Jeff Cummins, Indiana Farm Bureau associate director of policy engagement.
The study examined commercial solar and wind development and zoning ordinances for unincorporated areas. Of the 82 counties with planning and zoning, 56% had county zoning ordinances with standards specific to commercial solar energy systems and 62% with standards for commercial wind energy conversion systems. Eight counties do not permit commercial wind in any zoning districts. Ordinances were found to vary in the tools used to regulate renewable energy and define commercial solar and wind as uses.
“The complexity of communities across the state, plus increased interest in renewable energy due to utility plans are causing various community responses. Through this report, Purdue Extension is proud to provide research-based information that can help communities navigate renewable energy and future development efforts,” said Tamara Ogle, community development regional educator for Purdue Extension, who is a member of the Land Use Team.
The complete report and individual county snapshots are found online. The Purdue Extension Land Use Team provides research-based resources and educational programs for Extension professionals, government officials, citizen planners and residents on land use issues affecting their communities.