Indiana has joined the growing list of states looking into small modular reactors for future energy production as their coal-fired plants are retired.
Gov. Eric Holcomb on March 18 signed into law S. 271, which allows and incentivizes the construction of SMRs in Indiana. Introduced on January 10 and sponsored by state Sens. Eric Koch (R., Bedford) and Blake Doriot (R., Goshen), S. 271 passed in the Senate on February 1 in a 39–9 vote and in the House on February 22 by a vote of 70 to 22.
Specifics: S. 271 requires the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), in consultation with the state’s Department of Environmental Management, to adopt rules concerning the granting of certificates of public convenience for the construction, purchase, or lease of SMRs, defined as reactors with a rated electric generating capacity of not more than 350 MW. The rules are to be adopted by July 1, 2023.
More details: The bill requires, among other things, that the IURC consider the following:
- Whether the SMR proposed by a utility will replace a loss of generating capacity in the utility’s portfolio resulting from the retirement of an existing electric generating facility using coal or natural gas as a fuel source.
- Whether the SMR will be located on or near the site of the facility to be retired. If so, the IURC must consider potential opportunities for the utility to make use of any land and existing infrastructure or facilities already owned or under its control, or to create new employment opportunities for workers who have been, or would be, displaced as a result of the existing facility’s retirement.
S. 271 also adds SMRs constructed after June 30, 2023, to the list of clean energy projects that are eligible for certain of the state’s financial incentives.