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Governor Mitch Daniels (R)

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Governor Mitch Daniels

2010 Campaign Contributions from Utility,Coal, Oil, and Railroad Corporations: $68,300

2008 Campaign Contributions from Utility,Coal, Oil, and Railroad Corporations: $241,800

2006 Campaign Contributions from Utility,Coal, Oil, and Railroad Corporations: $256,796

The Daniels Energy Plan

The Daniels Energy plan has failed on a number of fronts. First of all, the perspective is very narrow. All key energy and utility positions in government are staffed by former utility employees. Secondly, the centerpiece of the Homegrown Energy Plan, which was published by the Administration a few years ago, is coal. The more desirable options to achieve affordability, clean air, job growth, reliability, meeting demand – namely, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner forms of distributed power – assume a role of mere window dressing. Fourth, the coal approach has proven to be a very costly and unnecessary option. The alternatives can easily meet demand at lower cost and less environmental demand while addressing the formidable issue of global warming. New coal plants are being cancelled across the country due to cost and the absence of any technology that can address carbon dioxide emissions. The Governor, however, is undaunted, recently stating that carbon emission technology will be costly to ratepayers. The Governor also opposes placing mandates on utility companies, thus he has withheld jobs, cleaner air and more affordable utility bills by not supporting a statewide Renewable Electricity Standard. However, mandates on ratepayers appear not to be an issue for Governor Daniels. He expects ratepayers to pay for the unneeded and costly coal gasification plant proposed by Duke Energy. He expects ratepayers to pay for the proposed coal gasification plant that Leucadia (an out of state investment firm) wants to build. He expects ratepayers to pay for carbon technology to retrofit aging and obsolete coal-fired power plants. The chair of the Utility Regulatory Commission, a former PSI (now Duke Energy) employee, believes that energy efficiency (the cheapest energy resource we have) isn’t worth it.

The Governor pays a lot of attention to taxpayers. However, ratepayers appear to be of concern only to the extent that their wallets serve a utility’s business plan. What the Administration apparently does not understand is that taxpayers and ratepayers are one and the same. We’re talking about the same wallet.

We need an energy policy based on reality, not a delusional policy based on politics as usual. Given recent technological advances in renewable energy and the availability of off-the-shelf energy efficiency technologies that would greatly reduce electricity and natural gas use in homes and businesses, such as green building design, there is no reason to build another coal plant in Indiana. The aim should be to phase out our coal plants over the next 40 years by systematically replacing it with clean, reliable and affordable technologies. The country is on the cusp of a technological revolution in how energy is generated, stored and delivered that will create millions of jobs, vastly improve air quality and public health, and address global warming in an effective and economic manner. The Daniels Administration remains hopelessly steeped in 1950s thinking.

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