Legislation to create the Virginia’s first Clean Energy Standard was approved yesterday (12th February) by both the state House and Senate, clearing the way for Governor Ralph Northam’s signature.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said the bill, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, is a forward-looking plan that will drive the clean energy investment other states are already enjoying. It will create a state renewable energy portfolio system (RPS) programme, which will require that 30 percent or more of Virginia’s electricity comes from clean energy by 2030 and that 73 percent comes from clean sources by 2035. By the year 2050, the Act requires that 100 percent of Virginia electricity will be clean – a goal Governor Northam advocated for during his election campaign.
The Act includes measures to harness wind and solar power, expand consumer ownership through rooftop solar, and reduce energy waste through efficiency. Notably, the legislation also includes a 5.2-gigawatt offshore wind commitment, one of the country’s highest targets.
“The Virginia Clean Economy Act will reduce carbon emissions and foster economic development in Virginia that clean energy technologies have been bringing to many other parts of the country” said Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO. “This renewable energy legislation is pro-growth, pro-business, and means access to more jobs in the Commonwealth. Virginia’s significant offshore wind commitment also positions the state as a leader for others to emulate.”
Across the country, 29 states and the District of Columbia have implemented RPS programmes. These policies require utilities serving customers in a state to supply a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable resources by a given year.