Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy applauded the Virginia Senate for passing SB 851, the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), a bill that puts the Commonwealth on a historic path for 100% clean energy by 2045 while saving customers money, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. The Senate vote was 22-17 for SB 851, the same bill passed by the House of Delegates late yesterday.
“We applaud the Virginia Senate for completing final passage of this historic legislation, which puts Virginia on a path to 100% clean energy by 2045 by transitioning to more energy efficiency, solar and wind energy resources,” said Harry Godfrey, director of Advanced Energy Economy. “This is a truly remarkable leap forward in Virginia energy policy! With passage of this legislation, practically overnight our Commonwealth goes from a laggard to a leader in the race to 100% clean energy.
“Through the VCEA we will reduce Virginia’s carbon emissions, drive economic growth, and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while reducing monthly electric bills for customers,” said Godfrey. “We look forward to working with the Northam administration to implement the legislation.”
The bill is built on four main pillars:
- Prioritize investment in the least-cost clean energy resource — energy efficiency — which helps reduce waste and save Virginians money. The bill establishes a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) with clear targets.
- Harness the power of cost-competitive clean energy resources, like wind, solar and energy storage, to power Virginia’s electricity grid, through binding clean energy targets.
- Steadily reduce our reliance on fossil-fired generation, with targets to drive emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas plants to zero by 2045.
- Unlock rooftop solar and let more Virginians take part in Virginia’s clean energy economy by rolling-back unnecessary regulations and increasing the cap on solar power purchase agreements from 50 megawatts to 1,000 MW.
“Policies like the Virginia Clean Economy Act prioritize equity and customer choice, sparking much needed competition in states with monopoly utilities,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “This bill should become the new model for Southeastern states looking to stimulate local economies and make major progress on clean energy. Thanks to the leadership from the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate, we achieved what many thought would be impossible. We look forward to seeing Governor Northam sign this bill into law.”
“With the passage of The Virginia Clean Economy Act, Governor Northam now has the opportunity to catapult Virginia forward as a clean energy leader by mandating a renewable energy portfolio standard that sets a clear path to meet his goal of reaching a 100% clean energy power-sector by mid-century,” said Andrew Williams, senior director of regulatory affairs and market development at Sol Systems, in a statement. “Once signed into law, the Act will create thousands of jobs and help ensure communities across the Commonwealth have access to and benefit from solar energy and will help ensure that billions of new dollars will be invested in the Commonwealth.”
“We are thrilled to see Virginia join the legion of forward-leaning states committed to 100% clean energy. The Virginia Clean Economy Act is important legislation that will attract significant new investment, create thousands of good-paying jobs, give Virginians access to more affordable, pollution-free power, and of course move us forward in addressing climate change,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). “ACORE and its member companies look forward to helping Virginia transition and thrive in its 21st-century renewable energy economy.”
“Virginia now joins 29 other states with renewable energy standards, moving the state from voluntary to required clean energy commitments,” said John Finnerty, director of business development at Standard Solar. “With this fundamental transformation to a clean energy economy, we look forward to expanding our portfolio in the Commonwealth and contributing to its bright renewable energy future. Standard Solar is proud to have been an active part of a broad coalition of clean energy stakeholders that, together with leading environmental groups and lawmakers, helped move this historic legislation forward.”
News item from Advanced Energy Economy. Updated with Standard Solar’s comments on March 10.