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Associated Press: Virginia House Passes Major Renewable Energy Legislation

Posted by Sarah Rankin and Alan Suderman on Feb 11, 2020

Associated Press covered the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in the House and Senate, noting AEE's role supporting the bill. AEE since spoke to reporters about long-term savings to customers (addressing some concerns raised in the story) as Assembly leaders work to reconcile the two bills. Read excerpts below and the entire AP piece here (that also ran in more than 175 news outlets across the nation including The Washington Post). 

The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation Tuesday that would overhaul how Virginia’s utilities generate electricity and, supporters say, move the state from the back of the pack to the forefront of renewable energy policy in the United States... 

The measure, called the Clean Economy Act, lays out a plan to get Virginia to 100% renewable generation. The House version would demand that goal be met by 2045 and the Senate’s version sets a deadline of 2050, in line with a goal Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam set in an executive order in September. Differences between the two versions will have to be worked out before the measure can be sent to Northam, whose administration has been involved in negotiating the bill. In a floor speech, House sponsor Del. Rip Sullivan called the bill “transformative,” saying it would propel Virginia “into the future and into the top tier of states in terms of climate and energy policy...”

Both the House and Senate versions would effectively block new fossil fuel generation facilities in the short term while state officials study whether a permanent ban should be enacted. The House version contains a provision that says if state officials determine by 2028 that the greenhouse gas reductions are not on target, then there will be a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new fossil fuel-fired generating facilities by 2030.

Bill sponsors said in committee hearings that hundreds of hours of negotiations had gone into crafting the legislation. Participants in those talks included Dominion Energy, influential environmental groups including the Virginia League of Conservation Voters and the Southern Environmental Law Center, plus solar interests and Advanced Energy Economy, a national association of businesses. The lawmakers carrying the measure have said it will help address climate change by moving Virginia toward a carbon-free future while creating thousands of good-paying jobs at the same time...

Read the entire AP piece here (also covered by more than 175 news outlets including the Washington Post). 

Topics: AEE In The News