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Greentech Media: Virginia Mandates 100% Clean Power by 2045

Posted by Jeff St. John on Mar 6, 2020

Greentech Media reported details about the just-passed Virginia Clean Economy Act quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire GTM piece here. North American Windpower, Solar Power World, CleanTechnica, SmartGrid Today (sub. req.), and E&E News also covered the news, quoting Godfrey.

The Clean Economy Act passed Virginia’s House of Delegates by a 51-45 vote on Thursday and the state Senate by a 22-17 vote on Friday, clearing the way for the bill to be signed by Governor Ralph Northam, who issued an executive order calling for it last year. Both votes were carried by Democrats who won majorities in both houses from Republicans in last year’s election, although one House Democrat voted against it and one Republican Senator voted in favor of it. 

All told, it’s a massive step forward for a state that has had no binding renewable energy or efficiency mandates until now, said Harry Godfrey, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the Advanced Energy Economy industry group. “The thing that’s notable here is the speed at which we’re changing this policy...” 

While the Clean Economy Act doesn’t do away entirely with that policy framework, it does offer the State Corporation Commission (SCC) more oversight over major projects, Godfrey said. For example, Dominion’s 2.6-gigawatt offshore wind project, to be built and rate-based by the utility, will have cost caps and “extensive SCC oversight layered in,” he said...

Solar power will also get a significant boost from several other provisions, originally introduced under a Solar Freedom Bill supported by the Sierra Club and in-state solar industry groups, Godfrey noted. Those include lifting Dominion’s net metering cap from its current 1 percent to 5 percent, with an additional 1 percent reserved for low-income customers, a move that will open up what’s been a stalled state rooftop solar market...

And in a significant long-term policy shift, the new law orders the SCC to include the “social cost of carbon” in its calculations of costs and benefits of competing generation and grid investment options in the future, Godfrey noted. That will allow state regulators to consider carbon reduction as part of its review of long-term utility plans, such as Dominion's integrated resource plan, which have come under fire for relying on natural gas for decades to come...

Read the entire GTM piece here. Also see North American Windpower, Solar Power World, CleanTechnica, SmartGrid Today (sub. req.), and E&E News pieces that covered the news, quoting Godfrey.

Topics: AEE In The News