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Virginia Senate Passes Landmark Clean Economy Act

Posted by Monique Hanis on Feb 11, 2020

National business group applauds Senate leaders for passing SB 851 that puts Commonwealth on path for 100% clean energy by 2050, saves customers money, and creates tens of thousands of jobs

RICHMOND, Feb. 11, 2020 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy applauded Virginia Senate leaders for passing SB 851 the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), a bill that puts Commonwealth on a historic path for 100% clean energy by 2050 while saving customers money, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. The vote was 21-19. 

“The Virginia Clean Economy Act will move Virginia from the back of the pack to become a leader in the clean energy economy,” said Senator Jennifer McClellan. “Today, Virginia took a major step forward towards a 100% clean energy standard that will grow thousands of jobs, keep power costs low, and protect our communities from the damaging impacts of climate change. We must act now to grow clean energy jobs and protect the future for our children.”

“On behalf of our member companies and the 100,000 clean energy workers across the Commonwealth, we congratulate Virginia Senators for passing this landmark legislation," said Harry Godfrey, Executive Director, Virginia Advanced Energy Economy. “We look forward to working with Senate and House leaders, along with all stakeholders, to finalize the legislative work so we can move on to transform Virginia into a leading state for clean energy, while saving customers money and putting tens of thousands more people to work in this vibrant sector."

"We appreciate the steadfast leadership of Senators Jennifer McClellan, the tireless patron of this legislation, and Majority Leader Richard Saslaw for this truly remarkable accomplishment," said Godfrey

The bill was passed out of Senate Commerce & Labor Committee on Sunday and will essentially implement Gov. Northam’s goal for Virginia to produce 100% of its electricity from clean sources by 2050. The four pillars of VCEA would eliminate all power plant emissions in Virginia by 2050, require major investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources throughout the Commonwealth, and unlock the market for rooftop solar.  

broad coalition of environmental groups, clean energy organizations, social justice, and businesses support the VCEA that was first introduced Dec. 19 by Senator Jennifer McClellan, Del. Rip Sullivan, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, and Del. Alfonso Lopez.

The Virginia House of Delegates passed companion bill HB 1526 earlier today, meeting Virginia's Feb. 11 "crossover day," the deadline for bill action in both chambers.

Background Resources:

  • Bill language, vote counts for HB 1526* and SB 851*
  • "Virginia lawmakers unveil clean energy legislation, "13 News Now story here.
  • "Lawmakers, Advocates Unveil Historic Clean Energy Legislation in Virginia," coalition press statement.
  • “Virginia Advanced Energy Jobs” fact sheet here published by Advanced Energy Economy with data from labor economist BW Research using data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report.
  • “Virginia's Energy Transition: Charting the Benefits and Tradeoffs of Virginia's Transition to a 100% Clean Energy Grid" report here by The Greenlink Group for Virginia Advanced Energy Economy. 

*AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis ( for permanent access.

About Advanced Energy Economy:
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, including Virginia. AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.5 million U.S. workers. Learn more at, track the latest news @AEEnet.

Topics: Press Releases