Virginia Assembly advances legislation to require 100 percent clean energy by 2050

Source: By Kevin Randolph, Energy Insider • Posted: Monday, February 17, 2020

The Virginia House and Senate advanced on Feb. 11 versions of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which would create a clean energy standard in Virginia and require 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

The bill would require that 30 percent of Virginia’s electricity comes from clean energy sources by 2030 and that 73 percent comes from clean sources by 2035. By 2050, the bill requires 100 percent of the Commonwealth’s energy to come from clean sources.

The Act includes measures to facilitate the growth of wind and solar power, expand consumer ownership through rooftop solar and decrease energy waste through enhanced efficiency.

“Senators and Delegates in the Virginia General Assembly made it clear that they’re ready to transform their energy economy with clean, reliable solar energy,” Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said. “Using a mandate, the Virginia Clean Economy Act would enable the Commonwealth to achieve 100% renewable energy. By 2030, the bill would create nearly 30,000 local solar jobs, add billions to the Virginia economy and expand solar access to all Virginians. Virginia now has the opportunity to be a national leader in responsible clean energy growth. We urge the Virginia Assembly to continue to advance this historic bill.”

The legislation also includes a 5.2-gigawatt offshore wind commitment, one of the highest in the nation.

“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,” American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan said. “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.”

In addition, the bill includes a 3.1 gigawatt energy storage target.

“ESA commends the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate for recognizing the role storage plays in improving grid reliability, decarbonizing the economy, and creating economic opportunities,” Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA), said. “Energy storage is essential for the continued expansion of clean energy technologies and enabling power system resiliency. The 3,100 MW energy storage target by 2035 in this legislation sends the necessary long-term policy signal for storage companies to invest in the Commonwealth. Voting to pass the Virginia Clean Energy Economy Act is an important step in developing the local storage industry, securing Virginia’s place as a leader in energy storage policy. We look forward to seeing this legislation become law.”