Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables - April 13, 2020
Virginia governor signs Clean Economy Act into law
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law this week the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which promotes energy efficiency, sets a schedule for closing old fossil fuel power plants and requires 100% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045.
Northam issued an executive order in September 2019 that required state departments to develop a plan of action to produce 30% of Virginia’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050 through the commissioning of solar and onshore wind, use of energy efficiency initiatives, offshore wind, energy storage projects and ensuring the benefits of clean energy goals reach the underserved communities of the commonwealth. The state legislature passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act in response, incorporating directives that were included in the executive order.
“These new clean energy laws propel Virginia to leadership among the states in fighting climate change,” Northam said in a statement. “They advance environmental justice and help create clean energy jobs. In Virginia, we are proving that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.”
More specifically, the law, which was passed as House Bill 1526 and Senate Bill 851, requires Dominion Energy Virginia to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2045 and Appalachian Power to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2050, in addition to closing all coal-fired plants by the end of 2024. It also establishes a program to reduce the energy burden for low-income customers and requires the Department of Social Services and the Department of Housing and Community Development to convene stakeholders to develop recommendations to implement this program.
For renewable energy generation, the Act encourages the generation of 5,200 MW of offshore wind generation and 16,100 MW of solar and onshore wind. It also requires Virginia's largest energy companies to construct or acquire more than 3,100 MW of energy storage capacity.