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The Hill (Opinion): Washington Can Look to States for Proof That Investing in Clean Energy Works

The Hill published Harry Godfrey's co-authored op-ed detailing how Congress can use state clean energy policies as a model for adopting the Build Back Better Budget. Read snippets below and the full article here

The pandemic, and its cascading negative effects on our economy, and our people, have presented a novel opportunity to build new and better infrastructure, foster innovation and bring good jobs to Americans everywhere. That is the promise at the heart of the President Biden’s Build Back Better budget being considered by Congress — a historic opportunity to put our economy on a path to greater prosperity for everyone while also supporting and accelerating the transition to 100 percent clean energy. 

Already, states like Georgia, Minnesota and Virginia are showing what is possible. These states are using energy efficiency and clean energy to cut greenhouse gas pollution, create family-sustaining careers for their workers and save consumers money. The Build Back Better agenda will turbocharge successes like these and bring new opportunities to Americans everywhere...

Energy efficiency isn’t the only area where states are showing what is possible. Last year, Virginia passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) making it the first state in the South to establish a 100 percent clean energy standard. The measure requires utilities to retire polluting power plants and replace them with renewable power, energy efficiency and storage.

The VCEA establishes binding energy efficiency targets and one of the largest energy storage goals in the country — creating market certainty and saving families and businesses money. The latest jobs report from Advanced Energy Economy demonstrates the economic benefits of the VCEA. As of the end of 2020, the advanced energy industry employed over 93,000 people in Virginia. Thanks in part to policies like the VCEA, clean energy business leaders surveyed for the report expect Virginia jobs to grow 8 percent this year.  

When fully implemented, the VCEA will create as many as 13,000 jobs in Virginia annually, generate millions in clean energy investment, and help the state transition to an affordable, reliable and 100 percent clean grid. The Build Back Better budget will accelerate and expand the change promised by the VCEA.

America is at a crossroads. Perched at the intersection of crisis and opportunity, we have a choice to make. Individual states have shown us what is possible, but ultimately, we must choose as a nation: Do we embrace the future and take control of all the possibilities before us, or do we sit on our hands and let circumstances dictate the world we leave our children? The Build Back Better agenda is a path to a more secure and prosperous place for all Americans.  

Read the full article here

Topics: AEE In The News