Virginia Mercury summarized the current status of the historic Virginia Clean Energy Economy Act in the House and Senate, quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. This story also ran in 8 other outlets including Fredericksburg's Free Lance-Star.
There’s been a lot of hype and a lot of hand-wringing over the Clean Economy Act, the Democratic energy omnibus that outlines a path for Virginia to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050. In the largely partisan debate, Democrats have contended the VCEA is an ambitious but practical way for the state to combat climate change, the effects of which can already be seen in the sea level rise threatening Hampton Roads.
Republicans have complained it sticks electric utility ratepayers with too much of the cost of transforming the state’s energy landscape and will further devastate the already economically disadvantaged coalfield communities of Southwest Virginia. And some progressives committed to the more aggressive timeline of the stalled Virginia Green New Deal say it doesn’t go far or fast enough in addressing emissions. Negotiations are ongoing over the final form the bill will take, so changes can be expected. The sprawling 75-page bill includes provisions on a multitude of topics, including green jobs, low-income ratepayers and facility siting...
The VCEA does not include such a moratorium, but it does include provisions that aim to limit new fossil fuel generation while also disincentivizing new infrastructure by filling utilities’ capacity needs through vastly expanded fleets of renewables. By “swiftly ramping up the use of more cost-effective efficiency and renewable resources,” said Harry Godfrey of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, one of the bill’s key architects, the VCEA “will fundamentally change the economics of energy in our commonwealth...”