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Virginia Mercury: Virginia Clean Economy Act Clears General Assembly, Aided by Beefed-up Ratepayer Protections

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Mar 6, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in both the House and Senate including floor debates and challenges quoting AEE's JR Tolbert and AEE member Sigora Solar. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. This story was also covered by the Washington Examiner (quoting Godfrey), Richmond Times Dispatch  (Godfrey pictured with bill patrons, sub. req.), and August Free Press (quoting Godfrey).

The Virginia Clean Economy Act cleared its last hurdle in the General Assembly this week when both the House of Delegates and the Senate agreed to a final version that reflected the more aggressive House timeline of making Virginia’s electric grid carbon-free by 2045 while also incorporating stronger protections for electric utility ratepayers.
The bill, SB 851, heads to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam, whose administration has been heavily involved in pushing it forward. Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, the Senate patron of the bill, called the passage “a major historic moment” that will “break our reliance on fossil fuels...”

The landmark bill was described by numerous advocates as the most progressive climate legislation to come out of the South, the product of statewide elections that swept Democratic majorities intent on addressing climate change into both chambers of the legislature. “Our policy at this time is in the same realm as California, Washington and Colorado. Those are Virginia’s peers,” said J. R. Tolbert, managing director of clean energy business group Advanced Energy Economy, which was closely involved in the drafting of the VCEA, shortly after Senate passage of the bill. “Ten minutes ago, our peers were Alabama and Mississippi.”

Karla Loeb, chief policy officer of Charlottesville-based Sigora Solar, a member of the executive committee of the national Solar Energy Industry Association and a participant in the sprawling coalition that negotiated the omnibus legislation, said that by passing the VCEA in a single legislative session, Virginia had charted a different course than that taken by other states. “Every other state’s been iterative,” she said, while Virginia has gone from “zero to 100 overnight. Six months ago,” she reflected, “not a single person in the country thought this was possible..."

An independent cost impact study by clean energy consultancy 5 Lakes Energy commissioned by Advanced Energy Economy found that the law would reduce monthly bills by about $3.40. Other modeling commissioned by the Northam administration found that the combined impacts of that legislation and another law that will join Virginia to the cap-and-trade market of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will reduce monthly residential bills by 71 cents by 2030, according to Northam Press Secretary Alena Yarmosky...

Read the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News