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Virginia Senate Completes Passage of Historic Clean Economy Act

Posted by Monique Hanis on Mar 6, 2020

National business group applauds Virginia Senate for completing legislation that puts Commonwealth on path for 100% clean energy by 2045, saving customers money, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. 

RICHMOND, March 6, 2020 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy applauded the Virginia Senate for passing SB 851, the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), a bill that puts the Commonwealth on a historic path for 100% clean energy by 2045 while saving customers money, and creating tens of thousands of jobs. The Senate vote was 22-17 for SB 851, the same bill passed by the House of Delegates late yesterday.

“Today, we passed the most significant clean energy legislation in Virginia history. This historic legislation is a major step forward towards investing in clean energy and job creation across Virginia,” said Senator Jennifer McClellan*. “The Virginia Clean Economy Act will move Virginia from the back of the pack to become a leader on clean energy."

"We applaud the Virginia Senate for completing final passage of this historic legislation, which puts Virginia on a path to 100% clean energy by 2045 by transitioning to more energy efficiency, solar and wind energy resources," said Harry Godfrey, director, Advanced Energy Economy. "This is a truly remarkable leap forward in Virginia energy policy! With passage of this legislation, practically overnight our Commonwealth goes from a laggard to a leader in the race to 100% clean energy." 

Through the VCEA we will reduce Virginia's carbon emissions, drive economic growth, and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while reducing monthly electric bills for customers," said Godfrey. "We look forward to working with the Northam administration to implement the legislation." 

This bill will grow jobs, keep power costs low, and take major action to combat the climate crisis that is harming Virginia’s communities today. It’s time for Virginia to break our reliance on fossil fuels and decarbonize our economy. It’s time to chart a new future for 100% clean energy in Virginia,” added Sen. McClellan.

The bill is built on four main pillars:

  • Prioritize investment in the least-cost clean energy resource – energy efficiency – which helps reduce waste and save Virginians money. The bill establishes a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) with clear targets.

  • Harness the power of cost-competitive clean energy resources, like wind, solar, and energy storage, to power Virginia’s electricity grid, through binding clean energy targets.

  • Steadily reduce our reliance on fossil-fired generation, with targets to drive emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas plants to zero by 2045.

  • Unlock rooftop solar and let more Virginians take part in Virginia's clean energy economy by rolling-back unnecessary regulations and increasing the cap on solar power purchase agreements from 50 megawatts (MW) to 1,000 MW (PPA's are contracts that eliminate up-front costs, allowing customers to pay for solar energy delivered over time).

Background Resources:

  • Bill language, vote counts for HB 1526** and SB 851**
  • "Virginia House Passes Landmark Clean Economy Act, Senate Up Next" statement March 5 is here.
  • “Virginia's Energy Transition: Charting the Benefits and Tradeoffs of Virginia's Transition to a 100% Clean Energy Grid" report here by The Greenlink Group for Virginia Advanced Energy Economy. 

* This statement was updated at 11:24am ET to include Senator McClellan's comments.
**AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis (mhanis@aee.net) for permanent access.

About Advanced Energy Economy:
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, including Virginia. AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.5 million U.S. workers. Learn more at www.aee.net, track the latest news @AEEnet.

Topics: Press Releases