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Washington Examiner: How Democrats Gave Virginia's Biggest Utility no Choice but to Commit to 100% Clean Energy

Posted by Josh Siegel & Abby Smith on Mar 19, 2020

Washington Examiner covered how Virginia became the first Southern state to target 100% clean energy with the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, noting AEE's engagement and study, and quoting key patron Senator McClellan. Read excerpts below and the entire Washington Examiner piece here. 

Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest utility, didn’t have much of a choice but to sign onto a 100% clean electricity goal after Democrats took the state’s legislature in 2019. “It's a matter of, we are going to get there, and you can either be part of the conversation on how to get there or not,” Jennifer McClellan, a Virginia state senator representing the Richmond area who was the lead sponsor of the state’s recently passed 100% carbon-free electricity legislation.

McClellan, in an interview with Josh, explained how Virginia this month became the first state in the south to target 100% clean power, after the Virginia House and Senate passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, with the support of only two Republicans, one in each chamber. Just a month earlier, Dominion announced its own net-zero emissions by 2050 goal, a not-coincidental reversal from the utility’s previous position that such a target was unattainable...

McClellan said Dominion was convinced to change course after she and other Virginia policymakers, along with a coalition of environmental and clean energy groups led by Advanced Energy Economy, presented a study showing 100% clean power was possible. The study showed that boosting energy efficiency targets and allowing third-party providers to provide wind and solar, injecting competition to utilities, were crucial factors in the bill that could enable 100% clean power.

McClellan acknowledges the new law does not require getting to zero gas “overnight,” but rather intends to phase it out with periodic check-in targets to measure progress. If the targets prove to be unreachable, Virginia's utility regulator, the state corporation commission, can work with legislators to adjust...

Read the entire Washington Examiner piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News