Virginia’s governor has signed legislation aimed at accelerating the US state’s clean energy transition.
Gov. Ralph Northam has signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act as well as an amendment to the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act to promote renewable and other clean energy technologies as well as establish a cap-and-trade CO2 programme.
The Clean Economy Act requires new measures to promote energy efficiency, sets a schedule for closing old fossil fuel power plants, and requires electricity to come from 100 per cent renewable sources such as solar or wind.
It targets 21 GW of renewable generation and more than 3 GW of energy storage. Energy companies will have to pay penalties for not meeting their targets, with revenues funding job training and renewable energy programs in disadvantaged communities.
The Clean Economy Act also expands “net metering” – monetary compensation for consumers who generate their own power - making it easier for rooftop solar to advance across Virginia.
“This is a terrific day for Virginia,” said Delegate Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan, Jr., a sponsor of the bill. “While some said Virginia is moving too fast, we said this is the year to get it right. This is an historic step forward on clean energy in Virginia.”
The Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act establishes a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions from power plants, in compliance with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Department of Environmental Quality will establish and operate an auction program to sell allowances into a market-based trading program.