Last night's meeting of the VA House Labor and Commerce Committee was another great step forward for the VA Clean Economy Act, as it moved through with a vote of 13-9. We're making great progress and we really appreciate everyone in the Ipsun tribe who has reached out to legislators. Your voices are being heard!
Last minute additions were made to the bill to strengthen it in the eyes of many who had concerns about the lack of environmental justice language in the bill. We were thrilled to see that new wording was added to include protections for disadvantaged communities that are typically affected negatively by fossil fuel infrastructure.
Specifically, new language in lines 718-724 states: "In any application to construct a new generating facility, the utility shall include, and the Commission shall consider, the social cost of carbon, as determined by the Commission, as a benefit or cost, whichever is appropriate. The Commission shall ensure that the development of new or expansion of existing, energy resources or facilities does not have a disproportionate adverse impact on historically economically disadvantaged communities or low-income geographic areas."
We are so thankful for the extremely hard work of the bill's patron, Delegate Rip Sullivan, as well as the amazing work in support of distributed solar that was done on this bill by Karla Loeb of Sigora Solar and Rachel Smucker of MDV-SEIA.
If passed, some of the provisions of the VCEA include:
- Raise the cap on net metering from 1% to 6%, including 1% specifically for low-income customers.
- Raise the per-project cap for commercial installations from 1MW to 3MW.
- Raise the amount of total power allowed to be generated per project from 100% of projected energy use to 150%.
- Power Purchase Agreement cap raised from 50MW to 500MW, enabling Fairfax County PPA initiative to go forward.
On the Senate side, the bill will be heard on Sunday. After that, we'll let everyone know what the next steps are and what next action you can take to help the effort - please stay tuned! Meantime, check out our policy page to learn more.