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Legislators Look to a Clean Energy Future

6/11/2019

 

Legislative efforts to ensure America’s clean energy future are gaining momentum, both at the federal level and across several states in our serving area.

Lawmakers are paving the way to a clean energy future


Federal - Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019 (Proposed)
In May 2019, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019, a bill designed to establish a federal Clean Energy Standard (CES).

The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019 aims to put the nation on a course to achieve net-zero emissions from the electric sector by 2050, in an effort to fight climate change. If passed, the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2019 would:

  • Establish the federal Clean Energy Standard (CES), which would require retail electricity suppliers to sell increasing amounts of clean energy over time;
  • Encourage and incentivize companies to bring cost-effective, emission-free technologies to market;
  • Significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to benefit public health and the environment, leading to fewer deaths every year.  

The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Brian Shatz (D-HI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).


District of Columbia – Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 (Enacted)
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 (Clean Energy DC Act) into law on January 18, 2018, setting a mandate of 100% renewable electricity by the year 2032.

The Clean Energy DC Act contains four key provisions, with the intent of making the nation’s capital a global leader in the fight against climate change:

  • 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2032, mandating 100% of the electricity sold in the District come from renewable sources (increases DC’s RPS to 95% tier one with at least 5% solar in 2032 and requires a supplier’s electricity come from long-term Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs);
  • Increased funding for local sustainability initiatives, increasing assessments for natural gas and non-renewable energy to finance the Green Finance Authority (i.e., DC Green Bank) and provide energy bill assistance to support low- and moderate-income residents;
  • New and more aggressive building energy performance standards, requiring significant improvements to the energy efficiency of existing buildings in the District;
  • Reduced transportation emissions, requiring all public transportation and privately owned fleet vehicles to become emissions-free by 2045.


Maryland – Clean Energy Jobs Act (Enacted)
The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) was passed on April 8, 2019 by Maryland lawmakers, in the final hours of the 2019 General Assembly session. On May 22, Governor Larry Hogan announced that he would allow CEJA to go into law without his signature.

The bill instructs Maryland electricity providers to obtain at least 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, including a 14.5% carve-out for solar energy, and requires Maryland to create a plan for achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2040.

Solar industry trade associations Vote Solar and MDV-SEIA estimate the CEJA will lead to the creation of 20,000 new solar jobs in the state, along with 5,700 offshore wind jobs and billions of dollars in additional direct investment in Maryland’s economy.

It’s also estimated the CEJA will bring in approximately $247 million in federal investment tax credits in one year.


Pennsylvania – Keep Powering Pennsylvania Act (Proposed)
In mid-March 2019, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced the Keep Powering Pennsylvania Act, which would amend the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard to include nuclear energy – a measure that would compensate nuclear power plants for providing 42% of the state’s electricity and more than 93% of the state’s zero-carbon electricity.

The bill would also protect Pennsylvania jobs. The state’s five nuclear power plants support more than 500 companies and 16,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs.

 

Sources:
Hayunga, R. (2019, March 13). The National Clean Energy Debate Is Now Playing Out in Pennsylvania Legislation. Retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://www.nei.org/news/2019/clean-energy-debate-pennsylvania-legislation

Mayor Bowser Signs Historic Clean Energy Bill, Calling for 100% Renewable Electricity by 2032. (2019, January 18). Retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-signs-historic-clean-energy-bill-calling-100-renewable-electricity-2032

Ryan, C. (2019, April 11). Maryland's Clean Energy Energy Jobs Act passes, sets 50% renewables goal by 2030. Retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://www.pv-tech.org/news/marylands-clean-energy-energy-jobs-act-passes-sets-50-renewables-goal-by-20

Smith Co-introduces Bill to Establish Federal Clean Energy Standard. (2019, May 13). Retrieved June 6, 2019, from https://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/government-and-politics/4611904-smith-co-introduces-bill-establish-federal-clean-energy

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