RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia has become the first southern state and the seventh in the U.S. to pass a law that commits to providing 100 percent carbon-free electricity to its citizens by mid-century. During the final days of the session, the General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, and it officially became law with Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature Saturday night.
The act removes barriers to solar and wind and commits the commonwealth to ramping up renewable energy, which currently makes up just 7 percent of Virginia’s electricity, to at least 30 percent by 2030. In addition, it requires the retirement of fossil fuel plants and establishes a mandatory target for utilities to reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
Before becoming law, the Virginia Clean Economy Act already had a positive impact in Virginia. Earlier this month, Dominion Energy backed away from plans for new gas infrastructure in the state claiming it is no longer feasible with the General Assembly’s passage of the VCEA.
In response Gov. Northam signing the Virginia Clean Economy Act into law, Elly Boehmer, Environment Virginia’s state director, released the following statement:
“It’s a proud day to be a Virginian. Virginia’s General Assembly and Gov. Northam’s administration have stepped up to make climate and our health a top priority, putting this commonwealth among the frontrunners in the shift toward clean and renewable energy. The Virginia Clean Economy Act will put us on a path toward a healthier future powered by truly clean and renewable energy sources. We look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and governor to turn this vision into a reality.”