Update: Senate, House pass Virginia Clean Economy Act

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Updated: Tuesday, 9:50 p.m. The Virginia Senate voted 21-19 Tuesday night to pass the Virginia Clean Economy Act (SB 851).

The House bill passed earlier in the day takes a more aggressive stance toward putting the Commonwealth on the path toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Both bills will now cross over to the other chamber for additional review and synthesis.

“We are moving in an historic direction for Virginia and the South and it’s important that we do so methodically and equitably,” said Will Cleveland, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“The Virginia Clean Economy Act will move Virginia from the back of the pack to become a leader in the clean energy economy,” State Sen. Jennifer McClellan said. “Today, Virginia took a major step forward towards a 100 percent clean energy standard that will grow thousands of jobs, keep power costs low, and protect our communities from the damaging impacts of climate change. We must act now to grow clean energy jobs and protect the future for our children.”

“Now the Senate and the House will need to work together to conform the two versions of the bill,” said Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of CCAN Action Fund. We are supportive of all efforts to strengthen the bill. We look forward to working with our leaders in the General Assembly to pass this historic bill as quickly as possible. The nation is watching. Let’s get it done. ”

The House of Delegates voted 52-47 earlier in the day on Tuesday to pass its own Virginia Clean Economy Act language.

The bill, HB 1526, would establish a structure to implement Gov. Ralph Northam’s goal for Virginia to produce 100 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2050.

The legislation would eliminate all power plant emissions in Virginia by 2050, require major investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources throughout the Commonwealth, and unlock the market for rooftop solar.

broad coalition of environmental groups, clean energy organizations, social justice, and businesses support the VCEA that was first introduced Dec. 19 by Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Del. Rip Sullivan, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, and Del. Alfonso Lopez.

“AEE and its member companies, which employ more than 100,000 Virginians across the Commonwealth, applaud House delegates for passing this landmark bill,” said Harry Godfrey, executive director, Virginia Advanced Energy Economy. “We look forward to the Senate taking action as well so all stakeholders can get to work transforming Virginia into a leading state for clean energy.”

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