Welcome to this month’s GRID Mid-Atlantic Policy Roundup, keeping you up-to-date on renewable energy policy that promotes equity and racial justice in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and nationally.
Strong, well-designed policies are essential to our work building community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy. In turn, our successful work is a model for policies, showing the enormous potential for win-win solutions.
You can receive this monthly roundup in your inbox by going to our newsletter signup page and selecting "Advocacy/Policy Updates" and "Mid-Atlantic (DC, MD, VA & DE)" under "Newsletter Subscription Preferences."
District of Columbia
The movement for statehood rights for the people of D.C. is gaining momentum in Congress. Full and equal representation for what would be known as Washington, Douglass Commonwealth is a matter of local and national racial justice, democracy, and climate urgency. We’d appreciate it if everyone residing outside the District who has Representatives and Senators could please contact them today on District residents’ behalf!
Statehood for D.C. would also elevate some of our local climate justice leadership. GRID Mid-Atlantic’s role in the District’s solar policy success was featured recently in an article in AMC Outdoors Magazine on our implementation of Solar Works DC. Solar Works DC is the job training program under the Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) Solar for All program, operated in partnership with the Department of Employment Services (DOES). Solar for All was created by legislation in 2016 and is supported by the District’s broader clean energy policies.
Virginia’s brief General Assembly session has concluded with some successes for clean energy and environmental justice. Other bills that GRID Mid-Atlantic supported did not make it through this year, but we will continue to push for progress in future sessions. You can read perspectives on the 2021 session’s climate and equity results here and here.
GRID Mid-Atlantic is also still participating in regulatory proceedings building out Virginia’s new shared solar programs, which reserve 30% of capacity for low- and moderate-income subscribers to offsite solar. We look forward to these systems providing bill savings and job opportunities in the next few years.
March 22 was Crossover Day for the Maryland General Assembly: with several weeks left to go, each chamber is now considering bills that passed the other chamber. GRID Mid-Atlantic is thrilled that the Climate Solutions Now Act passed the Senate, and we call on the House to pass the bill to promote ambitious and equitable climate targets and boost low-income community solar.
We also support legislation to enhance the consideration of environmental issues by the Office of People's Counsel and Public Service Commission; raising the net metering cap; and other clean energy and workforce development bills.
National Solar and Equity News
With the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act, the fight in Congress to prioritize clean energy and racial and economic justice in the anticipated infrastructure package has come to center stage. GRID Mid-Atlantic is working with our partners to help shape crucial parts of the CLEAN Future Act, LIFT America Act, Environmental Justice for All Act, and other bills with policies and funding for equitable access to distributed solar energy, clean mobility, and good clean energy jobs. These policies build on years of advocacy by GRID and others. We are thrilled at their growing momentum.
Of course, Congress is also dealing with an enormous range of other issues. This Women’s History Month, as GRID Mid-Atlantic highlights Women-Run Power, we applaud progress in the House on gender equity measures such as the Equal Rights Act, Violence Against Women Act, and Equality Act, among others.
The executive branch has been a whirlwind of activity at the intersection of climate solutions, racial equity, and economic recovery as well. GRID Mid-Atlantic welcomes new agency leadership including Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy, Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation, Michael Regan as Administrator of EPA, Marcia Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Deb Haaland as the country’s first Native Secretary of the Interior, and other leaders who have all committed to the Administration’s government-wide prioritization of climate and environmental justice. We are also thrilled to congratulate former GRID Mid-Atlantic Executive Director Nicole Steele on her new role promoting Energy Justice and Workforce at the U.S. Department of Energy.
The team at GRID Mid-Atlantic is grateful for your support in continuing our work to make the benefits and opportunities of renewable energy accessible to communities on the front lines of economic and environmental injustice.