With the pressures of climate change and the increasing economic advantages of solar and other clean energy technologies, there is a lot of action in renewable energy policy right now at the state and local levels. GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic is engaged in solar policy advocacy in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and elsewhere along the East Coast to promote a clean energy transition that includes everyone.
In D.C., there is an exciting renewable energy bill under consideration by the D.C. Council. The Clean Energy DC bill would require the District’s electricity to be 100% renewable by 2032 -- a doubling of the current target. As under current law, this requirement would be enforced by renewable energy credits and alternative compliance payments, which fund programs like Solar for All and the Solar Works DC job training program. GRID Mid-Atlantic is working with other solar industry, environmental, and community development partners not just to promote the bill, but also to make sure that it is as equitable and inclusive as possible. Low- and moderate-income ratepayers deserve access to the same opportunities for clean energy jobs and reduced energy bills as other ratepayers who don’t face the same obstacles. We are seeing our message resonate with decision makers!
We are also laying the groundwork for advocacy for low-income solar in the upcoming legislative sessions in 2019 in Maryland and Virginia. So far, Virginia has been a fairly tough policy environment for low-income residential and community solar. However, that seems to be changing. Governor Northam’s 2018 Energy Plan calls for significant development in renewables in an inclusive manner. Some legislators have already signaled their support for bills to move Virginia solar policy in the right direction. Meanwhile, legislators in Maryland will reintroduce the Clean Energy Jobs Act. This bill would double the current mandate of 25% renewable energy to 50%, and increase the portion of that mandate required to be solar.
The transition to a clean energy future can’t be done alone. GRID Mid-Atlantic will continue to work closely with our wide range of partners and allies, and with relevant state agencies, to promote policy that addresses the needs of the low- and moderate-income communities we serve.