April 13 (Renewables Now) - Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law Virginia’s Clean Economy Act that calls for the state’s electricity to be 100% carbon-free in 2050 with the help of 21.3 GW of renewables capacity additions.
The governor put his signature on House Bill 1526 and Senate Bill 851 last week, an official statement said on Sunday. The law expands Virginia's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) which requires 30% or more of retail electricity sales in the state to come from renewables by 2030. The state will have to gradually phase out both coal and gas and deploy additional renewables capacity to reach the new 100% objective.
Renewables, in particular, will be boosted by a 5.2-GW target for new offshore wind power capacity and 16.1 GW for onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) procurement that is “in the public interest.” Separately, the state’s largest energy companies will be required to build or acquire over 3.1 GW of energy storage capacity.
Under the new regulations, utilities Dominion Energy Virginia and Appalachian Power will be required to use 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045 and 2050, respectively. Almost all coal-fired power plants will need to be shut down by end-2024.
The adoption of energy efficiency standards and expansion of existing net metering programmes are also covered by the Clean Economy Act.