A bill currently working its way through the Washington D.C. City Council will require all local utilities to source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2032.
Like the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra, which has its own 100 per cent renewable energy target that will be met by 2020 – it is a strong and not-so-subtle reprimand to the occupant of the capital district’s most famous house.
The CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 was introduced to the Council of the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) in July and has been working its way through procedures before the first of two public hearings was held last week.
In addition to increasing the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 100% – which would mandate utilities operating in the District source all their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2032 – the omnibus bill also seeks to establish a solar energy standard and require utilities to procure at least 5 per cent of their power from solar by 2032.
In a move obviously intended to increase solar development in the area, the bill includes an interesting wrinkle which proposes to increase the mandated share of solar, up until a limit of 1.68GW.
“The fight to reduce the impacts of climate change is the most important environmental issue of our time,” said council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) in July, who drafted the bill.
“The District has been a leader in this fight, but we need to do much more if we wish to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the Sustainable DC Plan and in our commitment to the Paris Accords on Climate Change.
By changing the way we approach energy consumption and building emissions, we will have a clear path forward in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change.”
The first of two hearings comes at an opportune time for the successful passing if the omnibus bill, coming as it did only a day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a Special Report on global warming, which outlined “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are needed in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
“If passed, this will be the strongest clean energy and climate protection law in the nation,” said Mark Rodeffer, chair Sierra Club DC Chapter. “To meet DC’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2032 and 80 percent by 2050 and to protect our communities from the catastrophic effects of climate change, this kind of resolute action is needed.”
In addition to the aforementioned provisions in the omnibus bill, it also includes new building emissions standards, funding for local sustainability initiatives, and the promise of new rules on transportation emissions.
“This bill provides the bold action needed to match the urgency of the climate crisis,” added Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation. “It builds on the Clean Energy DC plan and the District’s 12-year legacy of clean energy and green building policy achievement, again blazing a path for other cities to follow.
It will stimulate investments to cut energy costs, reduce the flow of money from the District for energy imports, and create jobs for DC residents advancing renewables and energy efficiency.”