Washington DC pursues new renewable energy goals

Washington DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser hosted a July 25 press conference where she signed the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016, which the mayor said will solidify the District’s position as a national leader in the push to decarbonize, increase access to clean energy for DC residents, and create a long-term pipeline for green jobs and business creation.

“This groundbreaking new law will enable us to extend the benefits of solar power to many diverse populations – our seniors, our local small businesses, our nonprofits, and our residents and families living on a fixed income,” said Mayor Bowser. “We will serve 100,000 low-income households by 2032—that’s more than 6,000 homes per year, and we’ll reduce their electricity bills by 50%, as a result. We’ll be creating at least 100 green  jobs in the first year with that number growing every year through 2032. That means reducing carbon emissions, lowering residents’ energy bills, and providing pathways to the middle class through the burgeoning marketplace of clean energy – all at the same time.”

“This week’s extreme heat and our volatile weather, including last week’s hail storm and this winter’s blizzard, are examples of the impacts climate change will continue to have on our city and the planet,” said Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells. “The Renewable Portfolio Standard bill expands the set of tools we need to address and mitigate the effects of climate change in the District and will help keep us on track to meet our Sustainable DC goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and to ensure renewables make up at least 50% of the District’s energy supply by 2032.”

This summer, DOEE entered into a grant agreement with GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic to launch GZEP Solar Plus, in partnership with Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, to provide District young adults ages 18 to 24 paid training in solar panel installation, energy efficiency, and basic safety and construction skills.

As the Renewable Portfolio Standard law is implemented, demand for solar will increase dramatically. To help meet this demand, GZEP Solar Plus is preparing participants for successful careers in solar installation, the mayor said.

The newly-signed legislation is slated to become effective after a Congressional review period.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.