• The state legislature of the US state of Virginia has cleared SB 851 putting it on the path to achieving 100% carbon free status by 2045
  • It will be aiming for 16.1 GW of solar, 5.2 GW of offshore wind power and 3.1 GW of storage capacity in line with Governor Northam’s proposed goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2050
  • It also requires all carbon emitting plants to be retired and all utilities to switch over to generating clean energy 2045

The Commonwealth of Virginia will be aiming to become a carbon free state by 2045. The US state will be sourcing 100% of its electricity from clean energy sources as the state legislature cleared the Virginia Senate Bill 851 (SB 851) or the Virginia Clean Economy Act last week which now needs to be approved by Governor Ralph Northam.

Local media and industry experts have deduced that this target for Virginia means the addition of 16.1 GW of solar and 5.2 GW of offshore wind power. This is in line with Governor Northam’s proposed goal of 100% renewable energy for the state by 2050. As wind and solar power figure big on the list of renewables required, to support these, state utility Dominion Energy will need to procure a minimum of 2.7 GW of energy storage and Appalachian Power (AP) to get 400 MW of storage by 2035. Greentech Media (GTM) said this is one of the biggest statewide storage mandates in the country.

According to advocacy organization Environment America, currently the share of renewables generated electricity in the state is 7%, which needs to be increased to 30% by 2030. All utilities will have to switch to generating 100% clean electricity by 2045, fossil fuel plants will be retired.

The focus on solar is expected to lead to generating some 30,000 jobs in the industry, and ‘generate billions of dollars of private investment, said US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

Virginia joins the likes of its US peers that have adopted the 100% clean electricity target such as California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Washington DC, among others.