Help Local Governments Provide Access to Clean Energy
Studying barriers so we can lower them in time to meet carbon targets
Counties and municipalities throughout VA — including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Richmond, and Charlottesville — have committed to reduce carbon emissions by 2030.
Emissions associated with the electricity used by commercial and residential buildings is the top emission source in most of these jurisdictions. Though the grid is decarbonizing, it's not decarbonizing fast enough to meet the carbon goals.
One of the best strategies available to counties and municipalities is to purchase electricity that's cleaner than the grid average, and this strategy becomes more attractive as renewable energy prices continue to fall.
Though this is allowed in the VA code through "municipal aggregation" (also known as community choice aggregation), the financial, legal, and regulatory barriers are so high that no county or municipality has yet implemented this strategy. Local governments would be hard-pressed to allocate the resources to analyze this complex issue.
We need a study at the state level to figure out how to lower the barriers. HJ545, "Study the Purchase of Clean Energy by Local Governments," meets this need by directing the VA Department of Energy to study the barriers for local governments to directly purchase clean energy or to facilitate the purchase of clean energy by their constituents.