The VCEA Substitute – A Few Quick Takes

As February 7th, a substitute for the Virginia Clean Economy Act VCEA (HB 1526) has been introduced and reported out of the Labor and Commerce committee. I am working through the substitute VCEA to understand what is now on the table. Here is what I have gleaned so far:

  • It requires that Virginia join RGGI and get to zero emission credits by 2050.
  • It allocates 45% of RGGI funds to a flood preparedness fund.
  • It allocates 50% of RGGI funds to programs for low-income energy efficiency programs.
  • It uses RGGI revenue to fund reporting that requires GHG reductions resulting from RGGI be tracked and accounted for.
  • It does not allow offsets or fuel-netting to be used to meet CO2 reductions that are required by RGGI.
  • The timing is a bit hard to follow. It appears that the RGGI regulations go into effect in 2025 and that RGGI will regulate emissions from 2031 to 2050. However, it requires that the reporting on RGGI begin in January, 2022.
  • The bill gives biomass wide access to be counted as a renewable energy resource.
  • It removes language that had allowed utilities to recover revenue reductions due to lost revenue from energy efficiency programs. 
  • It makes energy efficiency pilot programs “in the public interest.”
  • It places a pseudo-moratorium on new fossil fuel plants by saying they are only allowed to meet reliability requirements and/or if a utility has met its energy efficiency goals and cannot address anticipated electric energy growth via demand response and storage.
  • It requires that the SCC consider the social cost of carbon in approving any new generating facility (as a benefit or a cost).
  • It increases the amount of utility scale renewables that are “in public interest” from 5,000 MW to 16,100 MW capacity.
  • It removes language that had said planning for new nuclear capacity  is “in the public interest.”
  • It makes 5,100 MW of offshore wind “in the public interest.”
  • It has requirements to direct investment and hiring relating to the provisions of the bill to disadvantaged communities. 
  • It allows existing nuclear power to remain in place and separates it from the calculation of Dominion’s total electric energy for the purpose of RPS calculations.
  • It would get VA’s regulated electric utilities to 30% renewables by 2030. This would get Dominion to about 60% carbon free by 2030.
  • It gets Dominion to 100% carbon free by 2045. It gets APCO to 100% carbon-free by 2050.

I will make updates as I make my way through the bill and other bills related to it.

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