The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation Tuesday that would overhaul how Virginia’s utilities generate electricity and, supporters say, move the state from the back of the pack to the forefront of renewable energy policy in the United States.
Critics, though, warned that the legislation, drafted privately by a group that included industry representatives and environmental advocates, strips state regulators of some oversight and leaves ratepayers on the hook for what could be excessive costs.
The measure, called the Clean Economy Act, lays out a plan to get Virginia to 100% renewable generation. The House version would demand that goal be met by 2045 and the Senate’s version sets a deadline of 2050, in line with a goal Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam set in an executive order in September. Differences between the two versions will have to be worked out before the measure can be sent to Northam, whose administration has been involved in negotiating the bill.