Energy

DC Council Passes 100 Percent Renewable Energy Bill, Electric Bills To Rise

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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In what is officially the most aggressive renewable energy mandate in the country, the Washington, D.C., City Council voted to reach a 100 percent renewable standard by 2032.

In a unanimous vote, the D.C. City Council on Tuesday passed the “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018,” mandating the nation’s capital obtain all of its electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, within 14 years. Now it is up to Mayor Muriel Bowser to sign it into law or simply allow it to become law without her signature. The Democrat could veto the bill, but that is not expected, and the unanimous support from the city council means it would likely be overridden anyway.

Renewable energy officials hailed the vote.

“The D.C. City Council has just passed some of the strongest clean energy legislation in the country,” said Abigail Harper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, in a Wednesday statement. “Moving to 100 percent renewables is not only doable, but doable at a much faster pace than many recognize, and D.C. is taking a clear lead. This historic legislation can serve as a model for other states and cities looking to build on their clean energy goals.” (RELATED: Former Trump Economic Adviser Calls Green Energy Mandates A Tax On Poor People)

Solar advocates have reason to welcome the bill. Along with calling for total renewable energy by 2032, the Clean Energy Act mandates 10 percent of the city’s electricity come from local solar generation by 2041 — a major increase considering solar currently amounts for just over 1 percent of the city’s generation.

The bill establishes a number of other climate-friendly initiatives, including new building efficiency standards and incentives for electric vehicles. D.C. residents can also expect to see their gas bill increase by about $2.10 per month and their electricity rates rise by about $1 dollar. The new fees will add around $15 million into the city’s “Green Bank Initiative,” which funds various environmental projects.

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Muriel Bowser, mayor of the District of Columbia, speaks to reporters at Trump Tower, on Dec. 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The soon-to-be-law is the country’s most aggressive renewable energy bill, surpassing the mandates recently set out in other states.

California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill in September that mandates the state reach 100 percent clean — not renewable — energy by 2045. Hawaii has established a 100 percent renewable energy mandate to be reached by 2045. The governors of New York and Washington state have also both announced plans to transition their states toward total clean energy.

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