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Washington, DC, Approves 50% Renewable Electricity By 2032 Target

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The Washington, DC, legislature has approved a new bill (B21-650) that commits the district to 50% renewable electricity by the year 2032.

Image Credit: Solar panel, wind turbine & globe via Shutterstock

The bill also creates a new program — “Solar For All” — that will aim to slash the electric bills of around 100,000 low-income DC households in half by 2032, primarily through the use of renewables and energy conservation.

“Today’s vote is a major step toward growing the District’s clean energy economy,” stated Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3), lead sponsor of B21-650. “This bill will create good-paying jobs, more affordable energy, and healthier air for all District residents.”

press release from Chesapeake Climate Action Network states that the bill, “sets one of the top-five mandatory clean energy goals in the nation at the state level.” Going on: “By creating incentives for 1,500 megawatts of new solar and wind power, the bill will quadruple jobs in DC’s solar industry, which currently employs 1,000 people. It will also reduce climate pollution at a rate equal to taking 500,000 cars off the road per year.”

DC’s current renewable energy standard calls for 20% renewables by the year 2020, a goal which will seemingly be achieved if current trends continue.

“Washington, DC is already seeing a solar boom, and it’s about to get a whole lot bigger,” noted Atta Kiarash, Construction Manager at DC-based Solar Solution. “Today’s vote will create an estimated 4,000 new DC jobs in the solar industry that pay middle class wages and offer career pathways for DC workers.”

The Executive Director of the DC Environmental Network, Chris Weiss, commented: “With Mayor Bowser’s signature, DC will join the ranks of a number of cities and states leading a clean energy revolution. The DC Council is taking the steps necessary to more aggressively curb carbon emissions that cause climate change. Additionally, the Solar for All program will make sure clean and affordable renewable energy is available to all District residents. The DC Environmental Network urges Mayor Bowser to sign this bill as soon as possible.”

The press release continues, noting: “DC has more than enough renewable resources at hand to meet and exceed the 50% target approved today. DC can meet its higher goal by tapping just 11% of the wind power already in queue to be developed in the region. Meanwhile, DC’s total solar potential is 2 gigawatts, or four times greater than the 5% solar ‘carve-out’ set by the new legislation.”

That may be true, but it doesn’t make the achievement of the goal a sure thing — not without the hard work that’s necessary. That said, price trends in the solar and wind industries (and the coal industry as well) point towards the “inevitability” of a paradigm change in electricity production in the US over the coming decades.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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