From State Senator Jennifer McClellan, who was the main patron of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in the State Senate.
McClellan Statement on Gov. Youngkin’s Proposed Energy Plan
VCEA Chief Patron: ‘Gov. Youngkin should abandon this flawed attack on affordable clean energy’
Today, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) released the following statement on the proposed Virginia Energy Plan from Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“Two years ago, Virginia passed the historic Virginia Clean Economy Act and Solar Freedom Act into law and joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” McClellan said. “Virginia moved from the back of the pack to become a national leader in clean energy jobs and protecting communities from climate change. Now, the Inflation Reduction Act is poised to further supercharge Virginia’s clean energy economy and lower energy costs for Virginians.
“Just last month, both Dominion and Appalachian Power announced that they planned to raise energy costs due to the increasing cost of fossil fuels. Virginians are paying a price on their energy bills because of our over-reliance on volatile fossil fuels. Now is the time to move forward faster on the clear benchmarks for affordable clean energy passed into law with the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The facts are clear: The Virginia Clean Economy Act will increase use of more affordable clean energy and lead to a decrease in the cost of energy bills for the average Virginia family by $30, according to a 2022 industry group study.
“Unfortunately, Gov. Youngkin’s non-binding Virginia Energy Plan attempts to slow down progress on the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Gov. Youngkin does not have the authority to change VCEA, a law passed with bipartisan majorities in the legislature. His attempted roadblocks would prolong Virginia’s reliance on fossil fuels and increase utility bills for everyday Virginia consumers.
“The Virginia Clean Economy Act provides a consistent glide path to decarbonization that moves Virginia to a clean grid over the course of decades. The stability and predictability of the plan is key to attracting thousands of clean energy jobs and major Fortune 500 companies that have clean energy commitments. Just this summer, LEGO cited Virginia’s 100% clean energy law as a key reason for choosing Chesterfield County for its new factory. Gov. Youngkin’s plan would create roadblocks and mandatory 5-year-reviews that would undermine the predictability of Virginia’s energy system and make our commonwealth lose out on new jobs. The ‘Innovation’ section of the Governor’s plan recognizes these benefits, so it’s disappointing the plan as a whole undercuts them.
“The VCEA is already doing the work of increasing deployment of low-cost renewable energy, and it provides a clear path with flexibility for innovation over the next decades. Industry leaders, climate advocates and utilities like Dominion have all stated that Virginia has the tools to reach the benchmarks set out in the VCEA. And, the federal investment from the Inflation Reduction Act will only expedite investment in Virginia – as long as we stay on the path set by our bipartisan law.
“It’s ironic that Gov. Youngkin is choosing to attack Virginia’s climate plan on a day that Hampton Roads is in a state of emergency because of flooding. It’s even worse that this plan attacks the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative law passed by the legislature, which is providing hundreds of millions of dollars to coastal communities like Hampton Roads to address flooding. Gov. Youngkin cannot pick and choose which laws he implements. He should abandon this flawed attack on affordable clean energy, and get to work implementing the laws that Virginia passed.”
McClellan was the Senate patron of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which made Virginia the first southern state with a 100 percent clean electricity standard. The VCEA paved the way to the creation of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project off of Virginia Beach, the largest offshore wind project in America. Since the VCEA’s passage in 2020, Virginia has brought in thousands of new clean energy jobs, including 300 offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing jobs coming to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
McClellan was also the Senate patron of the Solar Freedom Act, a law to increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and the Pipeline Accountability, Oversight, and Protection of Virginia’s Water Act. McClellan was chief co-patron of the Virginia Clean Car Standard.