The General Assembly made progress on climate in 2021, but our work here is hardly done

Virginia MercuryThe General Assembly made progress on climate in 2021, but our work here is hardly done. By Ivy Main.

Before the start of the 2021 legislative session, I highlighted three areas where Virginia needed to make significant progress to support its climate agenda: transportation electrification, improving the energy efficiency of buildings and giving consumers greater access to renewable energy.

The General Assembly delivered on one-and-a-half out of three. If we add bonus points for smaller successes, maybe we can call it a total of two. The transportation category truly outperformed expectations, but building efficiency underperformed and renewable energy access didn’t perform at all.

In the transportation sector, the General Assembly passed the Clean Car Standards requiring manufacturers to deliver more electric vehicles to Virginia dealers (HB1965); approved a statewide study of transit equity (HJ542); approved (but so far has not funded) an electric vehicle rebate program (HB1979); directed the SCC to report on ways to electrify transportation (HB2282); and established a school bus electrification fund (also empty for now)(HB2118).

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