Virginia enacts Clean Economy Act – Renewable Energy Standards and Carbon Free Future Achievable

On August 17, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (the “VCE Act”), which establishes mandatory energy efficiency standards and provides a pathway for new investments in solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, and energy storage.

Additional legislation advances the shared solar and energy storage program and  transforms Virginia’s rooftop solar market.

“We are at a pivotal moment to secure an affordable, clean energy future in Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “Together, these pieces of legislation put the Commonwealth in position to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, and lead the transition to renewable energy in a way that captures the economic, environmental, and health benefits for all Virginians.”

The VCE Act establishes a mandatory renewable portfolio standard (“RPS”) to attempt to achieve a 30% renewable energy composition by 2030, a mandatory energy efficiency standard, and the path to a carbon-free electric grid by 2045.

The VCE Act also declares that 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind, 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage are in the public interest.

The Governor also signed additional legislation that:

  1. directs the State Corporation Commission to determine when electric utilities should retire coal-fired or natural gas-fired electric generation facilities and how utility customers should pay for this transition;
  2. supports new investments in solar energy, including the Solar Freedom bill, which will help grow the rooftop solar market in Virginia;
  3. establishes a shared solar program which will allow communities to receive credit for the solar energy they generate through a subscriber system. With a minimum requirement of 30% low-income customers, this program is intended to enable Virginians to participate in the benefits of generating solar energy on their homes; and
  4. will build an energy storage market in Virginia

Duane Morris has an industry facing Energy Practice Group to help individuals and organizations plan, respond to, and address the ever changing landscape of renewables, fossil fuels, pipelines, power plants, and the transmission and generation of energy. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Patrick Morand, Sheila Hollis, Brad Thompson or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: NJ announces Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program

On August 11, Governor Murphy announced the first phase of the NJ Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program (the “PPE Program”). The goal of the PPE Program is to provide small businesses and non-profits with access to the fairly priced personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to facilitate safe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the PPE Program’s first phase, the State will launch a new website that provides micro and small businesses with the information needed to make easier and better PPE sourcing decision. The website will also offer a vetted list of online retailers that have agreed to verify the quality of the PPE they are selling and offer at least a 10% discount to businesses who enter through the State’s website.

Online retailers will be vetted on a first-come, first serve basis by the NJEDA, and must agree to certain performance standards for their site (e.g., transparent pricing, high-quality products, etc.). Vetted online retailers will also be eligible to access an NJDEA grant pool of up to $3.5M to support the purchase of PPE that is manufactured in New Jersey or sourced from a small wholesaler based in a historically underserved community.

Applications to become one of the NJ PPE Access Program Designated Vendors are expected to open in the near future.

Guidelines for practically all sectors require businesses to provide PPE to their employees. This new NJEDA program is geared toward smaller-sized businesses that have few funds to spare for the new costs.

This first phase of $4 million in funding is meant to encourage wholesalers’ purchase of PPE made or assembled in New Jersey. They would be eligible for subsidies of up to 20 percent of what they spent to get the equipment if it’s sourced in New Jersey, or from wholesalers in “historically underserved communities.”

A second funding, of approximately $11 million, is meant to cover the costs for smaller-sized and microbusinesses to purchase the equipment. The NJEDA expects 50,000 separate New Jersey businesses to spend a combined $45 million on PPE, with support from the new state subsidy.

Interested parties can also reach out to NJEDA staff at:  www.SmallBusinessPPE@njeda.com.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!