The district has a current goal of obtaining 50 percent of its power from renewables by 2032, and the change reflected in the bill represents the most aggressive, fastest-acting climate change legislation in the country. It would also allow the district to enact regional agreements with neighboring Virginia and Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Two committees of the D.C. Council separately and unanimously approved the bill Tuesday and moved it to a vote before the full council.
“We can’t be walking or strolling toward solutions, we need to run,” council member Charles Allen, a Democrat, said before voting to approve the bill on the Transportation and Environment Committee. “The damage being done at the federal level can’t be reversed in a year or two.”The full council is slated on Nov. 27 to conduct the first of two votes on the 100 percent renewable energy bill.
To help pay for the transition to renewables, the bill would impose a fee on electricity and natural gas consumption that the legislation’s authors say would add $2.10 to D.C. residents’ average monthly gas bills and less than $1 to their average monthly electricity bills. About 20 percent of the money raised from those fees would be used to provide financial help to low-income D.C. ratepayers. The rest would go to local “sustainability” projects.
The district, under Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, is already among the furthest along in transitioning away from fossil fuels and conserving energy. About 74 percent of D.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. The Democratic-dominated states of California and Hawaii also have laws mandating 100 percent electricity from carbon-free sources, but those set a later target date than D.C. is proposing — 2045.