RICHMOND, Va. — A sweeping energy bill that supporters said would make Virginia a national leader in addressing climate change passed the state House Thursday amid warnings by critics that it will carry a steep price tag.
The legislation, called the Virginia Clean Economy Act, moved to the Senate for its expected final passage.
One of the new Democratic majority's priorities this session, the bill would overhaul how Virginia utilities generate electricity, laying out a path toward zero carbon emissions by 2045. It paves the way for an enormous expansion of offshore wind generation, solar or onshore wind generation, and the use of battery storage technology, which advocates say will create thousands of jobs.
The legislation requires utilities to meet certain energy efficiency standards utilities and establishes annual goals for the sale of renewable energy. It also contains provisions advocates say will remove barriers to rooftop and shared solar energy.
The House passed the bill 51-45, and the Senate was expected to pass it Friday, sending it to Gov. Ralph Northam, whose administration has been involved in the negotiations.
The bill's sponsors said hundreds of hours of negotiations have gone into the legislation. Participants in those talks also included Dominion Energy, environmental groups and Advanced Energy Economy, a national association of businesses.