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Clean Energy Legislation

This report, prepared by the Environmental and Regulatory Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law, evaluates existing laws and regulations that are relevant to Virginia’s decarbonization plan. The state has a goal of producing 30% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100% carbon-free sources by 2050. 

This legal report evaluates two questions: 1) what existing laws and regulations will help Virginia meet its decarbonization targets; 2) what existing laws and regulations may slow down Virginia’s decarbonization. To consider these questions, the report assesses several clean-energy policy initiatives, including regulatory innovations in Virginia and other states. 

The report finds that significant work has already been done in Virginia to meet the decarbonization goals, but more work remains to be done. Legal roadblocks could appear in permitting decisions at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, proceedings before the State Corporation Commission, at PJM Interconnection, and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Given the long-term timeframe of the project, additional research and legislative revisions will likely be necessary to keep Virginia on schedule for its 2050 target. Virginia is part of a growing number of states working towards decarbonization, with 12 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico having committed to building a 100% carbon-free electricity grid. As we decarbonize, Virginia can learn from these other states, all of which employ overlapping programs and include measures to ensure accountability among various stakeholders. This type of multifaceted approach with strong enforcement mechanisms will be essential to helping Virginia reach its target of zero emissions by 2050.  

For the full report, download the file below. 


Clean Energy Legislation_full report