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Executive order puts state on path to generate 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050

Environment America

RICHMOND, Virginia — Gov. Ralph Northam handed down an executive order today with a stated goal of using renewable energy to meet all of Virginia’s electricity needs by 2050, with an interim target of 30 percent by 2030.

Executive Order number 43, titled “Expanding Access to Clean Energy and Growing the Clean Energy Jobs of the Future,” calls for state agencies to achieve that goal via strategies incorporating solar and onshore wind energy, energy efficiency, offshore wind, energy storage and energy equity.

In response, Elly Boehmer, Environment Virginia’s state director and Rob Sargent, the senior director of Environment America’s clean energy program, released the following statements:

“With this executive order, Virginia is taking an important step in its effort to grapple with the existential threat of our time: climate change. However, it’s unclear why we can’t get further than 30 percent by 2030. Other states plan on achieving much more robust short-term goals. While the ultimate benchmark of 100 percent clean and renewable electricity is bold, the 2030 goal is too modest. We expect that Virginia will achieve and surpass this interim goal early, because that’s what the people of Virginia need — and deserve. Environment Virginia is on standby to help in any way possible,” said Boehmer.

“When Environment America launched our national campaign last year with a goal of getting 10 states to adopt concrete 100% clean and renewable energy timelines, few people believed it was possible. Governor Northam’s action is a sign that we are moving in the right direction. With abundant clean energy resources, including the sun and the wind blowing off its shores, Virginia should be aiming higher for 2030. But, it’s encouraging to see this progress,” said Sargent.