Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Act of 2016 Passes Second Council Vote
The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Act of 2016 passed its second Council vote and will become law in the District upon passing Congressional Review. The RPS bill, first introduced by Councilmember Cheh in March, will set a high standard for the District of Columbia in terms of access to and use of renewable energy sources. The Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) is also directed to establish programs to increase the access of seniors, small local businesses, nonprofits, and low-income residents to the benefits of solar power.
“In order to achieve our goal of the Sustainable DC Plan—to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2032 — we must expand our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. The targets set by the RPS bill, although aggressive, reflect what is now viewed as achievable in the renewable energy sector thanks to the rapid evolution of green technology,” said Councilmember Cheh.
Raising RPS to 50%:
The most substantial feature of the bill is the requirement that 50% of the energy entering the District come from renewable sources (such as wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass energy) by 2032. This new standard expands an existing program that is working to reduce the District’s effect on global climate change.
Solar for All:
The RPS bill also creates a Solar for All program, which would require DOEE to use funds from its Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF) to greatly expand its solar programming and help low-income residents install solar systems on their property.
The bill would further require DOEE to develop and implement a plan to reduce the electric bills of 100,000 low-income District households by half by the end of 2032. Requiring that the REDF be used to support programs to reduce the energy burdens of low-income residents will increase the amount of solar electricity generated in the District, allowing us to achieve our sustainability goals while also freeing income for these families to use on other essentials.