- Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has signed legislation to push the nation's capital towards 50% renewable energy within the next 15 years, a goal she says will increase residents' access to clean energy while also creating jobs and new businesses.
- The goal includes promises to serve 100,000 low-income residents with solar energy by 2032 and reduce their power bills by 50%.
- To meet anticipated demand for solar energy, the city has partnered on a jobs program to provide District young adults with paid training in solar panel installation, energy efficiency, and basic safety and construction skills.
The District of Columbia will now join the ranks of states with aggressive renewable energy targets, such as California, New York and, more recently, Oregon.
A month after the District of Columbia Council unanimously approved legislation to target 50% renewables, Bowser signed the legislation and gave a preview of the city's plan to turn it into a boon for both employment and the environment.
“This groundbreaking new law will enable us to extend the benefits of solar power to many diverse populations – our seniors, our local small businesses, our nonprofits, and our residents and families living on a fixed income,” Bowser said in a statement. “We’ll be creating at least 100 green jobs in the first year with that number growing every year through 2032. That means reducing carbon emissions, lowering residents’ energy bills, and providing pathways to the middle class through the burgeoning marketplace of clean energy – all at the same time.”
The plan calls for serving more than 6,000 low-income homes each year with solar energy. To achieve that. D.C.'s Department of Energy and Environment entered into a grant agreement with GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic to launch GZEP Solar Plus in partnership with Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program.
Under the partnership, District young adults from 18 to 24 will receive clean-energy focused job training.
Deputy Mayor of Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney Snowden called the jobs program "part of an initiative that exposes [young adults] to career opportunities in the environmental justice space while also providing access to clean energy for all District residents especially those East of the River."
Washington has been working to boost its clean energy resources for some time. Last year, Bowser announced the city had signed a power purchase agreement with Iberdrola for the entire output of a wind farm in Pennsylvania, about 125,000 Mwh of clean energy, or enough to power 12,000 District homes.