DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser hosted a press conference with Courtney Snowden, Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO); Tommy Wells, Director of the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE); GRID Alternatives; and participants in DOEE’s Green Zone Environmental Program (GZEP), where she signed the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016. This legislation, introduced by Councilmember Cheh and unanimously passed by Council, will solidify the District’s position as a national leader in the push to decarbonize our economies, increase access to clean energy for DC residents, and create a long-term pipeline for green jobs and business creation.
“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,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We will serve 100,000 low-income households by 2032—that’s more than 6,000 homes per year, and we’ll reduce their electricity bills by 50%, as a result. 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.”
“This week’s extreme heat and our volatile weather, including last week’s hail storm and this winter’s blizzard, are examples of the impacts climate change will continue to have on our city and the planet,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “The Renewable Portfolio Standard bill expands the set of tools we need to address and mitigate the effects of climate change in the District and will help keep us on track to meet our Sustainable DC goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and to ensure renewables make up at least 50% of the District’s energy supply by 2032.”
This summer, DOEE entered into a grant agreement with GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic to launch GZEP Solar Plus, in partnership with Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP), to provide District young adults ages 18 to 24 paid training in solar panel installation, energy efficiency, and basic safety and construction skills.
“We are excited our Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment program participants are part of an initiative that exposes them 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,” said Deputy Mayor of Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney Snowden. “We look forward to partnering with the District Department of Energy and Environment to promote the benefits of the “Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016”.
As the Renewable Portfolio Standard law is implemented, demand for solar will increase dramatically. To help meet this demand, GZEP Solar Plus is preparing participants for successful careers in solar installation. Today’s press conference was held at the site of a residential solar installation recently completed through the GZEP Solar Plus program. “This is an investment not just in our environment but in our economy as well, providing good career opportunities for young people like the young men and women in the GZEP Solar Plus program, and reducing the energy cost burden for 100,000 low-income D.C. residents over the next 15 years,” said Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. “We’re excited to partner with the District to make sure all of our communities can benefit from solar.”
The newly signed legislation is slated to become effective next month. For more information on this bill and other District sustainability programs, visit: doee.dc.gov.