Green DC: City Council Approves Renewable Energy Utility

You might recall the struggling Mt. Pleasant co-op that wanted to develop a shared solar energy program that I posted about last week (you can read that post HERE). They were hoping to install panels on their properties and share the solar energy between them, while selling excess power to Pepco to help reduce the financial burden of installing these expensive solar panels.

Unfortunately, their plans came apart when they couldn't reach a deal with Pepco. As a last resort, the co-op went to the city and asked for help. That help came in the form of legislation that would create an independent utility, run by the city government, that would help fund these types of programs, provide citizens an alternative to Pepco and pressure Pepco to purchase unused sustainable energy.

Pepco fought this legislation because it would cut into their market in the District and would pressure them to buy sutainable energy from groups who are currently their customers. They also claimed they were initiating their own renewable energy program and this law would make it difficult to proceed.

In spite of Pepco's best efforts, the City Council yesterday passed the "Clean and Affordable Energy Act." In addition to creating the independent renewable energy utility, the new law provides funding for green job training and programs to help low-income families become more energy efficient.

Chris Weiss, the leader of the Friends of the Earth's DC Environmental Network praised the Council's passage of this legislation saying,
"This act will limit pollution that threatens District residents’ health and way of life. At the same time, it will stimulate our economy and train citizens for green-collar jobs. This is a win-win for the city. Council members deserve credit.”

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