Virginia passes bill to achieve 100% carbon-free power by 2045

(Reuters) - The Virginia Legislature passed a bill on Friday that puts the state on a path to 100% clean energy by 2045 as part of the commonwealth’s effort to reduce its impact on climate change.

Virginia Senate Bill 851 requires the state to get all its electricity from carbon free sources like renewables and nuclear. It still requires a signature from the governor, who has advanced a similar plan through executive order.

The legislation would also allow fossil plants to operate if they install carbon capture and storage technologies.

The bill heads to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s office. He made an executive order in September with a goal of producing all the state’s electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050.

The bill also commits Virginia to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 10 U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

In 2019, 60% of Virginia’s electricity came from natural gas, 30% from nuclear, 4% from coal and 7% from renewables like hydropower, solar, wood and other biomass, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With the legislation, Virginia would join several other states that have set 100% clean energy goals, including Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Maine, New York and Washington State, according to Environment America, an environmental advocacy group.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio