Washington D.C. Passes Historic Climate Legislation, Establishes 100 Percent Renewable Energy Goal

D.C. Council commits to powering the district entirely with renewable electricity by 2032

Rebekah Whilden, Washington D.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club, rebekah.whilden@sierraclub.org

Stephanie Steinbrecher, Sierra Club Ready for 100 Action, stephanie.steinbrecher@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Washington D.C. Council unanimously approved the “Clean Energy D.C. Omnibus Act of 2018,” a bold climate bill that includes a commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity supply across the district by 2032.

The legislation establishes a goal to use 100 percent renewable electricity across the district, meaning all municipal operations, residences, and businesses within D.C. will be powered entirely by renewable sources – including the White House.

The Sierra Club D.C. Chapter worked with the D.C. Climate Coalition to gain support for ambitious climate action from lawmakers, build a diverse coalition of local community groups, and demonstrate broad public support for this bill. The coalition gathered over 10,000 petition signatures over the course of this three-year campaign.

In addition to the requirement for electric utilities to source their supply from 100 percent renewable sources, the bill also:

  • Increases fees on energy from dirty sources like coal and gas and uses the revenue to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy programs

  • Sets up one of the nation’s strongest energy performance standards for existing buildings to maximize energy efficiency

  • Encourages drivers to purchase electric vehicles, expands electric vehicle charging stations and requires buses and other large fleets to transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable electric power

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has previously pledged to make D.C. carbon neutral by 2050, has ten days to take action and sign the bill.

In response, Mark Rodeffer, Chair of the Sierra Club D.C. Chapter, released the following statement:

“The nation’s capital is a model for the rest of the nation on climate action, leading the way to reducing greenhouse emissions through smart investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Sierra Club and our environmental allies have spent incalculable time and energy working on this bill and we could not be more gratified by its passage today. D.C. has ambitious carbon reduction and climate targets, which we were not on track to meet before passage of this bill. But we’ll be on the path to substantial reductions of climate pollution once Mayor Bowser signs this bill.”

Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, issued the following:

“The District is leading where the federal government has failed us, and we applaud D.C. for passing this historic clean energy legislation today. This bill is among the most ambitious pieces of climate legislation in the country, and today it became law because the D.C. community demanded it. The decisions made and policies discussed within the nation’s capital affect the country, and the world. The fact that our nation’s capital -- including the White House -- will be powered by 100 percent renewable sources of electricity shows what the future looks like in a way that the Trump Administration’s policies do not. Today, D.C. delivered the winning vision our country needs, where local action drives us forward to 100 percent clean, renewable energy for everyone.”

Councilmember Mary Cheh issued the following:

“We are on the threshold of passing legislation that will put us at the forefront of the nation in the effort to combat climate change. Even though by ourselves we are a small jurisdiction, we can serve and have served as a model for other jurisdictions. More importantly, we are in a loose association with other local and state jurisdictions so that even though the federal government is in default of international climate accords, we will meet them.”

Washington D.C. joins the states of California and Hawaii, as well as 102 cities across the United States, to establish a 100 percent renewable energy goal. The full list of commitments can be viewed here.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.