AOBA Helped Shape Sweeping Legislation Adopted by the DC Council to Tackle Climate Change

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Following a year of deliberation about how the District should tackle climate change, the DC Council voted on December 18 to pass the nation’s most sweeping plan to reduce carbon emissions, mandating greater reliance on renewable energy sources. On behalf of DC’s business community, AOBA, represented by Kirsten B. Williams, Esq., Vice President of Government Affairs, DC-Commercial, led discussions on the “CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018”, urging the Council to balance our shared goal of environmental stewardship with the need to manage significant costs of the proposed mandates.  AOBA’s most critical recommendations were included in the final bill.

Key highlights of the legislative changes that AOBA helped achieve are summarized below:

  • Long-term Power Purchase Agreements were eliminated from the legislation, and the renewable energy credit jurisdiction was maintained to the existing PJM territory for more than 10 years.
  • 30% of the funds generated by the city’s Sustainable Energy Utility increases will be used towards workforce development initiatives in energy efficiency fields. Since building engineers will play a large role in the management of the new building energy standards, this financial support will be essential for technical assistance, staffing and training needs. 
  • Department of Energy and the Environment will receive funds to conduct a comprehensive study to help the agency and building owners better understand the potential for cost impacts and benefits to District residents and property owners. This study will include case studies for different categories of buildings.  
  • $3 million annually will be available to assist providers of affordable housing and rent-controlled buildings make energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings.
  • The implementation of the building energy performance standards will be delayed until 2021 to allow time for the ENERGY STAR re-certification to be finalized, and to provide time for a more robust dialog on regulations to be proposed and adopted.
  • A Building Energy Performance Standards Task Force will be developed to explore how factors such as building stock age, construction costs, renewable energy potential, utility costs and existing renewable/energy efficiency policy efforts should be incorporated into the standards.