Solar panels and canopies at the Royal Courts Apartments on 4th Street SE (Courtesy of Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia)
Solar panels and canopies at the Royal Courts Apartments on 4th Street SE (Courtesy of Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia)

Emile C. Thompson, chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia (DCPSC), says he’s proud of the District’s many accomplishments in the clean energy transition.

Thompson, along with other city leaders, helps the District meet its aggressive climate policy goals, by setting standards and ensuring that D.C.’s clean energy transition is equitable and affordable and creates climate resiliency. 

Thompson is especially proud of the District’s renewable portfolio standard that aims for D.C. utilities to produce power with 100% renewable energy by 2032. By 2041, 10% of electricity must come from solar energy sources.

“Our most important climate achievement is ensuring the utilities meet the District’s clean energy goals,” said Thompson. “The District has some of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the nation, and it’s important that our utilities do their part to help us achieve those goals.” 

By the end of 2021, the District deployed 2,337 new solar energy systems, including 82 Community Renewable Energy Facilities (CREFs), which are larger solar facilities, often installed above parking garages, on warehouse roofs or in other open areas.

“Each year we have an increment that we’re supposed to meet to get to that goal (of having 10% of electricity come from solar), and right now, we are ahead of that increment. We’re actually almost two years ahead of that 2022 increment. We really hope to maintain and sustain that momentum going forward,” said Thompson.

The DCPSC is also leading by organizing a clean energy summit. The 2023 summit, the District’s second, will take place in person and be live-streamed from 12:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Jan. 18, 2023, at the DCPCS office in D.C. Speakers will include federal government officials, state and local regulators, renewable energy leaders and utility executives who will address their climate goals, achievements and challenges. 

“I think a lot of people hear and know about the clean energy transition, but they don’t know how they can participate, how they’re a part of it, or how some of the big topics that are discussed really apply to them,” said Thompson.  

Three sessions during the summit aim to help people better understand issues associated with the clean energy transition. The panels will focus on federal clean energy legislation, workforce and supply chain development, and clean energy affordability.

Featured speakers and moderators at the summit include Thompson, the DCPSC’s Commissioners Richard A. Beverly and Ted Trabue, plus the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Commissioner Willie L. Phillips.

During that first panel, national experts will explain how new federal measures will help spur climate action and will focus on available tax credits, rebate programs and the regulator’s role in supporting clean energy programs and their impact on utility customers. The panelists will address the measures’ impact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The second panel aims to help the DCPSC and other regulators nationally develop a diverse workforce and supply chain that moves clean energy goals forward while ensuring the energy infrastructure is reliable and affordable. Panelists will describe investment and economic opportunities in all communities, explaining how to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into clean energy research and deployment efforts.

A third panel will focus on questions related to the costs associated with the clean energy transition and how we can ensure that no one is left behind in this transition. The panel will examine utility payment arrearage programs and how to address rising customer rates. Panel discussions will include an analysis of the energy burden based on household income, the effects of local and federal legislation on energy expenditures, and how rate changes are affecting District residents.

“I think [affordability is] the key component of the clean energy transition that maybe doesn’t always get the same bandwidth that some of the other topics do,” said Thompson. “There’s always a great gap. And so we’re always looking to close that delta because we want people to take advantage of these programs. These topics are critical because affordable electricity has become, to many, a basic necessity,” said Thompson. 

To register for the summit, attend in person, or watch the live stream, visit www.dcpsc.org/ces.

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