DCBIA President Brad Fennell Testifies on Clean Energy

October 10, 2018

Yesterday, Brad Fennell, President of DCBIA and Senior Vice President of WC Smith, testified before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, chaired by Councilmember Mary Cheh on Bill 22-904, the "Clean Energy Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018." The comprehensive bill increases the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 100% by 2032, establishes a solar post by 2032, and establishes standards that electricity suppliers must meet. It removes restrictions on energy efficiency matters. It expands the uses of the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund and also establishes and energy performance standard program for buildings. Among other things, it authorizes the Mayor to commit the District to participation in regional programs with the purpose of limiting Greenhouse gas emissions and requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue regulations by tying the vehicle excise tax to fuel efficiency. Brad Fennell testified in general support of the bill's intent to reduce carbon emissions, and made recommendations. The recommendations include: (1) Expand, not restrict, the places from which renewable energy credits can be purchased; (2) Reduce or eliminate the carve-out for local solar energy in the Renewable Portfolio Standard; (3) Provide for the use of a carbon free options such as nuclear and hydro energy as a tier 2 renewable source in the Renewable Portfolio Standard, or permit the addition of nuclear energy under certain market conditions; and (4) Invest more in electric vehicle infrastructure. To help eliminate some of the costs and negative impact on affordable housing, DCBIA also made the following recommendations (all are low-cost methods of achieving the District's clean energy goals:

  1. exempt rent-controlled properties and affordable housing developments from the mandates of the building energy performance standard program
  2. delay implementation until 2023 to give building owners and managers a 5-year window to prepare for their building budget and planning cycles and further implementation of the Green Bank
  3. Consider providing businesses with a tax credit, similar to the federal 179-D Tax Credits, to incentivize deeper decarbonization.


WATCH the hearing.