D.C.’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law was intended to spur new clean energy development and help city residents reap the environmental and economic benefits that come with it. In reality, ratepayer dollars are largely being used to purchase energy from decades-old facilities that burn dirty black liquor, a paper industry byproduct, and wood waste. This must change.
Facilities that burn black liquor and wood waste emit climate-warming pollution at levels on par with burning coal. And they’ve been operating for decades without ratepayer assistance. While other Mid-Atlantic states like Delaware and New Jersey already get 70 percent of their renewable energy from the wind and the sun, only 4 percent of D.C.’s renewable energy mix comes from these clean, modern resources.
Luckily, it’s a simple fix: The D.C. City Council should pass legislation to close the massive loophole for black liquor and wood waste.