Press Release: Virtual Net Metering (VNEM) Statement from Vote Solar Deputy Program Director – West, Andrea León-Grossmann
OAKLAND, Calif. (November 17, 2023) – The recent decision on Virtual Net Metering (VNEM) by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) represents a major setback for the state’s leadership in the clean energy transition. Unfortunately, this decision hampers the ability of schools, farms, and small businesses to fully embrace onsite solar generation, deepening the challenges they already face in choosing solar energy. These entities, essential to our communities, stand to benefit the most from the cost savings associated with clean energy and this policy decision hurts the vision of a clean energy future.
Moreover, this decision escalates the financial barriers to adopting heat pumps for HVAC and hot water, as well as electric vehicle (EV) chargers, effectively waging a war on electrification. The increased financial burden, compounded by rising interest rates, poses economic challenges for solar and storage companies. Simultaneously, the decision cuts access and equity for clean energy, disproportionately affecting low-wealth and historically underserved communities.
In direct contradiction to its own environmental and social justice action plan, the CPUC has chosen to overlook the commitment to improving air quality and public health through access to EV charging for Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ) communities. Instead of aligning with our country’s overall climate goals by accelerating emissions reductions and focusing on savings for everyday utility customers, this decision primarily benefits the shareholders of investor-owned utilities by increasing their revenue opportunities. Such a move not only de-centers the people experiencing these impacts but it also undermines California’s progress towards clean energy targets by slowing the ability for people to take advantage of EVs. This keeps our society moving toward the direction of depending on gas thereby intensifying the dangers of climate change.
Now more than ever, we believe it is vital for Governor Newsom and other state leaders to step up and realign the state’s path toward its clean energy goals. By doing so, Vote Solar is confident that California can reclaim its position as a trailblazer in the clean energy transition, fostering environmental sustainability and social equity for all.
About Vote Solar
Vote Solar is an energy justice non-profit working towards a 100% clean energy future by bringing solar to the mainstream. Founded in 2002, Vote Solar advocates for clean energy in legislative and regulatory arenas at the state level, where most decisions about electricity are made. Despite powerful opposition, we use a winning combination of deep policy expertise, coalition building, and public engagement to get the job done.
Lycia Ortega, Vote Solar, email@example.com