Every Monday, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating this week. This week we’re covering Michigan’s 100% clean energy legislation, the Biden administration’s plan to tackle climate crisis while addressing the housing crisis, investments in offshore wind and farm conservation, and a ban on single-use plastics in Wales.
Michigan’s legislature recently passed a bill package requiring the state to get 100% of its energy from carbon-free sources (ex: wind, solar, etc.) by 2040. The bills, which passed along strict party lines, mandate yearly increases in Michigan’s renewable power standard and set an intermediate target of 80% clean energy by 2035. The Senate will review changes made to the bills before sending them to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign off.
Transitioning away from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy means fewer emissions from the energy sector and healthier air and water for Michigan communities.
Source: Bridge Michigan
The Biden administration is offering grants, loan guarantees, tax incentives, and below-market interest rate loans for projects that convert commercial properties into residences or create affordable housing near public transit.
The goal of this plan is to bring “housing and jobs closer together”, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in order to simultaneously cut emissions from transportation and address the nation’s affordable housing crisis.
The Biden-Harris administration has approved a proposal from Dominion Energy to build the nation’s largest offshore wind project to date off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Once completed, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will add 2,600 megawatts of clean energy to the grid, or enough energy to power 900,000 homes. Additionally, the project is expected to create 900 construction jobs and an estimated 1,100 annual jobs once operational.
President Biden has announced that his administration will invest nearly $2 billion in additional funding for established programs under the farm bill. The funding includes $1 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to bolster project funding from non-federal entities, $250 million for both the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, and $100 million for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to protect farmland from commercial development.
This investment is the largest one-year funding commitment several of these programs have ever received and will serve to fund energy and conservation projects across the country.
The Welsh Government is enforcing a nationwide ban on a slew of single-use plastic products including single-use plastic plates, cutlery, drink stirrers, drinking straws, plastic-stemmed cotton buds, and cups or takeout containers made from expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene.
The ban is building on existing efforts by communities across Wales to go plastic-free and will reduce the amount of plastic pollution in Wales. It is the first step of a multi-phase plan from the federal government toward eradicating single-use plastic in the country.