By - Jim Vess

New Jersey unveils a broad plan to reach 100 percent clean energy target by 2050

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019

A multipronged, draft energy plan aimed at getting New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 was unveiled June 10 by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

The plan looks to address transportation, energy consumption by buildings, grid modernization, as well as a net-zero carbon electricity generation and energy storage. The plan also calls for incentives for local electricity generation and community energy planning.

“The Draft Energy Master Plan is a comprehensive roadmap toward achieving our goal of a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “The strategies set forth in this draft plan will foster economic growth by creating thousands of jobs in New Jersey’s energy, building, and transportation sectors.”

Murphy, a Democrat elected last November, has already raised the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030.

The 108-page plan starts by saying, “New Jersey’s current trajectory and efforts will be insufficient to reach the goals we have established to address climate change.”

The plan takes particular aim at the transportation sector, which is the single largest source of greenhouse gases in the state, accounting for 46 percent of the state’s total emissions.

“The transportation sector should be almost entirely electrified by 2050, with an early focus on light-duty (passenger) vehicles and short-range, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles,” the plan said.

The plan calls for getting 330,000 light-duty electrical vehicles on the road by 2025 and incentives for the installation of new charging stations.

Diesel-powered transport and equipment at ports and airports should be electrified, the plan said.

For the more traditional target of clean power plans – electricity generation – the blueprint sets the goals of 3,500 megawatts (MW) of wind by 2030 and adding 600 MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 MW by 2030.

A community solar program that allows more state residents to benefit from solar energy, especially low- and moderate-income families, is another of the plan’s objective.

Electricity generation is responsible for 20 percent of the state’s 102.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018.

Buildings are responsible for a combined 62 percent of state’s end-use energy consumption. “Given this, the building sector should be largely decarbonized and electrified by 2050 with an early focus on new construction and the electrification of oil- and propane-fueled buildings,” the plan said.

Residential and commercial buildings were the sources of 24 percent of the state’s carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions in 2018.

The plan calls for improving building energy efficiency and reducing buildings as a source of carbon emissions by improving building codes for new construction and developing programs to retrofit existing buildings.

“We must expand and accelerate the current statewide net-zero carbon homes incentive programs for both new construction and existing homes, study and develop mechanisms and regulations to support net-zero carbon new construction,” the plan said.

Overall, the plan sets the goal of increasing energy efficiency standards by at least 2 percent in the electric sector and at least 0.75 percent in the natural gas sector by 2024.

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