CSG Law Alert: New Jersey Releases Draft of 2019 Energy Master Plan and Invites Comment

On June 10, 2019, the State of New Jersey released a draft of the 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan (the “EMP”) for comment. If adopted, the EMP would be a seismic shift in New Jersey energy policy.  Quoting the draft plan, “New Jersey is embarking on a significant transition in its energy system, including aggressively pursuing energy efficiency and conservation measures, modernizing the grid, decentralizing electricity production, decarbonizing the energy system, and adding significant additional load to the grid through growth of electricity sales.”  The scope of the changes ahead are likely to touch every business and individual in New Jersey.  The draft plan highlights the following commitments made by Governor Phil Murphy:

  • Increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030.
  • Generating 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030.
  • Installing 2,000 MW of energy storage by 2030.
  • Increasing energy efficiency standards by at least 2% in the electric sector and 0.75% in the natural gas sector by 2024.
  • Transitioning to a new solar incentive program.
  • Developing a community solar program that allows more state residents to benefit from solar energy, especially low and moderate income (“LMI”) families.
  • Putting 330,000 Zero Emission Vehicles on the road by 2025.

The draft EMP proposes the following strategies to achieve 100% clean energy generation by 2050:

  • Reduce energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector by phasing out motor gasoline and conventional diesel consumption as quickly as possible through electrifying the transportation sector, reducing reliance on vehicles and increasing mass transit.
  • Accelerate deployment of renewable energy and distributed energy resources, including the development of offshore wind and in-state renewable energy generation, and the interconnection of carbon-neutral distributed energy resources, on-site generation systems, storage and equipment or processes that are appropriately sized, modular and decentralized.
  • Maximize energy efficiency and conservation and reduce peak demand by setting clear energy related goals and accountability, reducing wasted energy through improvements in building thermal envelopes, appliance efficiency, energy benchmarking, equipment controls, strategic energy management and attention to peak demand reduction.
  • Reduce energy use and emissions by decarbonizing the building sector, which would include include zero net carbon and EV ready construction standards, with an early focus on new construction, and the conversion of oil and propane fueled buildings, and the eventual reduction on the reliance on natural gas for heating.
  • Modernize grid and utility infrastructure by planning for, financing and implementing the necessary distribution system upgrades to handle increased electrification and integration of distributed energy resources, supporting bi-directional grid power flow, empowering customers to manage power consumption and self-generation, and actively engaging in transmission planning and siting, including the use of smart meters and Advanced Distribution Management Systems.
  • Support community energy planning and action in LMI and environmental justice (“EJ”) communities by encouraging municipalities that house predominately LMI or EJ communities to establish community energy plans and enact them with state support, and develop programs that support affordable access to renewable energy and energy efficiency, such as the existing community solar pilot program.
  • Expand the clean energy innovation economy by supporting the growth of in-state clean energy industries through workforce training, clean energy finance solutions and investing in innovative research and development programs, including the establishment of a Green Bank and a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) lending program to increase the amount of public and private capital flowing to clean energy projects and innovations.

Stakeholders will have multiple opportunities to comment on the draft EMP before it is finalized, including six stakeholder meetings held over three days as follows:

  • Stakeholder Meetings on Wednesday, July 17 at 10 am and 1:30 pm at the State House Annex in Trenton.
  • Stakeholder Meetings on Thursday, August 8 at 1 pm and 4:30 pm at Larson Auditorium at Seton Hall Law School in Newark.
  • Stakeholder Meetings on Thursday, September 12 at 1 pm and 4:30 pm at Black Box Theater at the Kroc Center in Camden.

All stakeholders also are invited to submit written comments until 12 pm on Monday, September 16, 2019.

If you have any questions or would like assistance in developing a set of comments, please contact your CSG attorney or one of the authors of this blog post.

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