(The Center Square) – The New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee has advanced a bill that would codify the state’s energy goals outlined under the 2019 Energy Master Plan.
“These are the goals we are aiming for, and these are the goals we will achieve,” state Sen. Kip Bateman, R-Neshanic Station, said in a news release. “The numbers reflect a very aggressive approach, but technological advancements make them feasible, and with the support of New Jersey residents, we are already making strides in the right direction.”
However, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) opposes the bill, saying the objectives do not account for feasibility, reliability or the cost to taxpayers.
The measure, S-3667, includes goals of at least 330,000 light-duty electric vehicles registered in the state by 2025. Additionally, by 2025, at least 35% of the electricity used in the state should be produced by renewable sources, and by 2030, that number increases to at least half; it also mandates New Jersey’s offshore wind facilities generate at least 3.5 gigawatts by 2030 and 7.5 gigawatts of power by 2035.
By 2025, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey should emit 35% fewer greenhouse gases than it did in 2006, and at least half of the agency’s light-duty vehicles should be electric. Under the measure, NJ Transit needs to operate at least one battery-electric train by 2025.
“We are at the starting line of a complete transition of the way New Jersey is powered,” said Bateman, who co-sponsored the measure with state Sen. Bob Smith, D-Middlesex/Somerset. “This will be one of the most environmentally transformative eras since the industrial revolution, and this time we will be clearing the air.”
The NJBIA argued that the costs of the plan remained unknown and that there were still concerns about the impact on the power grid.
“While we are generally supportive or reasonable measures to advance clean energy goals, we oppose the blanket incorporation of various EMP goals as State goals codified by legislation,” NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor said in a news release. “The EMP was not intended for this purpose and has other significant flaws.
“We should not be moving forward with major energy policies, as law, until we understand what the cost to the public will be and if our grid will remain reliable,” Cantor added.
The organization also said the energy master plan was based on Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) modeling that did not consider reliability or parameters specific to the Garden State, including its economy or energy usage.
“This is an unacceptable position as energy reliability needs to be a centerpiece of any energy strategy,” Cantor said. “RMI, itself, called the EMP ‘aspirational’ and that it should not be the basis for regulations. It also recommended reviews every three years for progress and adjustments.
“Moreover, the state Board of Public Utilities has not yet developed its ratepayer impacts reports,” Cantor added. “When you consider that the significant costs contained in the EMP strategies have yet to be fully developed, it’s irresponsible to codify these objectives as law.”