State lawmakers are currently considering three bills that would increase New Jersey renewable energy reliance. The Legislature appears to be putting the wheels in motion for the energy policy shift that will likely occur now that Phil Murphy has been elected Governor.

[caption id="attachment_22083" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo courtesy of Asia Chang ([/caption]

All of the New Jersey renewable energy initiatives have lofty goals. One bill would require 100 percent of New Jersey’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2050. Another measure would establish greater offshore wind capacity by 2030. The third bill mandates that power suppliers reach certain goals for storing energy. Below is a brief summary of each bill:

(1) Senate Bill 3432: This bill amends the “Offshore Wind Economic Development Act,” with regard to the development of offshore wind projects. The current law requires the Board of Public Utilities to develop an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program to require that a percentage of electricity sold in the State by electric power suppliers and basic generation service providers be provided by offshore wind energy. The current law provides that at least 1,100 megawatts of the electricity sold in the State be generated from qualified offshore wind projects. The proposed legislation would increase that percentage to at least 3,500 megawatts by 2030. 

(2) Senate Bill 3433: The bill requires that, by 2050, all electric power sold in New Jersey by each electric power supplier and basic generation service provider be from Class I renewable energy sources. "Class I renewable energy" is defined as electric energy produced from solar technologies, photovoltaic technologies, wind energy, fuel cells, geothermal technologies, wave or tidal action, certain small-scale hydropower facilities with a capacity of three megawatts or less, and methane gas from landfills or a biomass facility, provided that the biomass is cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner. More than 17 months ago, the Senate passed a similar bill requiring 80 percent of the electricity sold in the State would be required to be from Class I renewable energy by the energy year 2050. However, it failed to gain traction in the State Assembly.

(3) Senate Bill 3434: The legislation amends the “Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act” to require each electric power generator in the State to create and deploy energy storage capacity of 600 megawatts by 2021 and 2,000 megawatts by 2030.

If signed into law, the package of bills would dramatically increase the opportunities for businesses in the renewable energy industry. New Jersey has accomplished considerable growth in the solar sector, while progress has been slower with other renewables, such as offshore wind energy projects. However, businesses in other industries and advocates for utility ratepayers have raised concerns that the aggressive renewable energy targets will lead to high energy costs and may hinder growth.

Do you have any questions? Would you like to discuss the matter further? If so, please contact me, William Sullivan, at 201-806-3364.