The Future of Clean Energy in New Jersey
The Beginning of Clean Energy in New Jersey
On February 9, 1999, New Jersey became one of the first states to establish a green initiative with the Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act. This Act was signed into law to fund programs that advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies throughout New Jersey.
Since then, New Jersey has continued to pave the way for a future of clean energy. Click here for a comprehensive New Jersey Clean Energy Policy Timeline courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Bold Energy Policy for New Jersey
Governor Phil Murphy has championed changes to New Jersey’s energy policy to more proactively combat the detrimental side effects of climate change.
Since taking office in 2018, Governor Murphy, with Legislative support, has pushed to restructure New Jersey’s solar program and revive a dormant offshore wind industry that is now set up to be a national leader in the renewable energy field. Governor Murphy has also unveiled an Energy Master Plan that provides his blueprint toward achieving 100% clean energy by 2050.
Energy Master Plan for New Jersey
In January 2020, Governor Phil Murphy unveiled an Energy Master Plan outlining his strategies to help New Jersey achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
- Strategy 1: Reducing Energy Consumption and Emissions from the Transportation Sector
- Strategy 2: Accelerating Deployment of Renewable Energy and Distributed Energy Resources
- Strategy 3: Maximizing Energy Efficiency and Conservation and Reducing Peak Demand
- Strategy 4: Reducing Energy Consumption and Emissions from the Building Sector
- Strategy 5: Decarbonizing and Modernizing New Jersey’s Energy System
- Strategy 6: Supporting Community Energy Planning and Action in Underserved Communities
- Strategy 7: Expand the Clean Energy Innovation Economy
Reducing Energy Emissions from the Transportation Sector
The first part of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan is to reduce energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector. New Jersey’s transportation sector accounts for 46% of the state’s net greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest source of emissions.
Governor Phil Murphy has set a goal of registering 330,000 electric vehicles in New Jersey by 2025, which is just one of the many steps he has implemented across the
State to curb energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector.
New Jersey’s It Pay$ to Plug In
The It Pay$ to Plug In program was designed to expand New Jersey’s growing electric vehicle infrastructure by providing grants to help offset the cost of purchasing and installing electric vehicle charging stations.
Charge Up New Jersey
Charge Up New Jersey is an incentive program that offers up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission vehicles, including battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric.
New Jersey Partnership to Plug-in
The New Jersey Partnership to Plug-in is a statewide partnership co-led by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. This partnership aims to create a strategic and streamlined framework to support New Jersey’s electric vehicle infrastructure and to meet Governor Murphy’s goal of registering 330,000 electric vehicles in New Jersey by 2025.
Clean Fleet EV Incentive Program
The Clean Fleet Electric Vehicle Incentive Program supports local and state governments transitioning their fleets to electric vehicles. Initially introduced in 2019 as a $210,000 pilot program, the program has rapidly grown alongside New Jersey's ambitious clean energy goals. And in June 2021, the Clean Fleet Incentive Program allocated $7 million for Fiscal Year 2022, dedicating $6 million for state entities and $1 million for local governments.
The Expansion of Solar Energy in New Jersey
Thanks to the strides New Jersey has taken to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, New Jerseyans have already seen an increase in solar energy across the state.
In July 2012, formerGovernor Chris Christie signed the Solar Act, mandating that 4.1% of electricity sales come from solar by 2028. Not only did Governor Phil Murphy accelerate the solar requirements to 5.1% by 2028, but New Jersey surpassed the updated goal by April of 2020.
In 2020, New Jersey was the nation's sixth-largest producer of electricity from solar energy and ranked third in generation from small-scale solar generating systems, such as rooftop solar panels. Overall, solar power accounted for 6.5% of in-state electricity.
Offshore Wind Power: Coming Soon
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has been hard at work creating the framework for New Jersey’s future of offshore wind power. Several projects are already in the pipeline, and experts predict that offshore wind could begin powering New Jersey homes as early as 2024. These projects are also expected to create thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars for the economy.
Expanding the Clean Energy Innovation Economy
Expanding the clean energy innovation economy is another key component of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan. As such, Governor Phil Murphy established The New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology (CSIT).
"New Jersey is getting back to its core mission of being a cutting-edge home for research and innovation that improves and saves lives, creates good jobs, and changes our world for the better,” said Governor Murphy.
In its short existence, CSIT has already implemented multiple grant opportunities specifically designed to expand New Jersey’s clean energy innovation economy.
- The Clean Tech Research and Development Voucher Program supports early-stage cleantech/clean energy companies in New Jersey. It helps them access core facilities and equipment for cleantech research and development.
- The Clean Tech Seed Grant Program is aimed at helping new jersey based early-stage cleantech/clean energy companies accelerate the development and innovation of clean technologies. The goal of the program is to move discoveries from the research stage into commercially viable technologies, leading to industry and investor interest.
- In July 2021, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities agreed to provide $2.5 million in clean energy funding to execute the second phase of the Clean Tech Seed Grant Program and expand the scope of the CleanTech R&D Voucher Program.
Clean Energy has a Bright Future in New Jersey
New Jersey’s clean energy programs have already delivered clean, local renewable energy sources resulting in significant energy cost savings to New Jersey ratepayers. And, it’s just the beginning as established programs continue to grow and new initiatives begin to take hold will take off over the next several years.