Distributed Energy Resources

N.J. offers initial blueprint for shift to 100% clean energy by 2050

The state of New Jersey on June 10 released a draft 2019 Energy Master Plan that provides an initial blueprint for the conversion of New Jersey’s energy profile to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, as directed by an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy.

The plan defines clean energy as carbon-neutral electricity generation and maximum electrification of the transportation and building sectors to meet or exceed the New Jersey Global Warming Response Act greenhouse emissions reductions of 80 percent relative to 2006 levels by 2050.

The statewide, multi-agency effort is led by New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, in collaboration with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

In a news release, the BPU said that the Energy Master Plan encompasses a dramatically broader scope than previous Energy Master Plans and features a series of seven strategies that will guide the state to reach Murphy’s 100 percent clean energy goal.

The strategies include:

  • Reducing energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector, including encouraging electric vehicle adoption, electrifying transportation systems, and leveraging technology to reduce emissions and miles traveled;
  • Accelerating deployment of renewable energy and distributed energy resources with a focus on historically underserved populations by developing offshore wind, community solar, a successor solar incentive program, energy storage, energy efficiency, smart inverters, and non-wires solutions. It also involves opening electric distribution companies’ circuits for distributed energy resources and developing low-cost loans or financing for DER;
  • Maximizing energy efficiency and conservation and reducing peak demand, including enacting 0.75 percent and 2 percent utility energy efficiency standards, expanding New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, adopting new clean energy and energy efficiency financing mechanisms and strengthening building and energy codes and appliance standards;
  • Reducing energy use and emissions from the building sector through decarbonization and electrification, the expansion of statewide net zero carbon homes incentive programs and the development of EV ready and demand response ready building codes;
  • Modernizing the grid and utility infrastructure by encouraging utilities to establish integrated distribution plans and adopting non-wires solutions, modifying the current ratemaking process and piloting alternative rate design, and instructing gas utilities to prioritize the replacement of pipelines leaking methane, among other tactics;
  • Supporting community energy planning and action in underserved communities through incentivizing local, clean power generation, prioritizing clean transportation options in these communities, and supporting municipalities in establishing community energy plans; and
  • Expanding the clean energy innovation economy.

The BPU said it is concurrently developing an integrated energy plan that will model scenarios reflecting the draft Energy Master Plan’s strategies to identify least cost pathways to achieve clean energy by 2050.

The final Energy Master Plan will include this modeling, as well as further stakeholder input, other studies, and dates and metrics that are not yet reflected in the Draft Energy Master Plan.

The BPU will host public meetings to collect feedback and comments from key stakeholders on the draft Energy Master Plan, which is available here.