With a Landmark Bill, This Tiny State Just Became the Biggest Renewable Energy Hot Spot

With a Landmark Bill, This Tiny State Just Became the Biggest Renewable Energy Hot Spot

by | published June 20th, 2018

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After years of stagnation, the “Garden State” just made energy history.

Governor Phil Murphy just signed a landmark clean energy bill into law that will allow New Jersey to become the hottest renewable energy economy in the U.S.

In fact, the 50×30 mandate, which requires New Jersey companies to generate 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030, marks one of the biggest new policy steps that any state has taken toward slashing greenhouse gases since President Trump was elected.

“Today, we’re taking another step forward in rebuilding New Jersey’s reputation as a leader in the development of clean energy sources while fulfilling a critical promise to foster our state’s energy future,” says Murphy. “Signing these measures represents a down payment to the people of New Jersey on the clean energy agenda I set forth at the beginning of my administration – a plan that will always consider the best interests of our residents and our environment while growing our economy.”

According to Murphy, The Renewable Energy bill, A-3723, establishes ambitious renewable energy standards, including:

  • Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): This requires 21% of the energy sold in the state be from Class I renewable energy sources by 2020, 35% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. A cap on costs provides additional protections for consumers.
  • Offshore Wind: The bill codifies the governor’s goal of 3.6 GW of offshore wind by 2030. It also reinstates an expired program to provide tax credits for offshore wind manufacturing activities.
  • Energy Efficiency: This requires each utility to implement energy efficiency measures to reduce electricity usage by 2% and natural gas usage by 0.75%.
  • Energy Storage: This provision codifies the governor’s goal of achieving 600 MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 MW by 2030.

The bill also creates America’s biggest offshore wind target, which could help the fourth-smallest state in the U.S. to win the regional race to the top. Governor Murphy’s 3,500 megawatt (MW) target totals nearly half of the 8,000 MW of planned offshore wind across the growing Northeast market.

The bill’s energy storage goal is also America’s most ambitious target.

New Jersey’s goal of achieving 600 MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 MW by 2030 drives it into national leadership and could make the state a hub for grid-scale storage jobs.

Not stopping there, however, Governor Murphy simultaneously issued an executive order calling for the state to develop a plan for 100% clean energy by 2050.

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The Renewable Energy Revolution Gains Momentum

The bottom line is this: New Jersey’s landmark move proves that the renewable energy revolution is just starting to hit a full stride in U.S.

In fact, thanks to plunging prices in solar, wind and efficient innovations like LED lighting, the clean energy revolution tipping point is downright inevitable.

Like myself, Michael Liebreich -founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance- has been calling the clean-energy transition inevitable for years. In 2018, for example, he said that “the inevitable conclusion is that at some point there will be a phase change, and clean energy will be the norm, not the exception.”

Let’s just look at the facts for a moment…

Global investment in renewable energy reached almost $280 billion last year, led by the three major electricity markets – China, India, and the US – which have each been aggressively pursuing renewable power for years.

Renewable sources now account for the majority of new U.S. power capacity, according to Forbes.

Renewable power sources accounted for nearly half, 49.9% of the 24.6 GW of new U.S. electrical generating capacity put into service in 2017.

The renewable energy sector has also become a major job creator here in the states: since 2009, the solar industry created one out of every 80 new jobs, and the country’s fastest-growing occupation is wind turbine technician.

Even oil-giant BP predicts a 400% growth in renewable energy by 2040.

No wonder renewable energy has quietly become one of the single-most profitable sectors for savvy investors.

You’d have to be downright foolish not to capitalize on this massive trend.

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