With smart energy policies and forward thinking, New Jersey is reducing fossil fuel dependence and increasing its use of different types of renewable energy. This policy shift reduces pollution, creates jobs, builds our economy, and helps ensure safe, healthy communities.
New Jersey is a clear leader in the adoption of renewables. In May 2018, ReThink Energy NJ was proud to support passage of the Clean Energy Act, laying the groundwork for rapid progress. A key provision requires increasing the amount of electricity obtained from renewable sources from 14 percent in 2019 to 21 percent in 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.
The act also establishes ambitious targets for energy storage and New Jersey offshore wind development, as well as the creation of an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard and a Community Solar Pilot Program. It’s a proactive start, but it’s just the beginning. To keep the momentum going, New Jersey will unveil a new Energy Master Plan by July 2019 that will establish a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
The time to shift to renewable energy is now, and fortunately, we no longer have to choose between the healthiest, safest ways to heat, cool, and power our lives, and what costs the least. Renewable energy is essential to lowering the cost of energy in New Jersey, and will also enable us to reduce emissions by 80 percent or more by 2050.
Many types of renewable energy have dropped dramatically in cost over the past decade, and solar and wind are now the cheapest energy sources in many parts of the country. Solar costs 86 percent less across North America than it did in 2009, with wind power dropping 65 percent. A single offshore wind farm could generate $702 million in economic benefits to our state, along with tens of thousands of jobs.
Experts agree: clean energy policy is smart economic policy. In addition to being better for our health and the environment, renewable energy projects create three times as many jobs as fossil fuel energy projects. More than 51,000 New Jerseyans already work in clean energy fields.
Sixty-seven percent of New Jersey voters say we should be creating jobs through renewable energy projects, and that jobs created by harmful pipelines are not worth the environmental and health risks.
The pollution from fossil fuels is even more damaging when factoring in the costs of pollution impacts to public health and the damage wrought by a changing climate. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, poor air quality is linked to respiratory conditions like asthma and increases the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer.
Airborne particulate matter is linked to up to 30,000 premature deaths nationally each year.
And, extreme weather events paired with health impacts from climate change carries a massive social and economic price tag.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency measures can lessen devastating and costly effects on public health.
In September 2018, a statewide poll of New Jersey voters showed overwhelming support for renewable energy across party lines. Three out of four voters were even in favor of the state securing 100 percent of its energy from sources like wind and solar.