The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on June 10 said that the state has released the Draft 2019 Energy Master Plan (EMP), which aims to convert the state’s energy profile to 100% clean energy by 2050, as directed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 28.
The board noted that the plan defines clean energy as carbon-neutral electricity generation and maximum electrification of the transportation and building sectors to meet or exceed the Global Warming Response Act greenhouse emissions reductions of 80% relative to 2006 levels by 2050.
As noted in the draft EMP, the document outlines a roadmap with seven main strategies to reach the goals of 100% clean energy and 80% emissions reductions from 2006 levels by 2050.
Discussing “Strategy 1: Reduce energy consumption and emissions from the transportation sector,” the draft EMP noted that the transportation sector in the state accounts for 46% of the state’s net greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest emissions source in New Jersey. The transportation sector should be almost entirely electrified by 2050, with an early focus on light-duty – passenger – vehicles and short-range medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, particularly in environmental justice communities, the draft EMP said.
The state will continue to encourage electric vehicle (EV) adoption and deployment of EV charging infrastructure throughout New Jersey, in part motivated by the launch of a tri-agency partnership – co-led by the board, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), and NJEDA – to focus on accelerating aspects of electric vehicle deployment, the draft EMP said. Furthermore, there will be a concerted effort to explore alternative fuel technologies, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and reduce port emissions through such initiatives as expansion of mass transit and electrification of port and airport vehicles and equipment, the draft EMP said.
Of “Strategy 2: Accelerate deployment of renewable energy and distributed energy resources,” the draft EMP said the state should maximize the development of offshore wind and in-state renewable energy generation – including community solar – as well as the interconnection of carbon-neutral distributed energy resources (DER) – on-site systems, storage, equipment or processes that are appropriately sized, modular, and decentralized – to support the economy and increase local jobs, encourage private sector investment, accelerate clean power production, and improve resiliency.
The draft EMP said that that includes transitioning to a successor solar incentive program, encouraging development of renewable energy in low- and moderate-income communities, and training the local workforce. Other recommended solutions include mandating non-wires solutions on state-funded projects, maximizing the use of source separated organic waste for energy production, and encouraging anaerobic digestion for electricity production on natural gas pipeline injections, the draft EMP said.
The board will explore ways to open electric distribution companies’ circuits that are currently restricted from accepting new requests for interconnection of DER, the draft EMP said, adding that solutions to be explored include strategic adoption of energy storage, energy efficiency, smart inverters, and other distribution system protective equipment.
Discussing “Strategy 3: Maximize energy efficiency and conservation, and reduce peak demand,” the draft EMP said that the state “must strengthen efforts toward promoting energy efficiency and managing and reducing peak load, including clear energy-reduction goal setting and accountability, through financial incentives or consequences for utilities that do not meet those targets, reducing wasted energy through improvements in building thermal envelopes, appliance efficiency, energy benchmarking, equipment controls, strategic energy management, and attention to peak demand reduction, and ensuring access to increased efficiency for all residents so that energy burden disparities are not amplified.”
The draft EMP said that the state must enforce the requirement that electric and gas utilities reduce consumption by at least 2% and 0.75%, respectively, expand New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP), and adopt equitable clean energy and energy efficiency financing mechanisms.
On “Strategy 4: Reduce energy use and emissions from the building sector,” the draft EMP said that the building sector should be largely decarbonized and electrified by 2050 with an early focus on new construction and the electrification of oil- and propane-fueled buildings. The draft EMP said that New Jersey must expand and accelerate the current statewide net zero carbon homes incentive programs for new construction and existing homes, study and develop mechanisms and regulations to support net zero carbon new construction, and develop EV-ready and demand response-ready building codes for new multi-unit dwelling and commercial construction.
Discussing “Strategy 5: Modernize the grid and utility infrastructure,” the draft EMP said that the state must plan for, finance, and implement distribution system upgrades that will be required to handle increased electrification and integration of DERs, support bi-directional grid power flow, assess integration of voltage optimization, as well as actively engage in transmission planning and siting.
The draft EMP said that that will require utilities to establish Integrated Distribution Plans (IDPs) to allow for the anticipated growth of DERs and EVs on the electric distribution system. Utilities should propose and adopt tariffs to implement a distributed marketplace that encourages non-wires solutions using private-sector investment, the draft EMP said.
The board will exercise its regulatory jurisdiction and increase oversight over transmission upgrades, the draft EMP said, adding that the state must also instruct gas utilities to prioritize the replacement of pipelines leaking methane.
On “Strategy 6: Support community energy planning and action in low- and moderate-income and environmental justice communities,” the draft EMP said that the state will support and incentivize local, clean power generation, especially rooftop solar and community solar, as well as prioritize clean transportation options in low- and moderate-income and environmental justice communities. New Jersey will also encourage municipalities that house predominantly low- and moderate-income populations to establish community energy plans and enact them with state support, to develop programs that support affordable, equitable access to renewable energy and energy efficiency, the draft EMP said.
Finally, discussing “Strategy 7: Expand the clean energy innovation economy,” the draft EMP said that the state will expand upon its existing 52,000 clean energy jobs to bring cutting-edge clean energy research and development to New Jersey. The state must support the growth of in-state clean energy industries through workforce training programs, clean energy finance solutions, and investing in innovative research and development programs, the draft EMP said, adding that that should include a clean energy workforce needs assessment, for instance.
Among other things, the draft EMP said that the board is concurrently developing an Integrated Energy Plan study that will model several scenarios reflecting the draft EMP’s strategies, as well as identify the most strategic and least-cost pathways to achieve the state’s 2050 goals of 100% clean energy and 80% emissions reductions.
The board said in its statement that it will host public meetings on July 17 in Trenton, on Aug. 8 in Newark, and on Sept. 12 in Camden to collect feedback from stakeholders on the draft EMP; comments are due to the board by Sept. 16.