New Jersey unveiled a draft of the forthcoming 2019 Energy Master Plan (EMP) required by the 2018 Clean Energy Act and delegated by Governor Murphy to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The EMP sketches the road map for New Jersey’s transition to 100% clean energy by 2050, and once finalized, is likely to have profound implications for New Jersey’s energy and transportation sectors for the next 30 years. Businesses and residents will feel the effects of the EMP, whether through modified energy rates or incentivized procurement decisions, as they will ripple throughout the state’s economy.
The EMP provides insight into the topics and strategies that will be under focus as the BPU progresses toward a final EMP. As can be expected, the draft EMP focuses heavily on accelerating development of alternative and renewable energy resources, coupled with strategies to reduce energy consumption. But the scope spans well beyond electricity generation and efficiency, and the full range of subjects encompassed by the EMP are far too numerous to list in this notification. As a working draft, the BPU is taking comments and scheduling stakeholder meetings.
The EMP is organized into seven broad strategic areas, each comprised of many subcategories and topics for consideration:
- Electrification and increased efficiency of transportation, accelerated adoption of electric vehicles, and expanded mass transit;
- accelerated deployment of renewable and distributed energy resources, primarily solar and offshore wind;
- improved efficiency, conservation and peak demand reduction;
- electrification and strengthened efficiency standards for buildings, including transitions from oil, propane and natural gas heating systems to electrified heating systems;
- modernization of the grid and utility infrastructure;
- outreach and equal opportunity for underserved and environmental justice communities; and
- fostering clean energy innovation.
More generally, the EMP seeks to achieve a balance between strengthening the economy while mitigating costs, such as by identifying job-growth opportunities and least-cost technologies and solutions. In its preliminary form, the draft EMP provides high-level objectives rather than firm pathways, and it calls for a package of studies that will investigate attainable targets, policy mechanisms and best practices that will later be configured into the final EMP.
Input at this early stage will be critical to shaping the commitments adopted by the final EMP, and interested stakeholders are encouraged to submit written comments. This comment procedure affords stakeholders the opportunity to voice any concerns or constructive suggestions for the EMP Committee’s consideration. Stakeholders should act now, as the BPU and EMP Committee will conduct stakeholder meetings in each of the next three months (on July 17, August 8 and September 12), where they will invite written and oral comments. The final deadline for comments is September 16.
If you have questions about submitting comments or involvement in the EMP development process, please contact the authors, an attorney in the Environment & Energy Practice or Government Affairs Practice, or your lawyer at McCarter & English, LLP.