Through the aid of asset finance for renewable energy, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and Governor Murphy released the draft 2019 Energy Master Plan (EMP), which provides an initial blueprint for the total conversion of New Jersey’s energy profile to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, as directed by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 28. 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 percent relative to 2006 levels by 2050.

The EMP encompasses a dramatically broader scope than previous EMPs, and features a series of seven strategies that will guide the state to address the imminent threat of climate change and to reach Governor Murphy’s 100 percent clean energy goal. The strategies include:

Strategy 1: 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.

Strategy 2: 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 (DER) and developing low-cost loans or financing for DER.

Strategy 3: 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.

Strategy 4: 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.

Strategy 5: 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.

Strategy 6: 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.

Strategy 7: Expanding the Clean Energy Innovation Economy by leveraging both the economic and environmental opportunities that clean energy provides, and proposing conducting clean energy workforce needs assessment to expanding the Clean Energy Job Training program, to exploring a New Jersey Green Bank, to establishing a WIND Institute, a Carbon-Neutral New Technology Incubator, and a Clean Buildings Hub.

The BPU will host public meetings to collect feedback and comments from key stakeholders on the Draft EMP. Comments are due to BPU by September 16, and the meeting dates are as follows:

· July 17 – Trenton (State House)

· August 8 – Newark (Seton Hall)

· September 12 – Camden (Kroc Center)