Solar Energy
  • Legislative Priority: Develop and adopt Clean Electricity Standard (CES) legislation requiring 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and net negative emissions by 2050, with strong commitments to reduce pollution in overburdened communities such as implementing a plan to shutter Peaker plants, and other complementary policies.
  • Budget Priority: End Diversions from the Clean Energy Fund.

Why is this on our agenda? 

New Jersey policymakers recognize the critical need to mitigate the climate crisis by decarbonizing the economy through catalyzing clean energy production. New policy tools and regional approaches to dramatically expand the development of renewable resources within the regional electric grid, extending from Illinois to Virginia, have been explored and require finalization. New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan of 2019 called for a CES to augment or replace the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). After more than two years of policy exploration and development, technical conferences with national experts, and stakeholder input, it is time to adopt a Clean Electricity Standard.

The current RPS and Renewable Energy Credit market were important policy tools to begin the buildout of solar and wind resources, but lack key features needed to reduce emissions at higher levels of renewable deployment. Implementing a CES would greenlight more aggressive clean energy requirements for operation by 2023 in order to generate additional greenhouse gas emission reductions in the state and in the wider regional grid. Based on the most recent IPCC findings, the new CES should require 100 percent of all electricity sold to be from clean electricity by 2035, with net negative emissions by 2050 to offset more carbon than is contributed to the environment. At the same time, the CES should be structured so as to provide strong ratepayer protections against excessive costs, as well as, paired with significant complementary policies to reduce pollution in overburdened communities, such as closing Peaker plants - the dirtiest and most expensive power plants that only run when demand is highest, codifying New Jersey’s laudable offshore wind goals, improvements in county air monitoring programs, and programs to help electrify the most inefficient households.