Gov. Phil Murphy announced Jan. 20 that planning has begun for the development of a new Energy Master Plan (EMP) that will be released next year.
In a press release, Murphy’s office said the 2024 EMP will reflect the state’s “updated climate goals and the impacts of recent state and federal policies that will help accelerate the state’s transition to a 100% clean energy economy.”
“After five years of bold climate action in New Jersey, we must not only assess our progress to date, but renew our commitment to a clean energy economy while taking stock of the breadth of resources at our disposal,” Murphy said in a statement. “Only by developing and diligently pursuing an updated climate mitigation strategy can we build upon our efforts to cultivate resilient and sustainable communities.
“In addition to taking into consideration the implications of new state and federal policies, the 2024 Energy Master Plan will seek to better capture economic costs and benefits, as well as ratepayer impacts, throughout our journey toward a clean energy future,” Murphy continued.
The 2019 EMP was developed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities as a “statewide blueprint to achieve a 100% clean energy economy by 2050 while meeting offshore wind development and energy storage goals through a least-cost pathway,” according to Murphy’s office.
The 2024 EMP, they say, will update and expand upon that pathway with new information on recent state and federal policies and federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Administration added that more time is needed to compose the EMP to focus on data-driven modeling to ensure it demonstrates the full economic and environmental impacts.
Stakeholder meetings originally set to begin early this year will be rescheduled until later in the year to inform the Energy Master Plan Committee’s construction of the report.
At the forefront
NJBPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said the impact of clean energy policies on ratepayers is “paramount” as this process gets underway.
“NJBPU looks forward to working with state cabinet colleagues to implement our clean energy programs to meet the governor’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050,” said Fiordaliso. “With the devastating impact of climate change upon us we must continue to putting in place the right programs for New Jerseyans that will lead to a cleaner environment, improve health outcomes, and help expand the state’s clean energy economy.”
“We are eager to further optimize this pathway to a clean energy future by engaging in robust stakeholder engagement, analyzing economic and ratepayer impacts, and devising a strategy that better reflects our current arsenal of policy tools and resources,” said Jane Cohen, executive director, Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy.
“Accurate and updated modeling of the energy sector is crucial to ensuring that the next energy master plan continues to complement the Global Warming Response Act and work effectively in moving New Jersey toward our carbon emission reduction goals,” said Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette.
Tim Sullivan, New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) chief executive officer, said that the transition to a clean energy future is critical not only for the environment and New Jersey residents’ health and well-being, but also for our economic future.
“Under Gov. Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey has made huge strides in combatting climate change, which has put us at the forefront of the clean energy economy,” said Sullivan. “An updated Energy Master Plan will help unlock greater opportunities to create high-quality, good-paying jobs for our families today and for generations to come.”
A major concern for the business community regarding the EMP is the potential high cost associated with its transition, especially pertaining to boiler electrification, which NJBIZ has extensively covered.
“Gov. Murphy’s announcement that he is shelving his re-write of the Energy Master Plan until 2024 will afford the opportunity for robust debate in the 2023 Legislative mid-term elections on his current EMP Strategy Four policy of mandating the retrofit of every building in the state with electric heat,” said Eric DeGesero, executive vice president of the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, in a statement. “The members of the 221st Legislature, to be sworn in Jan. 9, 2024, will be the ones who decide if they will grant Gov. Murphy the legislative authority he currently lacks for such a costly mandate.”