Standing near a field of solar panels under construction in Mt. Olive on Nov. 10, Gov. Phil Murphy said he would sign an executive order accelerating the state’s already ambitious goals to deal with climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Previously, the administration had targeted an 80% reduction from 2006 levels by 2050. Under the new order, the goal is a 50% reduction by 2030.
The move is in line with Murphy’s aggressive plans to promote the use of renewable energy sources. In fact, under his Energy Master Plan the state is supposed to derive 100% of its power needs from renewables by 2050.
While environmental activists have applauded the goals, business groups have expressed concerns about the costs associated with the master plan. Perhaps no group has been more vocal than the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, which as the name implies represents petroleum marketers. For this special edition of NJBIZ Conversations, Editor Jeff Kanige spoke with Eric DeGesero, the group’s executive vice president, about the its research about what the plan would mean for homeowners, whether technology can or will help reach those goals and how the governor should go about fighting climate change.
“The state should work with the industry that is involved in energy distribution and work with us to decarbonize the existing fuels because the two primary fuels –natural gas, which is primary by a mile – and heating oil both have a path to achieve the governor’s objective in a more cost effective more measured and, quite honestly, maybe even a faster rate,” he said. “Let’s stop the the mandatory electrification only. Let’s start working on achieving the objective in a more reasonable manner. That’s where our difference with the governor is – on the means. … We’re in agreement. Let’s just work together and do it in a better way.”