Study: NJ’s clean energy transition could create economic windfall

Matthew Fazelpoor//June 9, 2022

Study: NJ’s clean energy transition could create economic windfall

Matthew Fazelpoor//June 9, 2022

The Garden State is in line for a major economic boom as it accelerates efforts to transition to cleaner energy sources, according to a pair of studies released this week by the Applied Economic Clinic.

The authors say that New Jersey stands to gain an average of $1.3 billion in economic activity and 11,000 well-paying jobs annually, and $34.1 billion and nearly 300,000 job-years by 2050 as the state electrifies its transportation and building infrastructure and ensures meaningful job standards.

The first report, “Economic Impacts of a Clean Energy Transition in New Jersey,” explored the difference between a status quo scenario of existing state policies versus a complete energy transition, which advocates in the Garden State hope to achieve by 2050.

“Switching from dirty fossil fuels to renewables, batteries, and electrification will create new, good-paying jobs in New Jersey, including entry-level jobs for new workers in the field,” said study co-author Elizabeth Stanton, AEC director and senior economist.

The second report, “Barriers and Opportunities for Green Jobs in New Jersey,” examined the diversity and inclusion of the current clean energy workforce in the state, exploring ways to remove existing barriers to those jobs, especially in underrepresented populations and communities most affected by pollution and climate change.

“New Jersey’s clean energy sector employs far more white men than any other race, with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) often passed over for employment. We must prioritize equitable outcomes from start-to-finish by intentionally considering how women, veterans, and BIPOC are offered seats at the decision-making table,” said Marcus Sibley, New Jersey environmental and climate justice chairman with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “The state must continue promoting inclusive hiring and procurement practices if it expects to improve disparities among vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by inadequate job training, unemployment, pollution, and related adverse health effects.”

Gov. Phil Murphy Clean Energy Future for New Jersey
Gov. Phil Murphy has made offshore wind a centerpiece of his push for cleaner energy. – DANIEL MUNOZ

The study found that with more ambitious clean energy policies and strong labor standards, New Jersey’s clean energy transition will yield about 11,000 jobs annually in the offshore wind, energy efficiency and storage, electrification and solar industries between 2025 and 2050.

“With strong labor standards, union support, and adequate training, high-quality clean energy jobs will offer competitive wages and benefits and fewer occupational safety hazards,” said Debra Coyle, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council. “We recognize that it will be essential to provide adequate resources for workers caught in the transition to retrain and utilize their valuable skills in this new space.”

NJBIZ has extensively reported on the state’s aggressive shift to clean energy, especially in the offshore wind sector.

“New Jersey’s clean energy transition will lead to meaningful employment opportunities as well as critical environmental and public health improvements. This is especially crucial for environmental justice communities, which have been disproportionately harmed by previous energy policies and often excluded from economic benefits,” said Drew Tompkins, coordinator of the Jersey Renews Coalition. “Communities throughout the state will also benefit from enhanced grid resilience, lower electric bills, optimized land use and expanded transportation options – all of which help address historic inequities that these communities face while us forward in the fight against climate change.”

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