Can NJ’s clean energy push make a difference to climate change?

New Jersey is making good progress in developing clean, renewable energy sources, but there’s still work to be done, a new report finds.

The Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center report, “Renewables on the Rise,” examines the growth of five renewable energy sources in the Garden State relative to the rest of the country over the past decade.

Using solar energy in New Jersey

New Jersey Environment Director Doug O’Malley said the report ranks the Garden State eighth in the country for using the power of the sun.

“New Jersey is one of the richest states in the Northeast for solar power, and we continue to see an expansion of all types of solar power in the state,” he said. .

And while O’Malley has said New Jersey will never be California or Florida for the sun, solar panels continue to be added to the roofs of homes and businesses across the state.

He said solar power remains a key part of New Jersey’s clean energy future and that it is important to “ensure that solar power is more accessible for all areas of the state and that ‘it can provide the energy we need when our energy demand is greatest.

Most popular electric vehicles

The report also reveals that New Jersey ranks sixth nationally for electric vehicle sales.

O’Malley said the sale of electric vehicles has increased dramatically over the past decade in New Jersey, thanks to incentive programs and a dramatic increase in the number of charging stations being built.

“No matter what type of car or truck you like to drive, there is an electric vehicle version out there, and this growth in consumer choice and lower prices have helped drive more electric vehicles onto the road.” , did he declare.

Soaring gasoline prices could also help boost sales of electric vehicles, O’Malley said, as motorists rethink their “relationship with the gas pump.”

“Obviously, if you drive an electric vehicle, you never have to go to a gas station again,” O’Malley said.

Wind power

The report reveals that New Jersey ranks 39th in the country for the use of wind power, but O’Malley said this was misleading as plans for a massive wind farm several miles offshore. Atlantic City shores that will power millions of homes have already been developed and approved. .

“We can totally expect New Jersey to be a leader in offshore wind power in the coming years of the 2020s,” O’Malley said. “New Jersey is number one in terms of offshore wind potential. We are really the number one to move projects forward.

O’Malley said it is expected that by the end of 2024 or early 2025, offshore wind will begin supplying tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the Garden State.

Energy efficiency improvements

The report also reveals that New Jersey ranks 28th in the country for increasing energy efficiency, such as requiring energy efficiency standards for new buildings. The state ranks 10th for clean energy battery storage, and efforts continue to improve the state’s position for these two categories.

The report notes that the United States now produces 23 times more solar energy than in 2011. In addition, the country has also tripled the amount of wind power produced, energy efficiency programs save 17% more energy than in 2011. and the country’s battery storage capacity for solar and wind power has grown more than 18-fold since 2011.

O’Malley said that while New Jersey is doing well in expanding solar power, encouraging the sale of electric vehicles and setting the stage for dramatically increasing the use of wind power, there is some work to do.

“We need to double our efforts right now to be able to meet our clean energy and climate goals,” O’Malley said.

He stressed that New Jersey must become a national leader in clean and renewable energy.

“We are on the front lines of climate change. Whether you’re on the Jersey Shore experiencing flooding or you’re inland and still recovering from Hurricane Ida. “

You can contact reporter David Matthau at [email protected]

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