When is enough clean energy in New Jersey really not enough? It depends upon who you ask at the moment. One side of the fence: New Jersey governor Chris Christie and his “greener and more affordable vision” for the future of energy in his state. On the other: environmental activists like the New Jersey state chapter of the Sierra Club.
Christie yesterday released his state’s draft 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP). It is a bold stroke in the governor’s opinion that will manage energy in a way that “promotes renewable sources of energy, saves money, stimulates the economy and job creation, and protects the environment.” Key elements of his plan call for a variety of items one would consider cleantech friendly, including expanding implementation of commercial and industrial solar projects; promoting the development of large solar generation projects on brownfield sites and landfills to offset the costs to cap or remediate these sites; maintaining support for offshore wind by codifying the statutory requirements of recent New Jersey related legislation; and encouraging energy efficiency at all levels (from homeowner to businesses and state government).
Sounds all great and wonderful, right? There’s a couple thorns in the vision though, at least for some. The issues? As the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports “under the plan, 22.5 percent of the state’s electricity will be produced from the sun and the wind and other renewable energy sources by 2020, as against a program drafted under former Gov. Jon Corzine, who set a goal of 30 percent.” Also of note as a potential negative are new natural gas and nuclear power plans.
The local Sierra Club chapter, among others, were quick to jump on Christie’s plan, saying New Jersey “is going from being a national clean energy leader to a state that takes the side of fossil fuels and nuclear over the environment and economy.”
“This EMP directly undercuts our efforts at developing clean energy in New Jersey,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the NJ Sierra Club, in a statement. “The clean energy goals we are currently meeting are being rolled back. The EMP is EMP-TY and this plan undercuts our efforts”.