The Garden State Gives Coal, The Cold Shoulder

State Economy

The population of the Garden State,  New Jersey is approximately 9.39 million people[1]. New Jersey is the 11th most populated state in in the United States.

In 2021, New Jersey’s economy was ranked 10th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the pharmaceutical, financial services, advanced manufacturing, technology, transportation, film, and health industries[3].

Environmental Policies

In 1991, New Jersey enacted a Renewables Portfolio Standard[4], which requires state utilities generate 50% of all electricity sales from renewable energy by 2030.

In 2005, New Jersey joined Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based collaborative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Power Generation Capabilities

In July 2022, utilities used natural gas (62.2 %), nuclear power (34.6 %), and renewable energy (3.2 %), to generate electricity in New Jersey[5]. Solar, biomass, and wind are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in New Jersey.

In July 2022, the average cost for residential electricity in New Jersey was 17.21 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 15.46 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in New Jersey include:

  • 1,100 MW Offshore Wind Project – Danish multinational power company, Ørsted is continuing work on the Ocean Wind I project, which is located approximately 15 miles off the southern coast of New Jersey. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 1,148 MW Offshore Wind Project – Ørsted is continuing work on the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the Ocean Wind II project which scheduled to be submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in 2023. The Wind II is forecast to be commissioned in 2028.
  • 1,510 MW Offshore Wind Project – French power company, EDF and Anglo-Dutch energy company, Shell are continuing work on the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind project, which will be located 10 to 20 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The first of two phases of the project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • Offshore Wind Port – The New Jersey company, Public Service Enterprise Group is continuing work on the New Jersey Wind Port, along the eastern shores of the Delaware River. The wind port will support the construction and operation of multiple offshore wind farms and is scheduled to be completed by April 2024.
  • 50 MW Solar Project – American solar company Dakota Renewable Energy is continuing work on the Nabb Solar Iproject at a site approximately 50 miles south of the state capital, Trenton. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 34 MW Solar Projects – New Jersey solar company, Infiniti Energy is continuing work on multiple commercial and industrial solar projects across the state. All the projects are scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • 32 MW Solar + 2 MW Energy Storage Project – Massachusetts engineering firm, Ameresco is continuing work on a solar plus energy storage project at a site approximately 15 miles southeast of Trenton. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2025.
  • 16 MW Solar Project – In September 2021, New Jersey solar company, CEP Renewables commissioned a solar project at a site approximately 30 miles northwest of Trenton.
  • 9 MW Floating Solar ProjectNew Jersey company, NJR Clean Energy Ventures is continuing work on a floating solar project at the New Jersey American Water Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant, which is approximately 40 miles northeast of Trenton. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • 7 MW Solar Project – In January 2021, Governor, Phil Murphy commissioned the state’s first community solar project at a site approximately 35 miles northeast of Trenton.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In June 2021, American solar company, CS Energy commissioned a community solar project at a site approximately 40 miles northeast of Trenton.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In March 2022, Massachusetts solar company, Navisun commissioned the Linden Hawk Rise community solar project which is being built on a former landfill at a site approximately 30 miles northeast of Trenton.
  • 1 MW Solar Project – In May 2021, New Jersey solar company, Soltage commissioned a community solar project at a closed landfill in the southern region of the state.
  • 3 MW Solar Project – In July 2022, New York company, Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company commissioned a community solar project at a closed landfill in the central region of the state.

Conclusion

New Jersey has no coal mines and no coal reserves[6]. The coal that is used to fuel the state’s power plant is imported by rail from Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia.

In 2005, 20.7% of New Jersey’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants[7]. In July 2022, None of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease in the use of coal?

  1. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America[8].
  2. EconomicsThe cost to generate power from coal is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like solar.
  3. Climate Change Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

New Jersey’s power goal  is to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, through renewable energy, energy storage, transportation electrification, and grid modernization. New Jersey has streamlined the permitting processes to build new renewables energy sites and has invested in infrastructure, such as the wind port facility.

The Garden State has given coal, the “cold shoulder” and has taken steps to ensure the continued reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the future.

 

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

[1] New Jersey Population 2021, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in New Jersey – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – New Jersey State Profile and Energy Estimates

[6] U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2018

[7] U.S. Energy Information Agency, New Jersey Electric Power Consumption Estimates 1960 – 2018

[8] Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019

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