SOLUTIONS 5/21: The New Jersey Clean Energy Program


By Huck Fairman

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program presented on a Zoom meeting by local Sierra Club member, Kip Cherry and several associates.

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program is picking up speed. Its purpose is to reduce the climate footprints of New Jersey residents and to reduce the greenhouse gases emitted statewide.

Colleagues Joanne Pannone, Kerri Ann Lombardi and Michele Calabrese assisted Cherry in presenting the many purposes and programs within the statewide initiative. In addition, a short video, “Lighting the Way to New Jersey Clean Energy,” served as a further introduction to the effort.

The overall purpose of the state plan is to reach maximum energy efficiency and clean energy by 2050. There are many components to the plan. They include clean production of energy from solar, wind, geothermal, water flow turbines, and of course, the reduction of and saving energy usage.

The New York Times reported the recent national approval for wind farms in Massachusetts and elsewhere along the East Coast.

Also, part of the Clean Energy Program will be ways to reduce home energy usage, facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles (including electric school buses and charging stations,) create green jobs and their training, (already solar-related jobs are twice those needed by the coal industry.)

Additionally, other goals of the program are to improve building health by reducing mold and leakage with better insulation. This will also improve the health of their occupants and reduce their utility bills.

Costs for heating and cooling comprise a large portion of a building’s or family’s expenses. Cleaner air results in better health for occupants and fewer medical costs.

To make these improvements, for businesses and residents, loans will be available, in some cases without interest. Also, appliance rebates will be available, along with partnerships for low income residents.

To evaluate the condition of buildings and to plan and install improvements, the names of home auditors and recommended contractors are available through the program’s sites. The various options for solar installations are also explained at those sources.

While most people would support cleaner energy, the state and the nation nonetheless face business proposals and some individual behaviors that are undermining our environments. There is a private proposal for a natural gas facility on the Delaware River that would increase emissions, along with the likelihood of leaks and spills. A proposed large warehouse would eliminate a recognized sanctuary for local bird populations. Some residents dig up local plants to the extent that it impacts local environments.

Gov. Phil Murphy has the power to protect our state’s environment, and it is hoped that he will continue in his support of all of these measures.