What’s Next for NJ Electric Generation?
Heard of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan? It’s New Jersey’s road map to meet the state’s ambitious goal of 100% clean power by 2050. The state got one step closer recently with a pledge to close its last two electricity-generating coal plants by May 31. They’re in good company, too, with coal plants closing down across the world. But as NJ wave goodbye to the Chambers and Logan plants, what’s the best proposal to meet the energy shortfall? Let’s see how things currently stand.
Impact of Last Coal Plants in NJ
The first thing to remember is that New Jersey didn’t get most of its electricity from coal-powered sources in the first place. Even back in 2020, 48% of electricity generation was powered by natural gas, and 42% by nuclear power. In fact, NJ ranks 6th nationally for electricity generation using carbon-free sources like nuclear, solar, and offshore wind. Key steps of the plan involve doubling down on these – so let’s take a closer look.
Replacing Coal Plants in New Jersey
First off, without NJ’s substantial nuclear contribution, meeting its carbon-free goal by 2050 is a non-starter. Reports suggest the plants will need to be preserved until at least 2050. And to that end, zero-emission credit subsidies look set to continue being extended, as they were in 2021, to ensure the plants remain operational. There’s even preliminary chatter about opening up a new, smaller reactor on the site of the decommissioned Oyster Creek plant – but this is still early days.
When it comes to solar power, New Jersey in fact ranks fourth in the nation for installed solar capacity. But if it’s going to provide around a third of NJ’s power by 2050 as planned, it needs to ramp up. Officials hope that a solar incentive program formally adopted last year will lead to the installation of 750 MW solar arrays each year. They’ll be hoping, too that this will rejuvenate the state’s flagging solar power economy.
When it comes to offshore wind, the wheels are already in motion. NJ’s offshore wind farm Ocean Wind, slated for commissioning in the next few years, is a 1,100-megawatt facility in development. But governor Phil Murphy is looking to nearly septuple that offshore wind capacity to 7,500 MW by 2035.
New Jersey: En Route to Zero Carbon Energy
These three clean-power cornerstones should help address the electrical power shortfall as NJ pivots away from coal-powered gas. But for the moment, there’s no way to tell precisely what this will mean for consumer electric rates. Of course, it’s an encouragingly concrete start to an ambitious environmental plan. You can be sure that, as New Jersey cuts these last coal plants, we’ll keep you updated on what you need to know at www.NJenergyratings.com!