Legislation that has been proposed in New Jersey would require the state to produce 80% of its electricity by 2050. Bill s2444 is sponsored by Bob Smith and Christopher Bateman, who are both state senators.
“I think the public is realizing more has to be done. I think it’s a way of continuing to get there. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re going to keep pushing,” explained state Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Somerset). Some might say that such a goal is overly ambitious, or that it can’t be accomplished but what is the point of having goals if they are not challenging? It’s very easy to say “No, it can’t be done.” Doing so requires no information, analysis, insight, or knowledge.
Who knows if it can be done, but New Jersey is already a solar power leader in the United States. Thirty-five years is a long time, and it appears that the rate of solar adoption will continue to quicken. Solar power is more affordable than it has ever been. However, most Americans may still not be aware of that fact, and remain attached to the idea that is out of reach. When perception catches up with reality, solar might expand in a way that seems explosive.
One provision in the proposed legislative seems too rigid to the director of the Sierra Club in New Jersey, Jeff Tittel: “We can bring in out-of-state coal… If we can’t bring in out-of-state renewables, what will end up happening is we won’t be able to do all the renewables here but then we’ll bring in out-of-state coal.”
New Jersey is only one of three states in the U.S. with over 1 GW of installed solar power. A recent opinion letter said that the state could achieve 20% electricity production from solar power by 2025. (Much less is currently generated by wind there.)
Energy storage is another technology that could help New Jersey, because it can provide backup electricity when large storms disrupt normal utility services. Greater adoption of this technology combined with further research and development could result in new energy storage capability that goes well beyond what we are seeing now.
Currently, New Jersey gets most of its electricity from nuclear power and natural gas. One of its reactors is the oldest in operation in the United States, so clearly something must be done to replace it.
Image Credit: Mwanner, Wiki Commons