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Solar, nuclear, offshore wind: The keys to NJ’s carbon-free future

New Jersey is a leading state when it comes to generating carbon-free electricity using solar, wind and nuclear energy. Collectively known as the Carbon-Free Three, they will work together to help New Jersey to become as clean as it can, as fast as it can. In a recent LinkedIn article from PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo, we learned how New Jersey’s Carbon-Free Three provide significant benefits for the environment, the economy and public health, and have put the state on a path to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Read more from Ralph Izzo in this LinkedIn article:

New Jersey’s Carbon-Free Three – solar, nuclear, offshore wind

One effect of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, which brought economies to a standstill, has been a significant reduction in carbon emissions. According to one study, daily global emissions have been measured as much as 17% below last year’s averages.

These short-term drops are enormous – yet they are temporary, unsustainable and still fall far short of the massive carbon reductions that will be needed to meet the world’s 2050 climate goals. If we’re going to make sustained, meaningful cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, we’ll need to continue our pre-pandemic efforts to decarbonize the energy sector.

New Jersey is already among more than a dozen states where policymakers have pledged to eliminate emissions from electric generation by 2050 – part of a worldwide movement to drastically decarbonize the economy in response to the immediate and long-term impacts of climate change.

New Jersey has a head start on decarbonization because nearly 40% of its electric generation comes from nuclear plants that emit no air pollution, including carbon. The state already is a national leader in solar development and is taking aggressive action to develop offshore wind. And New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan will ensure that all three are part of the state’s clean energy future.

When it comes to generating carbon-free electricity using solar, wind and nuclear energy, New Jersey is ranked sixth in the nation. These resources – New Jersey’s “Carbon-Free Three” – will work together to help New Jersey to become as clean as we can, as fast as we can. Here’s how:

  • Solar: New Jersey is ranked No. 4 for installed solar capacity. As one of the most densely populated states in the U.S., New Jersey has won awards for construction of solar facilities on old landfills and abandoned industrial sites – returning these long-forgotten spaces to productive use as centers for green energy.
  • Offshore wind: Ocean Wind, a 1,100-megawatt offshore wind facility to be built about 20 miles off the New Jersey coastline, is just the first phase of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s ambitious plan to develop 7,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035. 
  • Nuclear: The Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants in South Jersey already provide nearly 40% of the state’s electricity – and more than 90% of its carbon-free power – a critical foundation to the state’s long-term carbon-free ambitions.

Eliminating carbon emission from the electricity generation sector is only the first of several benefits the Carbon-Free Three can provide New Jersey.

Generating electricity without generating carbon emissions contributes to clean air and a healthy environment. Emissions-free energy also produces none of the other pollutants – such as NOx or SOx – that contribute to climate change or chronic health conditions, such as asthma.

Transportation is the nation’s largest source of carbon emissions. Using emissions-free energy to power cars, trucks and heavy equipment would amplify the impact and avoid hundreds of millions of tons of pollution being released into our air every year.

Clean energy also contributes to the economy. New Jersey’s nuclear fleet contributes $800 million to the state’s GDP every year, maintains a workforce of 1,600 direct employees and supports thousands more jobs throughout the state. Development of the recently announced New Jersey Wind Port could mean even more green energy jobs as demand for carbon-free wind energy grows.

And when carbon-free energy is combined with a robust energy efficiency program –  with the power to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills – New Jersey can further shrink its carbon footprint to help make its clean energy goals a reality.

Together, New Jersey’s Carbon-Free Three resources – solar, offshore wind and nuclear – provide significant benefits for the environment, the economy and public health, and have put the state on a path to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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