Building a Clean Energy Economy

“To get New Jersey right, we must both grow our economy and make it fair. Investing in clean energy does both. We can rebuild our middle class, combat climate change, and protect our environment by restoring New Jersey’s place as a leader in the green economy. Plain and simple, we can both do good and do well.”

New Jersey was once a leader in developing clean, renewable energy – which created good jobs in our state and made our environment cleaner and our energy infrastructure more resilient. Unfortunately, Governor Christie abandoned that legacy – diverting billions away from clean energy projects and causing us to miss out on $130 million more by removing New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). In addition, he slow-rolled or outright killed the development of solar, wind, and other renewable energies. In doing so, he perpetuated the false choice between environmental protection and economic growth, and we all suffered as a result.

In the era of President Trump, who continues to deny the unquestionable reality of climate change, Phil will take immediate action to address this crisis at the state level. In doing so, we will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, increase access to clean energy, and grow our economy. 

Expanding Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency

Within his first 100 days in office, Phil will start the process of creating a new State Energy Master Plan that will set New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Investing in clean energy and energy efficiency is a commitment that will create thousands of good-paying, green jobs. Higher renewable standards will motivate public and private sector actors to adapt accordingly and expand the clean energy market. Phil will grow the clean energy sector and further our energy efficiency programs within the new State Energy Master Plan by:

  • Rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as one of his first acts in office. 
  • Setting the most ambitious offshore wind target in the country – 3,500MW of offshore wind generation by 2030, which will power 1.5 million homes.
  • Prioritizing solar energy expansion and ensuring that New Jersey regains its status as a national leader in solar energy production and job creation.
  • Establishing New Jersey as a leader in clean energy storage, with a goal of 600 MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2000 MW of storage deployed by 2030.
  • Increasing funding and providing market incentives for energy efficiency.
  • Banning fracking and the storage of fracking waste in New Jersey and banning fracking in the Delaware River.

Preparing for climate change impacts

After Hurricane Sandy, the Christie administration failed to secure our fair share of federal funding, oversee contractors, and direct aid to adapt and protect New Jersey’s coastlines and flood prone areas from further storms. Phil promises to fight for every federal dollar, increase transparency, and make decisions on disaster relief based on the public interest, not partisan politics. By preparing for climate change impacts, New Jersey will avoid major losses and embark on a path toward a more resilient and sustainable future. Phil will accomplish this by:

  • Prioritizing investment in resilient electric grid infrastructure, such as smart grids, micro-grids, and advanced metering.
  • Electrifying transportation to cut emissions, which represents 40% of NJ’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reinstating the Office of Climate Change within the Department of Environmental Protection.

Building a green economy

Economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. For too long, the people of New Jersey have been fed the false rhetoric that you can either cut greenhouse gas emissions or have a job – but not both. In reality, building a green economy encourages innovation, grows an entire sector, and increases jobs. For every $1 spent on early-stage clean energy R&D investment, an additional $1.60 is generated in output in other sectors of the economy. Phil recognizes that a clean environment is vital to our future and our economic growth, and he will work to build a green economy by:

  • Providing green financing, by using RGGI proceeds to capitalize green financing programs administered through the state’s public bank, which will provide low-interest loans for green projects in our communities.
  • Creating green jobs through investments in offshore wind, energy efficiency, solar, and alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Supporting innovation and R&D in higher education.

Ensuring the green economy works for all of us

Too often the conversations about climate change ignore the disproportionate impact on lower-income and politically vulnerable communities. Meanwhile, the environmental concerns in these communities are staggering – in Newark, for instance, as many as one in four children have asthma. Other states already incorporate environmental justice into their environmental impact assessment process, and New Jersey should follow their lead. Phil will bring a renewed emphasis on environmental justice by:

  • Dedicating a portion of RGGI funds to environmental justice projects.
  • Establishing community solar to ensure that everyone can take advantage of the opportunities that clean energy provides, regardless of where they live.
  • Incentivizing use of clean energy and the electrification of our ports to reduce emissions.