New Jersey Needs Better Bridge to Energy Efficiency

Jan. 24, 2014
Six years in the making, New Jersey has yet to set energy efficiency portfolio standards. The Sierra Club wants the state to get going. Read about the action the environmental organization recently took to end the jam up.

Talk about slow. The Sierra Club is taking New Jersey to task for no movement on its energy efficiency portfolio standard in six years.

The environmental organization has petitioned the state Board of Public Utilities to get going on the standard. The state legislature enacted a law in 2007 that allowed New Jersey to set the long-term, energy savings requirement. But the state has yet to act, the Sierra Club said.

Meanwhile, New Jersey has ceded its once-held leadership position for energy efficiency. Ranked among the top ten states in 2006 and 2007, the state “has since fallen behind other states every year for five consecutive years, 2008 through 2012,” according to the petition.

New Jersey’s slide has been exasperated by Gov. Chris Christie’s decision in 2011 to remove the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the petition said. The cap and trade program is a chief source of energy efficiency funds for Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, channeling $690 million to state efforts so far, according to a data base kept by Environment Northeast.  When New Jersey left RGGI, the state lost access to the funds.

Another problem is that New Jersey has diverted more than $1 billion designated for energy efficiency for other purposes, the petition said.

The Sierra Club called on state regulators to open a fast-track proceeding to create the binding savings targets – at least through 2020.

The full petition is here.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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