N.J. Governor Jon Corzine signs the first of three bills to help achieve goals of the state's Energy Master Plan at the site of a new co-generation plant on the Busch Campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, Tuesday, March 31, 2009. The Governor is joined by Sen. Bob Smith (L), Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (3rd, R) Mike Fischette, president of Concord Energy and Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan. (Governor Photos/Jeff Zelevansky)
New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed three pieces of legislation promoting clean energy this week in an effort to reach the goals set forth in his energy master plan.
The first bill provides grants for combined heat and power production and energy efficiency projects promoting renewable energy.
The second permits wind and solar facilities to be located within industrial zones.
“The bills I am signing today will further our ongoing efforts to protect our environment, to combat global climate change, and make our state and nation less dependent on foreign energy sources,” Governor Corzine said. “A cleaner New Jersey means a better New Jersey, and an even more attractive place for people to live, work, run a business, and raise a family.”
The third bill requires developers to offer solar energy systems in some new home construction.
“We must reduce our reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels by making use of renewable energy resources that can save consumers money and reduce the burden on our precious natural resources,” said Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman. “By using solar energy for heat and electricity we can significantly decrease dangerous greenhouse gases emissions.”
Not everyone was enamored with the new laws though.
“I just don’t believe the state should be using a broad brush approach to locating these wind turbines in all industrial zones,” Assemblyman Vincent Polistina said. “Municipalities should have the right to zone where they see fit.”
Assemblyman Jay Webber agreed, saying if homeowners “wanted to install solar energy or energy saving devices into their homes they could do that on their own without Trenton telling them to discuss the matter.”
But others contend that it’s a step in the right direction, and that the everyday citizen will ultimately stand to gain by the new requirements.
“This will help to drive down escalating energy bills burdening New Jersey ratepayers during the current economic crisis,” said Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula. “Energy efficient appliances, newer equipment, technical audits and plant expansions will help to reduce energy consumption by commercial and industrial entities. These savings will translate into reduced energy bills for New Jersey consumers while furthering the Governor’s Energy Master Plan.”