NJ gov introduces energy master plan

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - October 22, 2008 The proposal issued Wednesday includes an increasing reliance on renewable sources like wind and solar power, creating clean-energy businesses and jobs and lowering energy costs and consumption.

The state's new Energy Master Plan is the first update in a dozen years.

"With one of the strongest solar programs in the nation, potentially the country's first offshore wind project in the works ... and the most aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the nation, New Jersey has taken the lead," the governor said.

Corzine chose to unveil the plan at Isles YouthBuild Institute in Trenton, which trains high-school students for high-demand jobs like those in clean energy.

The governor said he envisions clean energy as a major driver of New Jersey's economy.

By investing in energy infrastructure, Corzine said 20,000 new jobs could be on the books within 12 years. He also predicted the state could save $30 billion in annual energy costs between 2010 and 2020, due to consumption reductions.

The goal of the master plan is to provide a roadmap for ensuring that New Jersey can meet its energy needs into the future. The plan is designed to ensure that electric and heat consumers can get the energy they need at a reasonable price from sources that are consistent with the state's environmental policies.

Environmentalists cheered the plan because it promotes alternate energy and energy efficiency over fossil fuels and nuclear power.

"It promotes renewable energy, alternative energy and energy efficiency over fossil fuels and nuclear power," said Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club. "We believe this will help create tens of thousands of green jobs in New Jersey at a time when our economy is hurting, and it will save consumers long-term and protect the environment."

Even Republicans issued cautious support.

Sen. Kip Bateman, R-Somerset, a member of the Senate Environment Committee, applauded the state's enhanced energy efficiency for buildings and homes, commitment to solar and wind, and adoption of demand-reduction strategies, as outlined in the plan.

Corzine said the economic and environmental consequences of doing nothing would be too much for the state to bear. Energy prices will continue to rise, further taxing consumers, he said, and the state would be hastening global warming through inaction.

"By embracing new approaches to energy, we are providing the pathway to both economic prosperity and environmental protection," Corzine said.

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