New Jersey Ups Renewable Energy Requirements

New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has quintupled the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for the state's utilities from 4% to 20% by 2020.  This move puts New Jersey at the forefront of renewable energy development. 

Another emerging feature in RPS is to set aside a certain portion of the RPS for specific resources.  This fosters development of a wider range of resources, some of which might otherwise be uneconomical.  In particular, set-asides for solar power - which is among the most expensive form of renewable energy - are becoming more popular.  The BPU's new regulations include a 2% solar set-aside, which is forecast to require 1500 MW of solar power installations.

The BPU's decision follows a challenge by newly-elected governor Jon Corzine to create a new energy policy, as well as extensive studies on the feasibility and benefits of adopting a 20% RPS.  In support of its decision, the BPU cited a raft of benefits expected from renewable energy, including fuel diversity, price stability, clean air and reduced greenhouse gas emission that cause global warming.