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Sunday, May 26, 2024


Murphy Tries to Lock Clean Energy Target Into Law

Gov. Phil Murphy Lev Radin/

By Vince Conti

TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy is preparing for the day when he is no longer the state’s chief executive. Senate Bill 2978 is an attempt by New Jersey Democrats to codify Murphy’s goal to move the state to 100% clean energy by 2035.

Hours of impassioned testimony on the bill during a hearing before the state Senate’s environmental committee Monday, Nov. 20, have resulted in no action. The bill is now scheduled to be taken up again by the committee on Monday, Dec. 18. The committee’s chair, Sen. Bob Smith of Middlesex, is also the bill’s prime sponsor.

Murphy’s Executive Order 315, issued in February, set a target of 2035 for all electricity sold in the state to be generated from clean energy sources. Realizing that an executive order can be easily changed by a new governor, the legislation is an attempt to codify that target into law.

Controversy over the bill was immediate, with most of it coming from clean energy supporters.

The bill mandates that 65% of the state’s electrical supply must come from clean energy sources in New Jersey. The other 35% can come from out-of-state clean energy sources.

Even some supporters worry that getting to 65% from in-state sources is a tall order given the state of New Jersey’s offshore wind initiative. Labor groups, on the other hand, see the 35% allowed from out of state as a threat to the development of clean energy jobs in New Jersey.

Brian Lipman, the state’s ratepayer advocate, raised concerns about added expense being passed on to those who pay for electricity. Lipman cautioned the environmental committee, Nov. 20, about those in the state who are “living in functional poverty” and who cannot absorb higher rates.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association opposed the bill, arguing that it failed to guarantee electricity that is both affordable and reliable.

In the end the committee agreed the bill needed work and set the Dec. 18 date for reconsideration.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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