Monday, January 9, 2012

NJ solar energy support legislation faces final vote today

A bill to help stabilize New Jersey's solar energy industry is in place for a final vote in Trenton today but it faces an uncertain future should it make it to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.

The record of solar energy system installations in New Jersey has been stellar ( #2 in the nation). But recent developments pose enough of a threat to the thriving economic sector to convince legislators that additional help is needed (Tinkering with solar energy success in New Jersey)

Requiring the state's electric utilities to purchase more solar-produced energy (S-2371) is the key bill in the legislative rescue mission but opposition has been mounting in recent weeks from energy-intensive businesses that say they will be hurt by solar energy's higher costs.

"What the solar developers are asking for is a bailout," said Stefanie Brand, the state's public advocate for utility customers. "They want to get the benefit of the system," Brand said. "And they need more money than the market will give them."

Governor Christie has expressed concern on numerous occasions about how high energy costs discourage economic development. At least one report says the governor will veto the bill if it is approved.

Today is the final day of the current legislative session. If the bill fails, it would have to be reintroduced in the new session that opens on Tuesday and again make its way through committee hearings and floor votes in both the Senate and Assembly.

See the following stories for details:
Tinkering with solar energy success in New Jersey

Utilities face steep solar demands  
No Easy Solutions for the Solar Sector 

New Jersey Assembly Committee Passes Solar Legislation 

Recent blog posts:

Natural gas fracking has new PR problem - Earthquakes
Federal court freezes EPA cross-state air pollution rules

Time runs out on Delaware's offshore wind project

Philadelphia now recycling milk & juice containers, too


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