Lawmakers Push Christie On Wind Energy

By John Celock

A New Jersey Senate committee pushed Gov. Chris Christie (R) on wind energy Monday, adopting two pieces of legislation that would force state energy regulators to approve a project off the coast of Atlantic City.

The state Senate Environment and Energy Committee passed legislation that would require the state Board of Public Utilities to approve an ocean wind farm proposal, while also adopting a resolution to press the BPU to adopt wind energy regulations in the state, along with energy efficiency regulations. Both the bill and resolution now head to the full Democratic controlled Senate for consideration.

Lawmakers and advocates pressed for the wind energy legislation, saying that it would create jobs and reduce carbon emissions in the state. They noted that it would allow for an ending of dependency on fossil fuels, which one advocate said is killing people.

Jeff Tittel from the New Jersey Sierra Club told lawmakers that they need to adopt the plan because the Republican-controlled Kansas state Legislature did not pass legislation last year to end the state’s renewable portfolio standards. The GOP-controlled Kansas Senate passed the bill, while the GOP-controlled Kansas House narrowly defeated the bill.

“In Kansas right now they are generating wind,” Tittel told New Jersey lawmakers. “The Koch brothers tried to repeal their renewable portfolio standards and the overwhelmingly Republican legislature blocked them. They are generating wind.”

Tittel told lawmakers that off shore wind in New Jersey can generate 9000 megawatts of power.

Tittel focused much of his testimony on energy efficiency, noting the delay in regulations from the BPU has hurt the state overall.

“Since New Jersey has been studying it we’ve gone from 8th in the nation to 24th in energy efficiency,” he said.