New Jersey Needs Better Bridge to Energy Efficiency

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Talk about slow. The Sierra Club is taking New Jersey to task for no movement on its energy efficiency portfolio standard in six years.

The environmental organization has petitioned the state Board of Public Utilities to get going on the standard. The state legislature enacted a law in 2007 that allowed New Jersey to set the long-term, energy savings requirement. But the state has yet to act, the Sierra Club said.

Meanwhile, New Jersey has ceded its once-held leadership position for energy efficiency. Ranked among the top ten states in 2006 and 2007, the state “has since fallen behind other states every year for five consecutive years, 2008 through 2012,” according to the petition.

New Jersey’s slide has been exasperated by Gov. Chris Christie’s decision in 2011 to remove the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the petition said. The cap and trade program is a chief source of energy efficiency funds for Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, channeling $690 million to state efforts so far, according to a data base kept by Environment Northeast.  When New Jersey left RGGI, the state lost access to the funds.

Another problem is that New Jersey has diverted more than $1 billion designated for energy efficiency for other purposes, the petition said.

The Sierra Club called on state regulators to open a fast-track proceeding to create the binding savings targets – at least through 2020.

The full petition is here.


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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


  1. Today I’m not sure what side of the Sierra Club fence I sit … Initially my opinion was golden regarding the group. Understanding that fighting the “good ” fight may require more than donations can be interpreted either way. Some of the “fund drives” are questionable but again my opinion … Our group had approached them 2 years ago ( ok , add sour grapes if you must) regarding a clean energy format that would cost zero …yes zero . Maybe the simplicity created a blind , but the program landed in Illinois a year prior to our Sierra engagement and to date the clean energy mix is more than California …ok I added that for shock value . The truth is that many communities within the State of Illinois aggregate the electric supply on the open market . Leverage procures competitive rates as well as revenue streams for each municipality . Community Choice Aggregation works… the program is available in Ohio as well. Over 2/3 of the State are with a RES.. The clean energy mix is more than favorable with some towns

  2. My apologies , The post stuck to my finger ….The state of New Jersey has the Community choice aggregation approval (Only 6 states have the legislation ) . With the help of the Sierra promotion vehicle the state could easily become the cleanest in the nation . This would support the renewable infrastructure within the state allowing for the supply to come from the Garden State . Jobs , local economic stimulus and clean energy for no additional cost … too simple that it gets missed. That just allows the riff raff to enter the equation and ruin this before it can evolve …