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New Jersey target rivals California

Accepting the recommendations from a task force he created in January, New Jersey Governor James E McGreevey called for an aggressive increase to the state's existing renewables portfolio standard (RPS). The task force, consisting of 16 renewables advocates and utility representatives, recommended that the state's utilities buy 4% of their energy from renewable resources by 2008 and 20% by 2020, saying further analysis may warrant an even larger percentage by 2008.

The current New Jersey standard for renewables power in electricity supply portfolios is 6.5% by 2012. The new targets are nearly equal to the RPS passed into law last year by California, which calls for a 20% share from renewables from the state's three largest privately held electric utilities by 2017.

Among the New Jersey task force's other recommendations is a program for utilities to voluntarily offer green pricing programs to retail customers. "Renewable energy is clearly the energy of the future, and this administration is committed to leading the way," says McGreevey, a Democrat. "This administration remains committed to the creation of a clean, renewable power supply. We will also continue to work hard to promote economic development, future energy independence and greater security for New Jersey communities." McGreevey turned the task force recommendations over to the Board of Public Utilities, which will implement the RPS rules.

Thirteen states, including New Jersey, have portfolio standards in their electricity markets. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, when fully developed, these state standards could account for 12,425 MW of new renewable generation. Meantime, attempts by advocates to pass renewables standards in state legislatures failed this year in Colorado, Washington, Oklahoma and Maryland (Windpower Monthly, May 2003).

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