The NJ Spotlight Roundtable Series: Can the Energy Sector Drive New Jersey’s Economy?

In order to meet its ambitious goals for clean energy, New Jersey must rely increasingly on cleaner and greener sources of electricity, especially solar and wind power. Achieving that goal is expected to create a wealth of green jobs, ranging from engineers and developers to construction workers and system installer.

Making the transition to cheaper and cleaner sources of power should help create an economic environment that is far more hospitable to business. Essential to that effort is the development of a robust and resilient energy infrastructure — a key concern in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Rebuilding after Sandy will enable energy providers to modernize their infrastructure and force state policymakers to make the right decisions.

Doing so could turn out to be a very pricey proposition for all ratepayers — consumers, businesses, and manufacturers. One of the most important questions to ask about New Jersey’s energy future is what will it cost. That — and other tough questions — were considered and discussed at the NJ Spotlight Roundtable: Can the Energy Sector Drive New Jersey’s Economy?

Moderator: Tom Johnson, Cofounder and Energy Writer, NJ Spotlight

Panelists included: Ralph LaRossa, President and CEO, Public Service Electric & Gas; Frank Felder, Director, Center for Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy, Rutgers University; Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), Chairman, Senate Environment and Energy Committee; and Thomas J. Massaro, Vice President, Marketing and Business Intelligence, New Jersey Natural Gas

Chapter 1: Introductions and Opening Remarks
As is fairly well known, with more than 10,000 solar facilities already in place, New Jersey is second only to California in the number of solar deployments. That’a a good start, but for solar to really take off in the state, new funding mechanisms must be developed to replace today’s Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). If that can be accomplished, the solar sector in New Jersey could start to realize its enormous potential.

Chapter 2: Panel Discussion
New Jersey’s public utilities are making massive investments — hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases — upgrading their energy infrastructure. At the same time, New Jersey has very aggressive goals for its clean energy programs, including both energy efficiency and an increased reliance on renewables. But in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and the attendant financial burden to cover the costs of rebuilding, will the utilities be able to reach their goals?

Chapter 3: Audience Q&A


DVDs and digital downloads of this NJ Spotlight Roundtable can be purchased here.