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Senator Bob Smith congratulates Congressman Donald Norcross on his succession to the U.S. House of Representatives.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Bob Smith and Kip Bateman that would make significant changes to existing law concerning Class 1 renewable energy portfolio standards to provide a statutory framework for greenhouse gas emission reduction was approved by the Senate today.

The bill, S-2444, sets ambitious targets aimed at achieving the goals of the Global Warming Response Act, enacted in July 2007 to adopt statewide limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the law mandated the statewide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 20 percent reduction, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. The bill aims to gradually increase the use of renewable energy resources to 80 percent by 2050 as one means to effectively reduce carbon emissions to meet the goals of the Global Warming Response Act.

“This legislation will move New Jersey forward in creating a more sustainable, greener environment and will help us reduce our reliance on carbon-based energy sources to reach our target of an 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050,” said Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chair Bob Smith (D-Middlesex, Somerset). “Global warming and its effects, including a rising sea level, are real. As a coastal state, New Jersey is particularly vulnerable and must change course fast to diversify its energy supply with renewable sources for power in order to slow down the devastating effects of global warming.”

The bill requires an increase in the percentage of electricity sold in New Jersey from Class I renewable energy to 11 percent beginning with Energy Year (EY) 2015, followed by a 10 percent increase by EY 2020, and increases in increments of 10 percent every five years thereafter until 80 percent of the electricity sold in the State is from Class I renewable energy by 2050. Class I renewable energy includes electricity derived from solar energy, wind energy, wave or tidal action, geothermal energy, landfill gas, anaerobic digestion, fuel cells using renewable fuels.

“New Jersey adopted one of the nation’s most aggressive renewable energy portfolio standards in 2011, making us a leader in clean energy nationwide and helping foster a significant solar energy industry in the state,” said Senator Bateman (R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer). “Our legislation will help accelerate the implementation of Class I energy sources, which we should all embrace as a vital effort to make New Jersey a cleaner and greener place to be.”

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 25-14. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

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