As a result, New Jersey now has the most solar installations in the country per square mile, surpassing California by nearly two to one, the governor said a the second annual Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Governors' Clean Energy Innovation Forum in New Brunswick.
Corzine also said that since 2006, more than 110,000 homes and nearly 6,000 businesses in New Jersey have received energy efficiency improvements. In addition, 20 percent of new homes – approximately 18,000 – are certified New Jersey Energy Star Homes.
Applauding the Obama administration for a new federal-state partnership that promotes clean energy, greenhouse gas reductions, and ‘green' jobs across the nation, Corzine said, "Today we have an administration in Washington that shares our concerns about climate change and our specific vision in New Jersey of an economic revival with the development of ‘green' jobs from renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation."
Corzine added that the U.S. Department of Energy through its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program has just released $14.4 million in aid for the state government to hand out to local governments.
The state will use the ARRA funds to continue state and local efforts to implement programs and projects that reduce fossil fuel emissions, expand renewable energy generation, decrease energy use, and improve energy efficiency.
Corzine also highlighted his administration's other short- and long-term clean energy projects and programs under New Jersey's energy master plan, which was adopted by the state last year:
Xxx Reaching 4000 solar installations this past summer, making New Jersey second only to California in number of installations and capacity, but first it terms of the amount of solar installed per square mile.
Xxx Building New Jersey's solar generating capacity, which recently crossed the 100 megawatt threshold for the state's Clean Energy Program.
Xxx Completion of the geophysical work and substantial progress on the geotechnical and ecological research required as a prelude to construction of three proposed offshore wind farms.
Xxx Crossing the 50,000 threshold of customers in the state's Comfort Partners program, a collaboration with the state's utilities to bring energy efficiency to limited-income households.
Corzine also re-affirmed his commitment to supporting aggressive clean energy programs that stimulate economic growth, combat climate change, and express the benefits of regional cooperation with regards to developing challenging energy projects.
"We're not just developing our clean energy capacity," Corzine said. "We're building a clean energy economy for New Jersey's future with industries and manufacturers of products and services that we can export to the world."
The governor said that through 2020, the actions that his administration has taken are projected to stimulate $33 billion worth of investment into energy infrastructure, create jobs, save consumers nearly $30 billion in energy savings, spur continued energy efficiency innovation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity and heating fuel sector to 23 percent – below 1990 levels.
The NEMAG Clean Energy Innovation Forum is organized by the Clean Energy States Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that works with state clean energy funds and state agencies to advance markets for clean energy technologies and promote multi-state collaboration and information sharing. Economic development opportunities of clean energy initiatives are one of the main themes of the conference. Participating states are also hoping to develop a regional consensus on recommendations on the appropriate role for the states in the emerging federal-state partnership on energy and climate change issues.
States represented at the forum have a history of regional collaboration on air quality and climate change issues, most recently through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce emissions from energy producers. A third emphasis of the forum includes establishing priority issues for discussions with the federal government to facilitate the development of offshore wind generation.
Attendees at the two-day forum represent 11 Northeast states and a number of federal agencies including the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. The states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The District of Columbia is also a member.