Dive Brief:

  • Gov. Phil Murphy, D, on Monday announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has formally adopted two rules that will allow the state to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
  • The Carbon Dioxide Budget Trading rule establishes a mechanism for New Jersey to rejoin the multi-state organization and sets the initial carbon-dioxide cap for the electricity generation sector at 18 million tons in 2020.
  • The Global Warming Solutions Fund rule creates a framework for DEP, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to implement a system to spend proceeds from RGGI’s carbon-dioxide allowance auctions.

Dive Insight:

Rejoining RGGI puts the state on a path to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050, the governor said.

Based on a combination of RGGI’s required carbon-dioxide reductions and the governor’s aggressive renewable energy goals, DEP projects the state’s greenhouse gas emissions will be 11.3 million tons by 2030. New Jersey also expects its carbon dioxide budget to decline by 30% through 2030.

RGGI, which consists of nine mid-Atlantic and New England states, applauded New Jersey for finalizing a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emission and confirmed that the state will rejoin the initiative as a full-fledged member on Jan. 1. 

The state had pulled out of RGGI under the administration of previous Governor Chris Christie.

Another state interested in joining RGGI has needed to postpone its plans.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, D, said last month that he won’t veto language in the state budget that prevents the Commonwealth from joining RGGI.

However, Northam is directing the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to find ways to implement a recently finalized rule to reduce carbon emissions from large fossil fuel-fired power plants 30% by 2030.