Governor Murphy Releases 2019 Energy Master Plan – New DEP Rules Will Require Builders to Consider Climate Change
Today, New Jersey announced the release of the final 2019 Energy Master Plan (“EMP”), which includes sweeping policy goals aimed at fighting climate change that are likely to have significant impacts on New Jersey’s building industry. Alongside the EMP, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 100 (2020) (“E.O. 100”) directing the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) to develop new regulations to be implemented by 2022 which will require builders to take a number of climate-related issues into account while designing and building new construction in New Jersey. Pursuant to E.O. 100, NJDEP is to draft and propose regulations to “integrate climate change considerations, such as sea level rise, into its regulatory and permitting programs, including…land use permitting.” E.O. 100 also directs the Commissioner of NJDEP to identify which regulations the Department will update, but does not include specifics as to how those regulations will be updated.
By contrast, the EMP includes specific proposals and dedicates an entire section to the building industry. Building-related goals within the EMP include:
Shifting to fully electrified building sector, which would require discontinuing use of natural gas fired machinery and appliances in favor of heat pumps, solar arrays, energy storage, and “smart” building management systems in new construction, requiring dramatic changes to building codes and increasing costs;
State partnership with private industry to establish so-called “electrified building demonstration projects;” and
Study and development of new construction codes that “support net zero carbon new construction.”
The final EMP and E.O. 100 follow a draft EMP issued in June 2019 after nearly a year of meetings, hearings, and other proceedings before several state agencies as directed by Governor Murphy in Executive Order 28 (2018). The goals of the EMP are largely driven by Governor Murphy’s stated goal of getting New Jersey to 100% renewable energy by the year 2050, as well as the goals set forth in New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act, specifically to reduce emissions by 80% of 2006 levels by 2050. While the regulations envisioned by the EMP and E.O. 100 are not yet in effect, they will drive rulemaking by NJDEP and others with the goal of implementing the EMP’s proposals over the next few years.
GHC’s Energy, Climate Change and Public Utilities team has been on the front lines of the EMP process and will be forming a comprehensive response in order to continue to advocate on behalf of our building industry clients. The attorneys at GHC have wide-ranging experience in both the public and private sectors in energy, environmental, real estate, and land use matters that will be affected by the recommendations of the EMP. Due to its depth of experience, GHC is uniquely positioned to guide businesses through the issues implicated by the proposed regulations and help clients meet their goals.
The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information set forth above is for general informational purposes only.