The New Jersey legislature has approved a bill granting zero-emission credits for nuclear power plants. The bill puts nuclear power on a more level footing with emission-free wind and solar power.
New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan envisions 100-percent emission-free power by 2050. Even with aggressive support for wind and solar, reaching the 100-percent goal will be very challenging for wind and solar alone. The preamble of the new bill acknowledges this, stating nuclear power is essential to meeting the goal.
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Hoping to avert the national trend of shutting down existing nuclear power plants, the bill states, “the retirement of nuclear power generation will inevitably result in an immediate increase in air emissions within New Jersey due to increased reliance on natural gas-fired generation and coal fired generation.”
The Illinois, New York, and Connecticut legislatures have already passed similar bills. Keeping existing nuclear power plants operational will avoid repeating the mistakes made in Germany, where a push to shut down existing nuclear power plants has led to an increase in electricity prices and carbon dioxide emissions.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing the State today and in the future,” states the bill. “Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and other pollutants by preserving and expanding zero-emission electricity generation within and outside the State is critical to mitigating the impacts of climate change.”
“Nuclear power is a reliable, zero-emission source of energy that has supplied New Jersey’s energy demands for decades,” notes the bill.