Energy Law

April 1, 2008

In April 2008, Governor Jon S. Corzine released the Draft New Jersey Energy Master Plan ("EMP"), which will ultimately impact all corporate and private residents of New Jersey through the enactment of new building codes, energy management and pricing, and development requirements. The EMP represents the State's continued focus on environmental stewardship, smart growth, and energy independence.

Energy and environmental compliance costs, unless reversed, will continue to have a stagnating effect on New Jersey's and the nation's economy. The EMP emphasizes the necessity for our State to ensure that it has a reliable supply of energy, at a reasonable price, produced and used in a manner that meets the State's environmental needs.

Governor Corzine proposes to abate the growing environmental and economic impacts of the current energy crisis by promoting a 20% reduction in energy by the year 2020, which the EMP posits can be achieved through conservation and energy efficiency. The EMP and draft legislation target new construction and propose revisions to the statewide building code, and these changes are estimated to make new construction at least 30% more energy efficient than structures built under current State code. The EMP also targets existing buildings, which will be required to be retrofitted to meet the heightened energy efficiency standards.

The pending legislation and proposed steps set forth in the EMP will impact businesses large and small, new construction and brownfields redevelopment, and residential energy customers alike. The proposed environmental, energy, and building requirements will necessitate a greater emphasis on project planning to effectively negotiate the newly changing landscape, which will be overseen by the Governor's Office through the newly proposed Smart Growth Ombudsman, the Board of Public Utilities Office of Clean Energy, the Department of Environmental Protection Office of Brownfields, and the Department of Community Affairs Office of Codes and Standards.

All energy consumers, especially new building projects and/or renovations should consider the financial incentives available through the State and/or State agencies. The BPU Office of Clean Energy will be offering financial incentives, either directly or through utility companies, for increased energy efficiency measures. The limited availability of funds, when compared with the expected demand, will create heightened competition for grants or low interest loans that may make the difference between a cost effective project and a non starter.

Florio Perrucci Steinhardt and Fader is at the forefront of the environmental and energy concerns of the State and our clients. Led by Governor James J. Florio, who drafted pioneering environmental legislation as a member of the United States Congress and enacted comprehensive environmental laws while Governor of the State of New Jersey, Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader understands the importance of addressing a subject during the legislative process through issuance of necessary State and local permits or approvals.

Our environmental practice is uniquely equipped to guide our clients as the State develops aggressive new laws and incentive programs impacting businesses and development. By partnering with our clients from the beginning, we strive to identify and address any obstacle to ensure their projects proceed quickly and efficiently.

For more information as to how these policy developments will impact your business or to assist you with implementation, feel free to contact Governor James J. Florio in our Phillipsburg Office at 908-454-4570 or Keith Barrack in our Rochelle Park Office at 201-843-5858.

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