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The Governors and Energy: Chris Christie

christie As opposed to Bob McDonnell below, governor-elect Chris Christie of New Jersey tilts rather away from the national Republican party on energy issues. Might not mean anything: It may just be that he has a genuine desire to move New Jersey to solar energy and will clear away hurdles to make it happen.

Why the push for solar? Well, the Garden State has an image problem, though one not actually confirmed by the data: while most of the state justifies its nickname handily, what travelers though New Jersey see – driving up I-95 or taking Amtrak to New York – are monstrous-looking industrial plants that spew – something – into the air, making the night sky a sickly bright orange. It’s like one of Dante’s lower circles of Hell.

Yet nuclear energy supplies 50% of the electricity in New Jersey – see here for the EIA stats for the state – so Christie’s plan has the effect of working with the other 50%. (Natural gas is the number two generator, at 30% or so. It’s really not a massively polluting state, though it often gets wrongly tarred as such.)

We don’t expect those plants along the freeway to go anywhere soon, but Christie’s tilt is notably green and very notably solar:

As part of the New Jersey Partnership for Action, "Renew NJ" will focus exclusively on the promotion of New Jersey resources and the development of renewable energy manufacturing.

The Christie Plan will move all economic development efforts related to renewable energy from the Board of Public Utilities, which is not in the business of growing jobs, to "Renew NJ."


New Jersey will create higher-paying clean energy production jobs in the first four years of the Christie Administration. While many renewable energy efforts focus mainly on the creation of lower paying, efficiency jobs, such as solar panel installers, the Christie Plan is committed to a 5/1 ratio of production jobs.

Okay. Here comes solar energy:

Considering there are currently over 800 active and closed landfills covering over 10,500 acres in our state, what better way to utilize this space more effectively than with solar farms. The Christie Plan requires that all New Jersey landfills regulated by the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection install solar farms as part of their closure plans and on-going maintenance permits.

Hmm! We’re not sure solar farms are the best use of the landfills, since they will raise issues of reliability vs. cost and will require a build out of transmission lines and stations – landfills not having direct access to the grid. It could get pretty expensive for a less than ideal electricity return. We’ll have to see where this one goes.

But Christie really likes solar power:

Solar applications should not have to seek use variances or zone changes. A Christie Administration will make it easier for prospective solar developers to site and build these facilities.
Removing the uncertainty and delays inherent in local land use approvals would greatly incentivize landowners and potential solar developers.


Keeping with New Jersey's commitment to preserve and protect our natural resources, the Christie Plan will allow Permanently Preserved Farmland to use up to 20% for solar panel installation.

He doesn’t mention any other energy source in his campaign materials. We poked around a bit to see if nuclear sprang up in the debates, but no.

Governor-elect Chris Christie.

BlackMariaStudio The first movie studio was in West Orange, New Jersey. Called the Black Maria, because it was as stuffy and cramped as a police paddy wagon, also called Black Marias, it was built by Thomas Edison in 1893. It had a retractable glass ceiling, to allow sunlight to provide a light source, and was used primarily to create the 10-30 second films of the day – often vaudeville acts visiting New York. When Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show paid a visit in 1894, poor Annie Oakley didn’t have enough space in the studio to perform her skeet act successfully (film here.) Edison tore down the studio in 1903, though a reconstruction is now in West Orange.

Edison set up his laboratory in Raritan, NJ, in a failed real estate tract that would have been called Menlo Park (hence, The Wizard of Menlo Park). In 1954, the citizens of Raritan voted to change the town name to Edison.

Here's a film of Edison having a little fun on his 84th birthday (in 1931).


Frank Brill said…
The question of nuclear was posed to all three candidates for governor during an editorial board meeting with the (Newark)Star-Ledger that was reported in the paper's Oct 9, 2009 issue. You might be surprised by now Governor-Elect Christie's response which you'll find at:

Frank Brill

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