Environment & Energy

The Environment & Energy includes the external factors that impact living beings. This section covers air, water, minerals, and all surroundings that impact life in New Jersey as well as the energy resources and use. 

National Rankings provide data on how New Jersey compares to other states on measures of the Environment.

State and Local Reports provide featured analysis of current Environmental data within New Jersey and its impact on life in the State as well as the economy.


National Rankings compared to other states, New Jersey ranks...

1st in Spending on Beach Replenishment 

February 3, 2013New Jersey spent $1.116 billion replenishing beaches along the state's 130 miles of coastline in 2012, according to the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University. The next largest spending was $216 million in Delaware. 

• 3rd in Solar Jobs

February 11, 2014. According to 2013 Solar Foundation National Solar Jobs Census, there are an estimated 6,500 solar jobs in New Jersey in 448 solar companies.  This ranks the state No. 3 nationally for number of solar jobs. 

• 7th in Retail Price Per KwH from Residential Customers

November 1, 2013According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Jersey residents paid $0.164 per KwH in 2013; the 7th highest amount in the U.S. Hawaii was the highest, at $0.366 per KwH, and Louisiana was the lowest at $0.88 per KwH. 

12th Fewest Wildlife Refuges

March 21, 2014.  New Jersey has 5 Wildlife Refuges: Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. This is the 12th smallest amount in 2013 according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. California has the most with 40 and Connecticut, Kentucky and Vermont each have one.

• 12th on the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

November 8, 2013According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), New Jersey ranks 12 out of 51 in the U.S. on its 2013 Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This ranking takes into account each state's energy policies and programs that promote energy efficiency within buildings, transportation, and industry. Information for the ranking is gathered from state agencies, commissions, programs, and organizations.

• 37th in Energy Consumption per Capita

July 11, 2013According to the U.S. Department of Energy, New Jersey consumers used 276 million BTUs per capita in 2011. Wyoming residents used the most with 975 and Rhode Island used the least with 175 million BTUs per capita. 

• 9th in Nuclear Energy Generation

November 1, 2013With 44 percent of New Jersey electricity from nuclear power (2013), New Jersey generates 33.1 million Megawatt hours, the 8th largest amount in the U.S. in 2012 according to U.S. Energy Information Agency.  Illinois produces the most with 96.4 million Megawatt hours.

• 15th in Number of Green Jobs

March 19, 2013With 81,018 jobs in Green Goods and Services (GGS), New Jersey ranked 15th in 2011 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This was an increase of 10% from 2010.  GGS jobs are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. California had the largest number of GGS jobs (360,245). Tracking of green goods and services has subsequently been cancelled due to budgetary sequestration.

• 16th lowest CO2 Emissions Per Capita

July 1, 2014.   New Jersey generated 12.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita in 2011 according the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The District of Columbia had lowest with 4.9 MT per capita, while Wyoming had the highest emissions with 112.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per capita.

• 19th in Energy Expenditure per Capita

September 19, 2013Spending $4,891 per person in 2011, New Jersey residents spent the 19th highest amount according to the US Department of Energy. Alaskans spent the most with $10,692 per person and New York spent the least with $3,378 per person.  

• 11th in Number of Alternative Fueled Vehicles

April 18, 2013New Jersey had an estimated 20,432 alternative fueled vehicles in use in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, an increase of 43 percent from 2005. California had the largest number with 136,409 and Maine had the smallest number with 1,422.

• Tied for 8th Lowest Domestic Water Use

December 1, 2011. New Jersey residents used approximately 69 gallons of water per day for domestic purposes in 2005, ranking among the lowest water-using states in the union.  Nevada used 190 gallons per day per person for domestic uses.  Maine used just 54 gallons per day.  Data are from the United States Geological Survey, and have not been updated since 2005.

• Near Bottom in Renewable Energy Generation

March 15, 2012New Jersey generated 868 million kilowatt hours of renewable sources including conventional hydroelectric as well as biomass, wind and solar sources in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. New Jersey produced the fifth smallest amount of any U.S. state, ahead of much less populated states of Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Delaware.

• Oldest Operating Nuclear Plant in the United States

June 22, 2012New Jersey’s Oyster Creek nuclear reactor, which first came online in 1969, is the oldest operating nuclear plant in the United States. Today, 50 percent of New Jersey’s electricity comes from its 3 nuclear power plants. However, by 2021, 22.5 percent of electricity sold within New Jersey must come from renewable sources. The State has also been the first to enact an offshore wind renewable energy standard.   

• 19th in Hazardous Waste Produced Per Capita

December, 10 2012,  New Jersey generated over 290,000 tons of hazardous waste, according to US Environmental Protection Agency.  When adjusted for population, New Jersey ranks 19th in the annual generation of hazardous waste per capita—producing about 66 pounds per person. In gross tonnage of waste, California produced 37 million tons of hazardous waste.  This almost 50% higher than the next state (Texas)  However, on a per capita basis, California ranks even lower than New Jersey (34th).   On a per capita basis, Louisiana is the nation’s largest waste generator, at nearly a ton per member of the population.  This is approximately thirty times the annual per capita generation of hazardous waste in New Jersey.  

• 44th in Vehicle Miles Travelled Annually

November, 2012.  In 2011, New Jersey residents drove approximately 8.75 million vehicle miles on roadways annually, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Highway Policy Information.  At 8,351 vehicle miles travelled per capita, New Jersey ranks 44th in the nation.  Wyoming ranked first in vehicle miles travelled per capita, with 16,666—just about twice as many miles as the average New Jersey resident.   


State and Local Reports

The State of New Jersey's Final 2011 Energy Master Plan

The 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP) documents the Christie Administration’s strategic vision for the use, management, and development of energy in New Jersey over the next decade. 

From 1990 to 2009, the amount of oil fired generation declined significantly, reflecting the weak economics and comparatively poor environmental performance associated with oil-fired generation.  At the same time, the amount of coal  and nuclear generation has remained relatively constant.  Since 1990, New Jersey has relied largely on new gas-fired generation to meet load growth and maintain reliability.  However, the recent addition of renewables coupled with other demand side technologies portends greater supply and demand diversity on a going forward basis. While natural gas fired capacity accounts for over one-half the State’s generating capacity, only about 33 percent of total energy produced was derived from gas-fired plants in 2009.  As shown in the adjacent figure, more than one-half of the State’s total energy generation was derived from nuclear plants, a carbon free resource.  The State’s coal plants accounted for only 8 percent of total generation. 


Additional Reports

Travis Madsen and Nathan Willcox, When It Rains, It Pours Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948 to 2011, Environment America Research and Policy Center, 2012.

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, “Hurricane Irene: Electric Response Report,” December 14, 2011.

Center for Energy, Economics & Environmental Policy, Cost-Benefit Analysis of the 2008 New Jersey Clean Energy Program Energy Efficiency Programs, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, March 2010.

Center for Energy, Economics & Environmental Policy, Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed 2009 Energy Efficiency Utility Programs Associated with the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Plan, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, March 2010.
Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards, New Jersey, Social Vulnerability Index, University of South Carolina, 2006-2010.


Data from the NJ DataBank may be used with the following acknowledgement:

Source: NJ DataBank (http://njdatabank.newark.rutgers.edu), a project of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Campus at Newark