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New Jersey   New Jersey Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

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Last Updated: October 21, 2021

Overview

New Jersey is a major distribution center for petroleum products to the northeastern United States.

New Jersey, located on the Atlantic coast between New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, is the fourth-smallest state by land area and the most densely populated state in the nation at nearly 1,300 residents per square mile.1,2 Despite its extensive Atlantic Ocean beaches and its northern highlands that are part of the Appalachian chain, New Jersey is the only state where every county is considered urban by the U.S. Census Bureau.3 Although the state has some renewable resources, primarily solar and biomass from landfills and other municipal solid wastes, it has no fossil energy reserves.4,5,6,7 Even so, New Jersey plays a major role in the supply of energy to the Northeast. Shipping complexes on the Delaware River and at the New York-New Jersey harbor—with their connecting pipeline, rail, and air terminals—make the state a hub for the distribution of petroleum products throughout the northeastern states.8

New Jersey lies along the heavily traveled east coast transportation corridor. The state has more miles of roadway per square mile of land area than any other state, and the petroleum-dependent transportation sector consumes more energy than any other sector in the state.9,10 Many New Jersey residents commute to work in the New York City or Philadelphia metropolitan areas, and the state has some of the nation's longest average commute times. Long commutes contribute to the transportation sector's slightly more than one-third share of the state's end-use energy consumption.11,12 In part because of the moderating impacts of the ocean on the New Jersey climate, the residential and commercial sectors each account for only slightly more than one-fourth of the state's end-use energy consumption.13,14 Despite New Jersey's energy-intensive chemical manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, and petroleum refining industries, the industrial sector's energy consumption accounts for just one-eighth of the state's total energy use and is less than in two-thirds of the other states' industrial sectors.15,16 New Jersey's economy is among the top 8 states as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) and has been for the last 50 years.17 New Jersey also ranks among the 10 states with the lowest amount of energy consumed per dollar of GDP and among the lowest one-fourth of states in per capita energy consumption.18,19

Petroleum

New Jersey has no crude oil reserves or production, but the state has two operating oil refineries.20 Those two refineries have a combined capacity of almost 359,000 barrels per calendar day and produce a wide range of refined petroleum products, including motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, aviation jet fuel, and petrochemical feedstocks.21,22,23 Four other New Jersey refineries, whose combined capacity was about 200,000 barrels per calendar day, closed between 2010 and 2017.24 Some of the shutdown refinery sites were converted into petroleum storage terminals, using the pipeline, railroad, highway, and marine infrastructure already at those locations.25,26,27

The largest U.S. petroleum products pipeline from the Gulf Coast region terminates in New Jersey.

In addition to getting crude oil shipments by rail, New Jersey's refineries receive crude oil imports and petroleum products by tanker from all over the world at the New York-New Jersey Harbor.28 A large part of the harbor, which is the biggest petroleum products hub in the United States with a bulk terminal storage capacity of about 75 million barrels, is on the New Jersey side of the port.29 Several major petroleum product pipelines also cross New Jersey.30 Colonial Pipeline, the nation's largest refined product pipeline, has its northern terminus in Linden, New Jersey. Colonial supplies petroleum products from Gulf Coast refineries to the New York and New England markets.31 Other pipeline systems distribute refined petroleum products from New Jersey terminals and refineries to upstate New York and Pennsylvania.32,33

New Jersey is the 12th-largest petroleum-consuming state.34 The transportation sector accounts for about four-fifths of the petroleum consumed in the state.35 New Jersey requires the statewide use of reformulated motor gasoline blended with ethanol to reduce smog-forming and toxic pollutants in the air.36 Although the state does not have any ethanol production plants, the New York-New Jersey Harbor area is the primary distribution hub for ethanol supplies for the East Coast.37 Facilities in New Jersey receive ethanol deliveries by rail from the Midwest and other motor gasoline blending components by ship from other countries.38,39 The industrial sector uses about 13% of the petroleum volume consumed in the state. The residential sector accounts for slightly more than 3%, and about 1 in 10 New Jersey households use petroleum products, mostly fuel oil, as their primary source for home heating. The commercial sector makes up about 2% of the state's petroleum consumption.40,41 One of the three storage sites for the 1-million-barrel federal Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve is in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The reserve was established in 2000 to avert heating oil shortages in the region during extreme winter weather.42

Electricity

In 2020, natural gas and nuclear power fueled 90% of New Jersey’s total electricity generation.

Natural gas and nuclear energy account for almost all of New Jersey's electricity net generation. In 2020, the two fuels together accounted for 90% of the total electricity produced at both utility-scale (1 megawatt or larger) generating facilities and small-scale (less than 1 megawatt) generation systems in the state. In 2020, the state's total electricity generation fell 13% compared with 2019, in part because of reduced commercial sector demand related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts that led many businesses to close or scale back operations and many employees to work from home. Natural gas accounted for most of the decreased generation.43,44

Natural gas-fired generation increased steadily from 2005 to 2015, when it exceeded nuclear power for the first time. During that 10-year period nearly 4,500 megawatts of natural gas-fired generating capacity came online, which made up more than four-fifths of the new utility-scale generating capacity installed in the state. In 2020, natural gas accounted for 48% of the state's total electricity generation, and nuclear power provided 42%. Nuclear power declined in recent years following the permanent shutdown of the state's Oyster Creek single reactor nuclear power plant in 2017, which was the nation's oldest operating power reactor at the time.45,46,47 New Jersey's legislature approved financial support for the state's remaining three nuclear power reactors to prevent their closures.48,49

Renewables, mostly solar energy, at both utility- and small-scale facilities accounted for about 8% of New Jersey's total in-state electricity generation in 2020, about double the 2015 share. Coal generated less than 1.5% of the state's utility-scale net generation from coal, about half its share from 2015. There are two coal-fired power plants left in the state, one of which is scheduled to shut down in 2024.50,51

New Jersey is part of the PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization that coordinates movement of power supplies on the electricity grid in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia.52 New Jersey consumes more electricity than it produces, and in 2019 New Jersey obtained about 11% of its power from generators in other states by way of the regional grid.53 The commercial sector accounts for almost half of all electricity retail sales in the state, and the residential sector accounts for about two-fifths. Almost all of the rest of the state's electricity sales go to the industrial sector.54 About 14 of every 100 New Jersey households use electricity for heating.55 The average retail price of electricity in New Jersey is among the top 10 states.56

Renewable energy

In 2020, New Jersey ranked third in the nation in electricity generation from small-scale solar power systems.

Renewable resources provided nearly 8% of New Jersey's total electricity generation from both utility- and small-scale facilities in 2020. Solar provided more than four-fifths of that renewable electricity.57 At the end of 2020, New Jersey ranked seventh among the states in total installed solar photovoltaic (PV) generating capacity, sixth in total solar power generation, and third in generation from small-scale solar power systems.58 By mid-2021, solar power capacity in New Jersey totaled almost 3,000 megawatts and two-thirds of it was from small-scale generating systems, such as residential and commercial rooftop solar panels.59 Three large solar projects with about 19 megawatts of combined generating capacity are scheduled to come online during the second half of 2021 and two solar projects with 5 megawatts of combined capacity are planned for 2022.60 State regulatory policies encourage solar farms to be built on former industrial sites such as municipal landfills.61 The state also approved a community solar program that allows groups of households, such as multifamily buildings, to connect to remotely located solar arrays of up to 5 megawatts within their utility service territory and to receive a credit on their power bills for the electricity that is generated.62,63 In 2020, biomass facilities accounted for about 15% of New Jersey's renewable electricity generation. Municipal solid waste fuels nearly three-fourths of the state's biomass generating capacity.64,65

Wind produced 4.5% of New Jersey's in-state renewable generation in 2020. There are two onshore wind power facilities located on New Jersey's Atlantic Ocean coastline —a single turbine located across from Staten Island in the New York City area and a five-turbine wind farm in Atlantic City.66,67,68 However, the state has more wind power potential offshore.69 The massive 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project, which will have up to 99 turbines that are about 850 feet tall each, will be located about 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey. It is planned to be operating in 2024.70,71 In 2018, the state set a goal of to obtain 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, and in November 2019 the state increased the goal to 7,500 megawatts by 2035.72 By June 2021, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved 3,700 megawatts of offshore wind capacity.73,74

In 1999, New Jersey adopted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and restructured its electric power sector. The state legislature has since enacted several substantial revisions to the RPS, including: increased requirements for solar energy, offshore wind energy, small-scale hydroelectric, and waste-to-energy facilities. Overall, the law, which was updated most recently in May 2018, now requires that 50% of electricity sold in New Jersey come from approved renewable sources by 2030, a portion of which must be from offshore wind. There is also a requirement that 5.1% of the state's electricity retail sales come from solar power by 2021, with the requirement gradually decreasing to 1.1% of sales by 2033.75 In 2019, New Jersey released its Energy Master Plan: Pathway to 2050, which is a blueprint for meeting 100% of the state's energy needs with clean energy by 2050. The plan calls for carbon-neutral electricity generation, electrification of transportation, increased energy efficiency, improvements to the grid, and building sector improvements that include expanding the net zero carbon homes incentive programs. The plan also calls for installing 2,000 megawatts of battery energy storage by 2030.76

New Jersey enacted an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) in May 2018. The EERS requires that electric and natural gas utilities implement programs to reduce energy consumption. Each electric utility must achieve annual reductions in electricity demand within five years of program implementation that are equal to 2% of the average annual demand in the prior three years. Each natural gas public utility must achieve annual reductions in the use of natural gas equal to 0.75% of the average annual usage during the prior three years within five years of the start of its natural gas energy efficiency program.77 New Jersey also requires that electric utilities offer net metering to customer-sited renewable facilities, most of which are rooftop solar panel systems. In 2018, the state legislature increased the limit on net metering to 5.8% of the prior year total statewide electricity sales for each power supplier.78

Natural gas

New Jersey does not produce natural gas, nor does the state have any natural gas reserves.79,80 All of the state's natural gas supply enters New Jersey from Pennsylvania, and about half of that natural gas is then shipped on to New York.81 Several interstate pipelines cross New Jersey and bring natural gas into New York and New England. New pipeline projects will bring natural gas produced from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas field into the Northeast through New Jersey.82,83,84

In 2020, New Jersey's electric power sector made up the largest share of natural gas consumed in the state, about 35% of the total. The residential sector closely followed and accounted for about 34% of the state's natural gas consumption. The commercial sector used about 21% of the natural gas delivered to consumers, and the industrial sector accounted for 9% of the state total. The transportation sector uses a small amount of natural gas for pipeline and distribution use, as well as vehicle fuel.85 Three out of four New Jersey households used natural gas as their primary home heating fuel.86

Coal

New Jersey does not have any coal reserves or production.87 New Jersey's two remaining coal-fired power plants receive coal by rail from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.88 New Jersey had two other coal-fired power plants that were recently shut down, one in June 2017 and the other in April 2019.89 Since 2008, all coal consumed in New Jersey has been delivered only to the electric power sector, and annual consumption has fallen from more than 4 million tons in 2008 to about 473,000 tons in 2020.90

Endnotes

1 U.S. Census Bureau, State Area Measurements and Internal Point Coordinates (August 9, 2018).
2 U.S. Census Bureau, Data, Historical Population Density Data (1910-2020), updated April 26, 2021.
3 World Population Review, New Jersey Population 2021, New Jersey Population Density and Area, accessed September 17, 2021.
4 Koebrich, Samuel, Thomas Bowen, and Austen Sharpe, 2018 Renewable Energy Data Book, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, p. 35.
5 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserves Changes, and Production, Proved Reserves as of 12/31, 2014-19.
6 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Reserves Summary as of Dec. 31, Dry Natural Gas, 2014-19.
7 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2020 (October 4, 2021), Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2020.
8 Walsh, Kevin J., "The Port of New York and New Jersey, a Critical Hub of Global Commerce," Forbes (October 26, 2011).
9 Stockingblue, Miles of Roadway per Square Mile of Land in US States (March 30, 2018).
10 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C1, Energy Consumption Overview: Estimates by Energy Source and End-Use Sector, 2019.
11 Index Mundi, United States, Average Commute Time by State, Rank, accessed September 17, 2021.
12 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C1, Energy Consumption Overview: Estimates by Energy Source and End-Use Sector, 2019.
13 Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist, NJ Climate Overview, Rutgers University, accessed September 17, 2021.
14 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C1, Energy Consumption Overview: Estimates by Energy Source and End-Use Sector, 2019.
15 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C11, Total Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2019.
16 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Interactive Data, Regional Data, GDP and Personal Income, Annual Gross Domestic Product by State, GDP in current dollars, NAICS, New Jersey, All statistics in table, 2019.
17 Desjardins, Jeff, "Animation: The 20 Largest State Economies by GDP in the Last 50 Years," Visual Capitalist (August 22, 2019).
18 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C10, Total Energy Consumption Estimates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Energy Consumption Estimates per Real Dollar of GDP, Ranked by State, 2019.
19 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table C14, Total Energy Consumption Estimates per Capita by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2019.
20 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserves Changes, and Production, Proved Reserves as of 12/31 and Estimated Production, 2014-19.
21 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Total Number of Operable Refineries, and Atmospheric Crude Oil Distillation Operable Capacity, Annual as of January 1, 2016-21.
22 PBF Energy, Refineries, Paulsboro, New Jersey, accessed September 20, 2021.
23 Phillips 66, Bayway Refinery, accessed September 20, 2021.
24 U.S. EIA, Refinery Capacity Report 2021 (June 25, 2021), Table 13, Refineries Permanently Shutdown by PAD District Between January 1, 1991 and January 1, 2021.
25 "Sunoco Can Send, Receive Products from Eagle Point," Reuters (June 12, 2012).
26 Caroom, Eliot, "Perth Amboy refinery to get new life from $200 million overhaul,999" NJ.com, updated March 30, 2019.
27 Buckeye Global Marine Terminal, Perth Amboy, accessed September 24, 2021.
28 U.S. EIA, Petroleum & Other Liquids, Company Level Imports, Port State, New Jersey, June 2020-June 2021.
29 American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, The Fuel and Petrochemical Supply Chains (2018), p. 23.
30 U.S. EIA, New Jersey Profile Overview, Map, Layers/Legend: Petroleum Product Pipeline, accessed September 20, 2021.
31 Colonial Pipeline Company, System Map, and About Us, accessed September 20, 2021.
32 Buckeye Partners, L.P., 2018 Annual Report, Pipelines, Pennsylvania-New York-New Jersey, p. 4.
33 Buckeye Partners, L.P., System Map, accessed September 20, 2021.
34 U.S. EIA, Table C15, Petroleum Consumption, Total and per Capita, Ranked by State, 2019.
35 U.S. EIA, Table F16, Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2019.
36 Larson, B. K., U.S. Gasoline Requirements as of January 2018, ExxonMobil, accessed September 20, 2021.
37 U.S. EIA, U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity (September 3, 2021), Detailed annual production capacity by plant is available in XLS.
38 "Kinder Morgan Completes Dedicated Ethanol Pipeline in NJ," Ethanol Producer Magazine (April 3, 2012).
39 U.S. EIA, Petroleum & Other Liquids, Company Level Imports, Port State, New Jersey, June 2020-June 2021.
40 U.S. EIA, Table F16, Total Petroleum Consumption Estimates, 2019.
41 U.S. Census Bureau, House Heating Fuel, New Jersey, Table B25040, 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.
42 U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy, Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, About NEHHOR, accessed September 20, 2021.
43 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Net generation for all sectors, annual, 2001-20.
44 U.S. EIA. "U.S. energy consumption fell by a record 7% in 2020," Today in Energy (April 5, 2021).
45 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Net generation for all sectors, annual, 2001-20.
46 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: All.
47 Parry, Wayne, "Oldest US nuke plant, near Jersey shore, closing Sept. 17," Associated Press (July 2, 2018).
48 Johnson, Tom, "The Future of Nuclear Power in New Jersey: Crucial Hearings Set to Begin," NJSpotlight (September 17, 2018).
49 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Nuclear.
50 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Net generation for all sectors, Annual, 2001-20.
51 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Conventional steam coal.
52 PJM Interconnection, Who We Are, accessed September 22, 2021.
53 U.S. EIA, New Jersey Electricity Profile 2019, Table 10, Supply and disposition of electricity, 1990 through 2019.
54 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Retail sales of electricity (million kilowatthours), 2017-20.
55 U.S. Census Bureau, House Heating Fuel, New Jersey, Table B25040, 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.
56 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2021), Table 5.6.B.
57 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Net generation for all sectors, annual, 2001-20.
58 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2021), Tables 1.17.B, 6.2.B.
59 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (July 2021), Table 6.2.B.
60 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Planned Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Solar Photovoltaic.
61 Regan, Tracy, "From Landfills to Solar Fields," New Jersey Business (April 4, 2014).
62 New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, Statement to Senate No. 2314 (April 5, 2018), p. 5.
63 New Jersey Public Board of Utilities, "NJBPU Awards More than 75 MW of Community Solar Projects to 45 Projects in Low- to Moderate-Income Communities," Press Release (December 20, 2019).
64 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Net generation for all sectors, annual, 2001-20.
65 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Municipal Solid Waste, Landfill Gas, Other Waste Biomass.
66 U.S. EIA, New Jersey Profile Overview, Map, Layers/Legend: Wind Power Plant, accessed September 23, 2021.
67 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Onshore Wind Turbine.
68 U.S. EIA, Electricity Data Browser, New Jersey, Net generation for all sectors, annual, 2001-20.
69 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Wind Energy in New Jersey, Maps & Data, accessed September 23, 2021.
70 Ocean Wind, accessed September 26, 2021.
71 Hurdle, Jon, "Giant turbines will generate power at New Jersey's first offshore wind farm," NJ Spotlight News (January 7, 2021).
72 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Offshore Wind, accessed September 26, 2021.
73 New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, "Second Solicitation Award Advances State Toward Clean Energy Goals While Creating Thousands of Jobs and Billions in Economic Benefits," Press Release (June 30, 2021).
74 New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Offshore Wind Solicitation #2 (September 10, 2020), p. 1-4.
75 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, New Jersey, Renewables Portfolio Standard, updated June 8, 2018.
76 State of New Jersey, 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan, Pathways to 2050, accessed September 24, 2021.
77 National Conference of State Legislatures, Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS), Table, updated September 2021.
78 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Net Metering, New Jersey, updated November 16, 2018.
79 U.S. EIA, Dry Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Proved Reserves as of Dec. 31, Annual, 2014-19.
80 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Gross Withdrawals, Annual, 2015-20.
81 U.S. EIA, International & Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, New Jersey, Annual, 2015-20.
82 U.S. EIA, New Jersey Profile Overview, Map, Layers/Legend: Natural Gas Interstate Pipeline, accessed September 22, 2021.
83 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas, Pipelines, Natural Gas Pipeline Projects (XLS), accessed September 22, 2021.
84 Bresswein, Kurt, "Pipeline update: Where these 2 projects through the Lehigh Valley stand, amid continuing Pa. natural gas boom," LehighValleyLive.com (June 9, 2019).
85 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, New Jersey, Annual, 2015-20.
86 U.S. Census Bureau, House Heating Fuel, New Jersey, Table B25040, 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates.
87 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2020 (October 4, 2021), Table 1, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State and Mine Type, 2020 and 2019, and Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2020.
88 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2020 (October 4, 2021) Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by: Destination state, consumer, destination and method of transportation, New Jersey, Table DS-25, Domestic Coal Distribution, by Destination State, 2020.
89 U.S. EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860), Inventory of Operating Generators as of July 2021, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Conventional Steam Coal; Inventory of Retired Generators, Plant State: New Jersey, Technology: Conventional Steam Coal.
90 U.S. EIA, Coal Data Browser, New Jersey, Total consumption (short tons), Annual, 2000-20.