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Office of Carbon Emissions

2050 GHG EMISSIONS SCENARIOS REPORT ON-LINE

Legislative Mandate (overview)

National, state and local level governments are developing and implementing various types of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation goals. With goals set, a key task is to calculate allowable emissions in target years in order to understand future emission levels and emissions reductions required to with meet the 2050 goal.

The New Jersey Global Warming Response Act of 2007 (GWRA), N.J.S.A 26:2C-37, establishes two GHG limits, one for 2020 and another for 2050. The GWRA requires two recommendations reports, one for each limit.

Goal Statement

The GWRA 2050 target requires New Jersey to reduce GHG emissions by 80 percent from 2006 levels by 2050.  This limit is equivalent to 25.4 million metric tons (MMT) CO2 equivalent. Goal type: Base year emissions goal.

Description: Reduce, or control the increase of, emissions by a specified quantity relative to a base year.

Reductions in what?  GHG Emissions

Reductions relative to what?  Historical base year emissions

Alternative Futures/Scenarios Description

The Bureau of Energy and Coordination has developed four hypothetical scenarios that represent possible outcomes for 2050:

  • “Base Case” scenario represents NJ’s current or “business as usual” path.
  • Red” represents the Base Case Scenario, which assumes implementing targets and direction of the 2011 EMP.
  • Yellow” represents a path aggressively pursuing non-combustion energy technologies, energy efficiency, GHG terrestrial sequestration, and phasing down non-energy activities for further reductions in GHG emissions.
  • Green” represents a path fully exploiting non-combustion energy technologies and energy efficiency complemented by large-scale efforts in non-electric sectors to maximize GHG emissions reductions in order to approach the 2050 limit.

These hypothetical scenarios are not required or defined by statute, regulation, agency policy, or administrative directive.  The scenarios are provided purely for illustrative purposes to demonstrate the levels of efforts required to approach the GWRA 2050 limit.

Base Case Scenario

In this scenario, the current path is assumed to continue.

The residential/commercial/industrial (RCI) sectors will have energy consumption consistent with the 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP) business-as-usual (BAU) projection for the year 2020. Adoption of recent building efficiency standards is assumed but only to the extent that these are reflected in the 2009-2010 base conditions.

For the mobile sector, on-road mobile source emissions were estimated using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) MOVES model.  The transportation projections include: (a) VMT projections from respective Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) Long-Range Transportation Plans; (b) all CAFÉ standards for past and present model years as well as projected CAFÉ standards through model year 2016; and (c) made off-model corrections to reflect 2017-2025 GHG standards finalized in 2012 (prorated EPA projected U.S. emissions reductions to NJ). Off-road mobile projections were held constant at 2009 levels.

The electricity mix in 2050 is assumed to consist of 30% electricity imports, 33% natural gas, 23% nuclear, 7% renewables, 7% coal, and 0% oil.

For the other highly warming gases, either the emissions were held constant at 2012 GHG rates (most recent inventory) or linearly extrapolated from historical emissions.

With respect to natural sinks (GHG removal), the assumption is that the existing trend in land use changes over the last 2 decades  holds steady, with biomass/soil carbon densities remaining constant. The annual carbon accumulation is adjusted for mortality, biomass removal, and conversion to forest products.

Red Scenario

The residential/commercial/industrial sectors will have energy consumption similar to the baseline scenario but with the assumption that the useful thermal energy from combined heat and power (CHP) replaces an equal amount of energy from natural gas (NG) combustion.

For the mobile sector, the transportation assumptions are the same as in the base case scenario.

The electricity mix in 2050 is projected based on the following assumptions:  (a) Coal – no new coal plants are built; all coal generation is converted to natural gas; (b) CHP – 1,500 megawatts of behind-the-meter natural gas CHP is developed; (c) Nuclear – same as base case scenario; (d) Natural Gas – same assumptions as in the base case; and (e) Renewables – New Jersey meets its solar and offshore wind carve out in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS); no appreciable increase in on shore wind; biomass generation increases annually (0.3% from 2013 to 2020, 0.6% from 2021 to 2035, 1.2% from 2036 to 2050).

Base case scenario assumptions are applied to the other highly warming gases.

As regarding natural sinks, it is posited that there will be incremental additions from new state programs implemented during the projection period (e.g., Forest Stewardship, and No Net Loss Reforestation).

Yellow Scenario

Energy consumption in the residential/commercial/industrial sector is projected using the Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2012 Annual Energy Outlook reference case. The natural gas “economic” energy efficiency (EE) potential identified by the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) commissioned study is applied, i.e., all cost-effective EE measures recommended by the study are assumed to be adopted. It is also assumed that a quarter of the energy demand in these sectors is electrified.

For the mobile sector, most of the base case assumptions are applied. The respective metropolitan planning organization (MPO) 2020 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) projections are applied and held constant from 2021 to 2050. Additionally, it is assumed that 12% and 45% of the light duty vehicle (LDV) fleet is all electric by 2035 and 2050, respectively.

In the electricity sector, the 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP) load goal out to 2020 is taken as given and then held constant to 2050. Electricity required to support 25% electrification of the RCI sectors and 45% electrification of on-road LDV fleet is added. To meet the resulting demand, energy mix is projected based on the following assumptions: (a) Coal – same assumptions as in “Red” scenario; (b) natural gas – same assumptions as in “Red” scenario; (c) nuclear – Oyster Creek nuclear plant is replaced by a unit of similar capacity and second unit at Hope Creek is constructed and on-line by 2035; and (d) renewables – RPS carve out doubles solar capacity (8.2% of electricity load), 3000 MW of offshore wind is operational by 2035, biomass generation is the same as in the “Red” scenario, and hydropower and onshore wind technical potential (at 1100 MW and 132 MW, respectively) identified by BPU-commissioned study are reached.

For the other highly warming gases, the assumptions are the same as in the “Base case” scenario.

In the natural sinks sector, it is assumed that best efforts are made to fully implement state programs identified in the “Red” scenario. Additionally, there will be expanded and reoriented programs such as Forest Stand Improvement in state lands, Coastal wetlands “blue carbon” conservation (freshwater, tidal salt marsh, sea grass), and sustainable agriculture in state farms.

Green Scenario

In the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, energy consumption is projected using EIA’s 2012 Annual Energy Outlook reference case. The natural gas “technical” energy efficiency (EE) potential identified by NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) commissioned study is applied, i.e., all EE measures recommended by the study are assumed to be adopted without cost constraints. It is also assumed that 35% of the energy demand is electrified.

For the mobile sector, the assumptions made are identical with those in the “Yellow” scenario with the exception of the LDV fleet electrification. In this scenario, 25% and 90% of the LDV fleet is all electric by 2035 and 2050, respectively.

In the electricity sector, the 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP) load goal out to 2020 is also taken as a given and then held constant to 2050. Electricity required to support 35% electrification of the RCI sectors and 90% electrification of on-road LDV fleet is added. To satisfy the resulting demand, the energy mix is projected based on the following assumptions: (a) Coal – same assumptions as in “Red” scenario; (b) natural gas – same assumptions as in “Red” scenario; (c) nuclear – same assumption as in “Yellow” scenario; and (d) renewables – RPS carve out quadruples solar capacity (16.4% of electricity load), 7250 MW of offshore wind is operational by 2035 (entire wind energy area is fully exploited by wind turbines), biomass generation is the same as in the “Red” scenario, and hydropower and onshore wind situation is the same as in the “Yellow” scenario.

For other highly warming gases, halogenated gas emissions are phased down to 50% of GHG emissions from “Base case” scenario. The natural gas transmission and distribution emissions are phased down to 25% of GHG emissions from “Base case” scenario.

In this scenario, land clearing emissions are phased down to zero due to increase in natural sink measures including carbon retention in bio-products.

Regarding natural sinks, state programs in the “yellow” scenario are accelerated and aggressively implemented. In addition, there will be new and radical initiatives (large-scale and high sink capacity areas) to protect and restore forested wetlands, bio-char production from fast growing tree plantations, bio-char soil augmentation, and urban green space vegetative cover retention.


Overall Outlook and Summary of Projection Results

Outlook

This analysis/study of alternative future scenarios for New Jersey’s GHG emissions shows that to approach the 2050 GHG emission limit of 25.4 million metric tons, the following are a must: (a) energy efficiency measures for buildings, industry, and transportation; (b) electrification to avoid combustion wherever it is possible; (c) non-combustion electricity generating technology (e.g., renewables and nuclear); and (d) measures to increase and enhance natural sinks.

Scenario Projection/Analysis Results

Sector

GHG Emission (million metric tons CO2 equivalent)

 

1990

2006

2012

2050

 

 

 

 

Base Case

Red

Yellow

Green

Residential

15.2

13.7

12.1

11.3

11.3

9.3

4.1

Commercial

10.7

9.2

10.1

11.3

8.3

4.3

3.1

Industrial

19.8

16.3

10.3

13.0

11.5

5.4

4.2

CHP Combustion

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

4.8

4.8

4.8

Mobile Sources

36.9

51.0

46.2

30.7

30.7

14.6

8.7

Electricity

26.5

31.0

20.9

33.9

16.2

22.1

17.7

Other

16.2

13.3

12.7

16.0

16.0

12.9

8.2

 

GHG Sinks

-4.0

-7.6

-7.9

-10.0

-10.3

-12.3

-23.5

 

Total Net Emissions

125.6

127.0

104.6

106.0

88.3

61.1

27.2

 

 

 

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Last Updated: May 13, 2016