Q&A with Rick Thigpen, PSEG's Head of Corporate Citizenship
By MARK J. BONAMO
Q: The goal of Gov. Phil Murphy's energy master plan is to achieve 100 percent clean energy for the state by reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050. How does the continuation of PSEG's nuclear portfolio fit in to this plan?
A: Gov. Murphy has articulated a very positive, very ambitious clean energy agenda that we believe is in the best interests of the people in our state. One of the key elements of that is to generate all of our electricity by 2050 without air pollution or emissions. In order to meet that goal, if you take away nuclear, it will add millions of dollars in cost to New Jersey to achieve that goal.
Q: Do you think that it's realistic for New Jersey to be reach a 100 percent carbon-free energy goal by 2050?
A: I think it's realistic, and I think affordability is a goal. That's one of the reasons not closing the nuclear plants is important, because the price tag to reach that goal increases exponentially. The offshore wind generation initiative is just the beginning. I think the governor's energy plan figures up to 3500 megawatts of offshore wind, so getting the first tranche done [through the Ocean Wind project] is the first step in generating more electricity by offshore wind. It's very challenging to get all of the elements in place to make sure carbon-free energy is affordable to the customers. That's again one of the ways nuclear is important because if it closes, power won't be as affordable to the customers.