Local group eyes solution to combat global problem

Gloucester County Food and Water Watch encourages switching to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035

Climate change is a hot-button issue today. Whether you believe in it or not, there are correlations between the use of fossil fuels and the effect it has on the environment.

The Gloucester County Food and Water Watch, a division of the Food and Water Watch, is stressing the importance of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Jocelyn Sawyer, a representative from the Gloucester County Food and Water Watch, spoke about the importance of transitioning to renewable energy.

“We are very concerned about clean air and water and the impact of climate change in New Jersey,” Sawyer said. “We are asking council to pass a resolution calling for 100 percent renewable energy in the state of New Jersey by 2035 in order to protect our economy, our resources, and our clean air and water.”

Sawyer cites 2035 as the deadline for transitioning to clean renewable energy to avoid the worst impacts on the environment, using Superstorm Sandy as an example of what the future might hold.

“Getting off fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy would have great benefits for our economy,” Sawyer added. “There is huge potential for job creation in renewable energy fields.”

Per a fact sheet handed out by Sawyer, New Jersey can shift to clean renewables. The sheet states, “The NJ Off Fossil Fuels Act (NJ OFF Act) is our best chance at tackling climate change and the most necessary. It promotes a clean energy system based on wind, solar and other sources of genuinely renewable energy; on energy storage and on continued improvements in energy efficiency.”

The sheet goes on to state New Jersey ranked fifth in the nation in 2016 for solar capacity where there was enough power for 350,000 homes and more than 6,000 jobs created. It does state, however, that New Jersey has a lot of room for growth when it comes to wind power. The state only managed nine megawatts of wind power, opposed to the 2,234 megawatts provided by solar panels.

New Jersey has measures in place to increase wind power.

“Two companies, US Wind and DONG Energy, currently hold leases for offshore wind that has not been developed; together, these projects could add 4,150 megawatts of wind power,” the fact sheet says.

Sawyer is bringing these facts to the attention of local government in Gloucester County.

“We are going across Gloucester County to pass resolutions calling on the legislature to halt fossil fuel projects and make investments in renewable energy,” she said.

For more information about how to get involved with this cause, visit foodandwaterwatch.org. For more information about the NJ OFF Act visit fwwat.ch/NJ100by2035.