Senator Zwicker is a physicist and Democratic politician, currently serving the 16th Legislative District.
He is the head of the Science Education Department of the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory, and he is the State Senate sponsor of the bill, which will be introduced to the Senate by September 29th, 2022.
The bill is expected to go to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“Wind and solar is not going to be the savior, period. There has to be other energy sources that will fill some of these gaps,” said Karabinchak (D-Middlesex). “If it’s nighttime, that solar farm isn’t doing a thing. If the wind slows down on these farms, there has to be something else, some other energy source, that will fill that gap.”
Assemblyman Don Guardian (R-Atlantic), a committee member, who served as mayor until 2018 in Atlantic City, where Karabinchak hopes to pilot a wave energy project on the Steel Pier echoed Karabinchak’s defense of the bill:
“It’s a clean source of energy that I think provides the least negative impact on our environment, and it’s free energy, once you have the capital costs,” Guardian said. “I think it would be foolish for New Jersey not to be leading the nation and the world in at least studying if this is practical.”
Karabinchak introduced his bill last week, six months after he convened a legislative public hearing on wave energy.
The bill also has an ardent supporter — the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
“We think New Jersey could be a pioneer in exploring and evaluating wave energy,” said Rebecca Hilbert, the league’s senior policy manager. “We do support this bill strongly.”
Gov. Phil Murphy included $500,000 in the current state budget to pilot a wave energy project in New Jersey, Karabinchak said, and added that Eco Wave Power is drafting a letter of intent to build the Steel Pier project.
The proposed bill states as follows:
“[I]t is both reasonable and necessary, and in the public interest, for the State to enact legislation requiring: (1) a comprehensive study of the potential associated with the adoption and use of wave and tidal energy in New Jersey; (2) the amendment of the State’s Energy Master Plan to incorporate the use of wave and tidal energy as an integral component of the State’s clean energy planning and goals; and (3) the taking of additional steps, as may be necessary to position New Jersey as a leader in these emerging clean ocean energy sectors”
In response to the passing of the bill in the Assembly Committee, Eco Wave Power’s Founder and CEO Inna Braverman commented that in her view “an early adoption of wave energy in the State of New Jersey will position New Jersey as a leader in the marine energy sector and open the door for similar legislation initiatives in additional coastal states in the United States. Once again, New Jersey can be an energy pioneer by taking advantage of its coastline to deliver clean, cost-efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly power to its electrical grid.”
In an official press release by the Assembly Democrats Karabinchak said that “With almost 140 miles of coastline, NJ is in a unique position to be the leader in this growing field. This legislation seeks to set goals pertaining to wave and tidal energy in the State’s Energy Master Plan which bring the State one step closer toward achieving net-zero emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2050.”
“We cannot simply rely on one or two approaches for clean energy. With new technologies and advancements, we are able to produce much more efficient power systems that are environmentally friendly,” continued Karabinchak. “By introducing this bill, we will open the door for more legislation to follow suit and expand our renewable, clean energy capabilities.”
It is estimated that 750MW of energy can be produced from New Jersey’s shores alone and the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the energy potential from waves is equivalent to 66% of all electricity currently generated in the United States.