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EGEB: New Jersey towns back a pro-EV bill; 300 mayors support solar

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Ten towns and one county in New Jersey passed resolutions in support of an electric vehicle bill.
  • Climate activist Greta Thunberg is TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year.
  • A coalition of 300 US mayors sign a letter calling for a solar future.
  • The Onion‘s satirical take in 2014 on scientists and green energy showed serious foresight.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

New Jersey towns and county embrace EV bill

Ten towns and one county in New Jersey passed resolutions in support of electric vehicle legislation (S2252/A4819) that would expand charging infrastructure — hundreds of public DC fast chargers and 1,000 Level 2 public community chargers in downtowns over the next three years — and rebates for buying electric vehicles. It would also codify the Clean Cars mandate to have 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025.

The towns and county are: East Orange, South Orange, Haddon Heights, West Caldwell, Sayreville, Metuchen, Franklin, Gloucester City, Highland Park, Princeton, and Mercer County. Resolutions are also on the docket in South Amboy, Milltown, Woodlynne, and Winslow Township, according to Insider NJ.

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said:

Electric vehicles remain one of the best ways to clean up our air and fight climate change, but we need to supercharge their adoption. The best way to make EVs common is to build a fast-charging network of EV chargers along our busiest roadways and to provide rebates to purchase more EVs. We urge the Assembly and the Senate to pass the EV bill by the end of the session [January 13].

The transportation sector is responsible for nearly half of New Jersey’s emissions, with the majority from personal vehicles.

On November 24, my colleague Charles Benoit wrote about New Jersey’s Senate Transportation Committee debating a possible electric vehicle tax. Let’s hope they go with the other bill, and find another way to raise funds for roads and bridges besides taxing EVs.

Greta Thunberg is TIME’s POY

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named as TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. Every year, TIME names the person who the magazine considers “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year.”

Greta Thunberg, 16, is the youngest person to ever be named TIME’s Person of the Year. TIME editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal named Thunberg on the Today show this morning.

Felsenthal explained why the magazine chose the young climate activist who has mobilized millions around the world to demand that governments and companies take definitive steps to reduce carbon emissions and stop global warming:

She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year… coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement. And she also represents a broader generational shift in the culture that we’re seeing from the campuses of Hong Kong, the protests in Chile, to Parkland, Florida, where the students marched against gun violence. Young people are demanding change, and urgently. She embodies youth activism.

Her rise in influence has really been extraordinary. She was a solo protester with a hand-painted sign 14 months ago. She has now led millions of people around the world — 150 countries — to act on behalf of the planet. She’s taken this issue… from backstage to center.

You can read TIME’s full account of Thunberg’s story here, and Felsenthal’s written explanation of why TIME chose Thunberg here.

300 mayors call for more solar

Bipartisan mayors of 300 cities participating in Environment America’s Mayors for Solar Energy project have signed a letter that declares they will make solar energy a key element of their energy plans. Cities from all 50 states are represented.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

Accelerating the growth of solar will reduce pollution while revitalizing our communities by creating jobs and keeping energy dollars in our local economies. Expanding solar power helps residents and businesses benefit from lower energy costs while providing more local control of energy and improving our communities’ resilience.

With a concerted effort under way on the state and federal levels to limit the growth of solar by fossil fuel special interests, communities like ours across the country need to act quickly to continue our progress toward renewable energy.

Mayor Jim Brainard of Carmel, Indiana, said:

Renewable energy, such as solar, is a better energy source because we don’t have to pay other countries to get it. Even more importantly, it will help keep our air clean and reduce the cost and suffering of those with lung diseases.



In May 2014, the satirical website the Onion published a story titled, “Scientists Politely Remind World That Clean Energy Technology Ready to Go Whenver.” It’s short, so here’s the story in full:

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Stating that they just want to make sure it’s something everyone keeps in mind going forward, an international consortium of scientists gently reminded the world Wednesday that clean energy technologies are pretty much ready to go anytime. “We’ve got solar, wind, geothermal — we’re all set to move forward with this stuff whenever everyone else is,” said Dr. Sandra Eakins, adding that researchers are also doing a lot of pretty amazing things with biomass these days. “Again, we’re good to go on this end, so just let us know. You seriously should see these new hydrogen fuel cells we have. Anyway, just say the word, and we’ll start rolling it out.” At press time, representatives from the world’s leading economies had signaled that they would continue to heavily rely on fossil fuels until they had something more than an overwhelming scientific consensus to go on.

So here we are, five and a half years later, and this is just as relevant as it was when the Onion published it. It’s funny — in a laugh instead of cry sort of way — because it’s true.

What has Greta Thunberg been saying? “Listen to the scientists.”

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.