By Scott DiSavino
Sept 23 (Reuters) - New Jersey regulators on Wednesday approved Public Service Electric and Gas Co's (PSE&G) plan to invest $1 billion on energy efficiency programs over the next three years.
Parent company Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (PSEG) PEG.N Chief Executive Ralph Izzo told Reuters the investments would cut customer bills by about $1 billion and stimulate economic growth by creating up to 4,300 jobs that will help the state recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PSE&G is the biggest power and gas company in New Jersey.
Izzo said the investment will also drive "significant progress" toward achieving New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda by avoiding 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) through 2050.
New Jersey wants all of its electricity to come from non carbon emitting sources, like renewables and nuclear, by 2050.
PSEG said in July that it expects to sell its non-nuclear generating plants in 2021. That generation includes more than 6,700 megawatts (MW) of fossil-fired generation in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Maryland, and over 400 MW of solar power in various states.
"Our CO2 emissions (from power plants) are going to drop to zero by the end of 2021 as we exit the fossil generation business," Izzo said, noting the only big power plants the company plans to keep are the nuclear reactors, which produce about 90% of the New Jersey's carbon-free energy.
Izzo also said PSEG would decide over the next month or so on whether to invest in Orsted A/S' ORSTED.CO planned 1,100-MW offshore wind farm off the coast of New Jersey, which is expected to cost about $1.6 billion and enter service in 2024.
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(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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