Energy Perspectives”, a new report from Colliers International’s Energy Group, examines real estate trends in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries in eight key locations in North America. The report looks at traditional centers of energy business like Houston and Calgary, but is also uncovers interesting insights from lesser-known energy hubs like the U.S. state of New Jersey. New Jersey provides neither crude oil, nor natural gas, nor coal. However, New Jersey has dedicated itself to developing cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, and is doing quite well.

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Advancing technology—as well as an increasing concern for sustainability—is opening up more options for renewable resources of energy, such as solar, wind, and biomass energy. The largest source of renewable energy currently in the United States is hydroelectric power provided by dams, but use of it brings up the concern of damaging fragile ecosystems by damming up waterways. Solar power, which is currently on the rise, doesn’t have the same ecological effects.

New Jersey has taken advantage of this; the state currently has the largest rooftop solar array in the country, as well as the first state-owned landfill solar farm. Solar energy prices have fallen sharply over last few years, making it more accessible. In addition to being a clean source of power, solar panels are quiet and easy to operate.

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The Garden State hasn’t stopped there. In a bold move, New Jersey enacted the nation’s first offshore wind renewable energy standard. A renewable energy standard (or renewable portfolio standard) is a policy that requires a minimum amount of electricity from each supply company to come from renewable energy. In New Jersey’s case, it requires at least 1,100 megawatts by 2021. Offshore wind, wave, and tidal energy can be implemented more delicately than hydroelectric dams, with less damage to the ecosystem. Combined with the fact that maintenance is labor-intensive, these can also create more jobs. Considering that other parts of North America have been laying off workers due to the supply crisis of oil and gas, this is a great prospect.

Our energy industry is in flux right now. Increased shale fracking has led the U.S. into an oil and energy boom, causing a surplus crisis and throwing energy prices into a drop. While Wall Street investors may be waiting for another opportunity to invest, many participants in the oil & gas sector are scrambling to rightsize their footprint.

With some markets reassessing their approach and others reaching for new opportunities, the energy sector is preparing for more change. Read more about other key North American markets by downloading the Colliers International’s report “Energy Perspectives.”