Joe Fiordaliso, who died Wednesday, spent 18 years as president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. — Courtesy: Governor’s Office
By Joshua Burd
Joe Fiordaliso, the longtime president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and a key figure in the state’s policy focus on renewable energy, died Wednesday at age 78.
State officials on Thursday announced his passing, prompting an outpouring of condolences from government and business leaders who interacted with him during his 18 years at the helm of the BPU. He was among the state’s most highly regarded public officials, serving four governors in the key regulatory post, having also served three terms as Livingston’s mayor.
“Joe Fiordaliso was a consummate public servant, a trusted colleague and a good friend,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Above all, he was a devoted husband to his wife Marilyn, father to Dana and Joe and grandfather to six loving grandchildren.”
“As president of the BPU since the beginning of my administration, Joe skillfully led our work to responsibly transition to a clean energy economy while always putting the needs of consumers first. He also was a key figure in our storm response efforts and in ensuring that all New Jerseyans had access to critical services like clean water, electricity and broadband.”
Fiordaliso was also familiar to many in New Jersey’s commercial real estate industry, given the agency’s role in energy policy and other programs that impacted property owners. They included the Community Solar Program, which allows solar developers to lease rooftop space at warehouses and other buildings and generate power that they can sell to nearby residents, as well as the statewide debate over building decarbonization.
“NAIOP NJ joins the Garden State business community in mourning the passing of BPU President Joe Fiordaliso,” said Dan Kennedy, the association’s CEO. “He was a true public servant, serving in critical roles on multiple levels of government and as a national leader on the challenging issues we face with energy policy. On behalf of our members, I wish to send along our condolences to his wife, children and grandchildren, and hope they know how much of a difference he made.”
Shaun Keegan, co-founder and CEO of Asbury Park-based Solar Landscape, added: “President Fiordaliso was a pioneer in renewable energy whose leadership has had undeniable ripple effects nationally. He often spoke about wanting to proliferate renewable energy to leave the world a better place for his grandchildren, and he accomplished that goal. Our hearts go out to his family.”
Tom Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, praised Fiordaliso for having “the right traits for a public servant — insightful, passionate, authentic, straightforward and pragmatic.”
“He led the Murphy administration’s push for clean energy in a thoughtful way — and we were grateful that he considered all who would be affected, including the businesses community,” Bracken said. “He was a special guest speaker at New Jersey Chamber events on multiple occasions, and the give-and-take between him and our members was invariably genuine and constructive. We may not have always agreed with Joe’s positions, but we respected him. He will be missed.”
Murphy, meantime, also expressed his gratitude for Fiordaliso’s support of offshore wind.
“Every time you saw Joe he was wearing his signature offshore wind pin or handing one out to anyone and everyone he met,” Murphy said. “He had an infectious personality and generous spirit. Tammy and I will miss his wise counsel and friendship.”