The electricity sector has been undergoing a transformation due to low natural gas prices and a strong desire for clean energy resources. In particular, climate change is a clarion call for action. Sustainable energy strategies to promote job creation, economic growth and a healthy environment have never been more needed than they are today. We believe PSEG is a valuable resource for achieving our customers' strong desire for cleaner energy and improved air quality.
As a leader in low-carbon energy, PSEG recognizes that climate change is the preeminent challenge for a business such as ours with a strong commitment to building a sustainable energy future. With this challenge, we believe there is the opportunity to create an energy system that is cleaner and more efficient - one that protects the environment and helps our customers reduce their energy bills. We began factoring climate change into our business decisions and investments in the early 1990s - well before many others in our industry.
For more than 40 years, nuclear energy has powered millions of New Jersey homes and businesses with clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity. Today, PSEG's Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants are an indispensable part of New Jersey's energy mix. Nuclear energy provides nearly half of the 24/7 supply of power generated in New Jersey - power that is essential to the state's economy and environment. In fact, New Jersey has the 10th-lowest statewide electric generating fleet CO2 emission rate in the United States.
We believe energy efficiency must be the centerpiece of a comprehensive effort to build a sustainable energy future. Energy efficiency works for the environment by delivering clean-energy benefits similar to renewable energy sources such as solar or wind, but at a fraction of the cost.
Our renewable energy initiatives have helped make New Jersey one of the leading states for solar energy development - creating jobs, spurring economic activity and helping the state meet its renewable energy targets. New Jersey ranks fifth in cumulative solar electric capacity installed through 2016, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. PSE&G was recently named Investor-Owned Utility of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, in recognition of PSE&G's success in increasing the amount of solar energy in New Jersey, in particular by building solar farms on landfills and brownfields.
Electric vehicles can have a powerful impact in combating climate change and reducing pollutants - from carbon, to nitrogen oxide to particulates - especially in a state like New Jersey, where about half of our electricity comes from air emissions-free nuclear power. The popularity of electric vehicles is increasing at a record-setting pace. Here, in New Jersey, there has been a surge in demand, with registration of model year 2016 plug-in electric vehicles up 79 percent.
Climate adaptation is an area of increased focus for us as we implement actions to increase resiliency. PSEG is a founding member of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, which was formed in 2011 by a diverse group of stakeholders. The alliance's focus is on climate change preparedness and adaptation in key impacted sectors, including energy infrastructure.
Stewardship of a precious resource. Stewardship of water resources remains a priority for PSEG in the areas where we operate. None of our plants are located in a water-stressed area, with most being located on non-potable estuarine waters. However, New Jersey is also one of the most populated and developed areas of the United States and is beginning to experience water resource constraints on a localized basis. In addition, extreme weather events have led to impacts related to flooding.
Geographically, PSEG operates within a very diverse region of the world. The northeastern United States and New Jersey, in particular, are part of a cycle of migratory travel for many avian, aquatic and terrestrial species, such as red knots, horseshoe crabs and golden wing warblers, to name a few. New Jersey also is home to several species that require special habitats that are in limited supply. These include bog turtles and flora such as swamp pink that inhabit wetland areas.
The cornerstone of our approach to maintaining biodiversity is an environmental impact assessment process for our projects. The process includes three steps: project planning, permitting and compliance. We subject our new facilities and transmission development projects to an impact assessment, which includes an evaluation of biodiversity impacts, using inventory maps created by the New Jersey Geographic Information System. In addition, we file our Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Assessments with the appropriate regulatory agencies such as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Board of Public Utilities and the National Park Service. Our EIS and EA reports are publicly available through those agencies and we post updates to project websites for many of our larger projects.