Stefanie Brand, who represents ratepayers through the Public Advocate's Office, said rapidly changing technology and fluctuating energy demands have made such reviews necessary.
The plan Christie unveiled last month promotes green technologies like solar and off-shore wind and leaves the door open for a new nuclear power plant to replace one that will be retired in eight years. An overarching goal is to keep consumer energy prices manageable.
Other goals include capitalizing on emerging technology, promoting green jobs, and encouraging growth in the energy industry.
Christie's plan calls for 22.5 percent of the state's energy to come from renewable sources by 2021, a point of contention among some environmentalists who believe the target should be 30 percent. The legislature sets the targets.
After signing a bill Tuesday promoting mass transit elsewhere in Newark, Christie defended his energy strategy. He said the goal of 22.5 percent from renewable sources was achievable and sufficiently ambitious when compared with the 2.3 percent from green sources the state gets now. He called the goal of 30 percent "unrealistic."
The chairman of the Assembly Environment Committee, Democrat John McKeon, said Christie's plan was "counterproductive and regressive."
"By reducing our renewable energy goals and increasing our dependence on fossil fuels, Gov. Christie's Energy Master Plan would be taking a giant step backward," said McKeon, of Essex County.
Much of Tuesday's hearing testimony focused on solar energy.
Terry Sobolewski of the Solar Alliance, a group of 30 solar companies, said the draft plan undersold the benefits and potential of the solar market.
For example, he said that the plan didn't consider the health benefits of green energy like solar and that it did not fairly state "the amplified effect" the technology would bring because it would generate the most benefit on warm, sunny days when demand and cost were at their peak.
Brand said the plan's migration away from residential solar projects to industrial-size solar installations on brownfields was a positive step, though other solar company executives testified of the benefits of continuing to subsidize residential solar installations.
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin reported Monday that the state had set a one-month record for new solar installations in June and that solar sources were now generating 380 megawatts of power, the equivalent of a small power plant. The installation of solar panels on brownfields and landfills, he said, "makes sense economically and environmentally - we're taking care of two problems at the same time."
Utility customers now pay about 63 cents per month to subsidize solar-energy projects.
Franklin Neubauer, who runs an energy-research company, Core Metrics, said the master plan draft did not have clear energy-efficiency goals and lacked basic data on energy-efficiency savings and how they would be achieved.
"The administration needs to be more visionary," he said. "A truly green energy future means aggressively ramping up energy-efficiency efforts no later than 2012."
Afterward, the Sierra Club complained that 41 members had signed up to testify, but none was called.