Op-Ed: NJ needs to rethink Energy Master Plan, prioritize affordable energy

While we were all quarantining at home and keeping our families safe, the state of New Jersey continued to move forward with one of the most impactful policy shifts in state history, implementation of the Energy Master Plan. Even if well-intentioned at the time of its release in February, the EMP was unrealistic then and is even less feasible now, as the COVID-19 pandemic puts our state, our residents and our businesses under financial strain. 

In fact, a new report from Affordable Energy for New Jersey and energy expert Jonathan Lesser has found that the EMP will cost businesses and residents at least $2 billion per year — and potentially far more. At a time when our state faces unprecedented financial crisis and many residents are struggling to pay their bills, that’s a cost New Jersey simply can’t afford to pay. 

Home heating alone poses an immense burden for our state if the bureaucrats behind the EMP have their way. The EMP calls for replacing inexpensive natural-gas heat with electric heaters. That’s all well and good, until we realize that millions of our residents — as high as 75% — rely on these systems in their homes and in businesses. Retrofitting three-quarters of our home-heating supply will costs tens of thousands of dollars for each electric heat pump, totaling tens of billions alone. 

On the flip side, estimates suggest that the PennEast pipeline would have saved residents hundreds of millions in winter heating and electric costs in one season. Expanding our clean natural-gas supplies will lower costs and create jobs at a time when we sorely need them. But the Murphy administration and the EMP would rather grind these projects to a halt and force our residents to stop using natural gas. 

That’s the story of the EMP — well-intentioned, rosy-eyed proposals to electrify this and “modernize” that, without fully considering the total costs at hand. Everywhere we turn, the plan places new costs on hardworking New Jerseyans, with only limited environmental upside. We need smarter policy. 

Technologies like electric heating, solar and wind power and other innovations certainly have a place in New Jersey. It’s encouraging that many residents and businesses have pursued them to help lower our carbon footprint. But we need proven solutions like clean natural gas to help lower costs and provide stable, reliable energy for all. We need a practical, actionable energy policy, not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

To make matters more confusing, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently released New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act 80×50 Report, which purports to detail actionable steps to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The DEP acknowledges that achieving “steep and permanent” cuts in emissions would require effectively eliminating gas-powered cars within the next 10 years, among other dramatic and costly measures. Yet it does not begin to discuss what this will cost New Jersey’s residents and businesses. 

There’s a theme here — when energy policy is concerned, the state too often ignores the cost question or relies on rosy, nigh-on-impossible projects. New Jerseyans need clear, concrete policy initiatives, not guessing games that hurt their wallets. 

We know that natural gas is cost-effective, abundant and inexpensive. The technology is already there, not years away from large-scale production. And industries across the state rely heavily on it. Why fix what isn’t broken? 

New Jersey urgently needs solutions to keep our energy costs down, grow our economy and simultaneously improve the environment. We have the tools for the job at our disposal, but the EMP won’t get the job done. Now is the time to get started. 

(source)

Op-Ed: N.J. needs to tackle energy costs, now more than ever

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem as if other important issues have faded from the public eye. In reality, the pandemic means that we must redouble our focus on the day-to-day issues facing New Jersey’s residents, or else face skyrocketing costs at a time when we can least afford them.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces governments at all levels to contend with revenue shortfalls, it is more important than ever to invest in a diverse, balanced and affordable energy portfolio that will keep costs low for those who live and work in New Jersey.

According to a newly-released whitepaper from Affordable Energy for New Jersey, New Jersey faces a “cost chasm” in the energy sector — one that threatens to increase costs for businesses and residents and could leave us with a fragile, less reliable grid. Fortunately, there is a path to affordable, clean and stable energy systems in our state, and we have the tools to get there.Continue reading

An Update from Affordable Energy for NJ

It is no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on both the health and economic security of New Jersey residents. Millions of dollars are being diverted to fund health care initiatives, non-essential businesses are forced to close doors, and unemployment numbers are at an all time high.

While we’ve never faced a crisis quite like this, New Jerseyans have seen their fair share of struggles over the years, and each time has come back stronger than ever.Continue reading

Affordable Energy for New Jersey Coalition Launches with Support of Business, Labor, Civic and Energy Interests

Affordable Energy for New Jersey Coalition Launches with Support of Business, Labor, Civic and Energy Interests
Statewide Coalition Seeks to Shape Energy Policy Citing Major Concerns about New Jersey’s Misguided Energy Master Plan

(Trenton, NJ) – In response to the recently released New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP), representatives of labor, energy, business and civic groups have come together to launch Affordable Energy for New Jersey.  The Coalition will work to ensure New Jersey residents continue to have safe, reliable and affordable choices to meet their energy needs.

“The EMP’s emphasis on a move to complete electrification unilaterally ignores the fact that such an infrastructure does not even exist, nor is it even in progress. While laudable, this plan does not answer the two most fundamental questions – how much will this actually cost the residents of New Jersey and what is the realistic timetable to implement any changes?” stated Ron Morano, Executive Director of the newly formed Affordable Energy for New Jersey. “The EMP presently relies too heavily on untested and not-yet realized technologies to meet our needs while hindering access to proven clean and affordable energy sources.”

“Further, as we’ve already begun to see substantial cost increases in energy just this year, the EMP will drive those costs up substantially higher,” added Morano. “In addition to accelerating the increased price of electricity to all consumers, this plan will require additional costs through the necessary retrofitting of each home and business to accommodate an electric-only infrastructure.”

Research from a McLaughlin & Associates survey shows that while New Jersey residents care strongly about climate change, they also disapprove of many of the key elements of the EMP.  Specifically, they reject the EMP’s mandates and efforts to eliminate consumer choice in how to provide energy to their home especially as it relates to natural gas. In fact, natural gas is viewed favorably by 82 percent of those surveyed.  The survey also points out that nearly 75 percent agree that the state should allow residents to choose how they want to power their homes.

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Sweeney Emphasizes Role of Natural Gas in Meeting State’s Energy Needs

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today emphasizing the role of natural gas in meeting the state’s energy needs and making the transition to clean fuels:

“As we make the transition to clean fuels and renewable sources of energy, it is important that we recognize the role of natural gas in meeting the state’s energy needs. Natural gas is an important component of the electric grid, making vital contributions to the reliability and affordability of energy for residents and businesses in New Jersey.

“Right now, 50 percent of electric generation in New Jersey is powered by natural gas, which has displaced coal and other dirtier and more costly fuels, and 75 percent of our homes are heated by natural gas. On average, households that use natural gas for heating, cooking, and clothes drying save $875 annually.

“The Energy Master Plan, which has the laudable goal of working towards a new era of clean energy, will impose a reduction in the availability of natural gas that is inconsistent with consumer preference, will increase costs and jeopardize the resiliency and reliability of our current energy systems. That is a price we should not be forced to pay.

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