In South Jersey, people need smart energy solutions that drive new development and sustainable economic growth — something that has been missing for far too long due to poor policy decisions in Trenton. However, Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration’s new Energy Master Plan is just another in a long line of bad policy plans.
While it is ambitious for New Jersey to try to reach a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, this plan fails to answer the primary questions all blueprints should address — how will this be implemented successfully and how much will this cost consumers, ratepayers, taxpayers and residents?
New Jersey needs a realistic and sustainable Energy Master Plan that doesn’t merely outline a political agenda but rather lays out a sound public policy platform. The state needs a pragmatic policy that balances its energy needs with efforts to reduce the state’s carbon footprint. Sound, effective and fair energy policy needs to:
As a coastal community on the Eastern Seaboard, few other states in the nation have the same vested interest in solutions to climate change than New Jersey. That is why we anticipated the state to release a new energy master plan that would be both challenging in its proposals and aggressive in its timelines. Yet, unfortunately, the plan appears to be based more on a public relations agenda than sound, realistic public policy.
Essentially, the plan seeks to fully convert the state’s energy generation and consumption to 100% “renewable” sources by 2050 — primarily defining renewable as electric energy only, generated through wind and solar sources. In tandem, the state would phase out all other sources of energy, including clean, affordable, and reliable natural gas.
The plan, however, glazes over several key concerns. One is that the new energy sources are still in the conceptual phase. Another is that the state seeks to phase out all other energy sources on a timetable that appears faster than the new sources may materialize. And, not the least of concerns, is the extremely high cost to consumers through the required retrofit of all homes and businesses, as well as the astronomical price of electricity compared to other resources.Continue reading
All reasonable New Jerseyans, including Gov. Murphy, understand that the state must do everything it can to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In that light, the governor’s recently proposed energy plan has the right aim. A requirement, for example, for builders to take into account the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, is a well-intentioned way to limit harmful emissions.
But as the old adage admonishes, we should measure twice before cutting. That’s because there are realities that every plan must take into account, especially when it comes to protecting energy consumers, advancing job creation, and ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace. As a former vice president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, I understand exactly how important those considerations are when it comes to ensuring a bright future for New Jersey.
Today, the people of New Jersey depend on natural gas to provide both electrical reliability and cost savings. Natural gas provides nearly a quarter of the state’s power and heats three quarters of the state’s homes. The electricity market that governs New Jersey, PJM, has used a boom in natural gas development to save consumers in the marketplace more than $3 billion, all while lowering harmful emissions by 30% since 2005 as a result of decreased coal use.
The unintended consequences of Murphy’s plan could be severe. First, eliminating natural gas use will saddle energy customers with higher bills and raise the cost of living across New Jersey. It will also likely hurt power reliability, which would have huge consequences for our state’s manufacturers. As someone who for years worked hand-in-hand with the businesses that employee nearly one million people in the Garden State, I can say with certainty that raising electric bills and endangering reliability is a surefire way to eliminate jobs and drive away industrial prospects.Continue reading
By Bob Prunetti
When I led the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce and served as Mercer County executive, I got a firsthand look at the importance of smart planning. I also came to recognize the critical role of energy, especially to the consumers who use and pay for it and for its importance to economic development. That’s why New Jersey’s energy plan, recently announced by Gov. Phil Murphy, is so troubling. While it admirably aims to establish New Jersey as a leader on climate change, its real effect will be to saddle the state’s consumers with higher energy costs and burden taxpayers with more state-funded subsidies. This will have a chilling effect on future economic development in our state.
The plan is ambitious to say the least. Under it, New Jersey would become the first state to require new buildings and their builders to account for climate change, implementing new climate-based measures for government approval. The plan also includes initiatives to achieve an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2050. This administration plans to achieve all of this in part by requiring 100% so-called “clean energy” by 2050, meaning zero use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, within 30 years.
The problem? New Jersey can’t simply walk away from natural gas. Today, this fuel heats three-quarters of all homes in the state and accounts for half the state’s electricity generation. Natural gas is a critical part of providing reliable power to the nation’s most densely populated customer base while also producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions than an alternative such as coal. In other words, natural gas is critical to transitioning to a clean energy future. Completely cutting out the use of natural gas, as Gov. Murphy proposes, will undoubtedly lead to higher costs and less reliable power for consumers.
The other glaring problem? Getting to 100% renewables will require massive subsidies for the state’s handpicked energy winners, a move that means even more money from the pockets of New Jersey’s taxpayers.
A coalition of labor, energy, business and civic groups have launched Affordable Energy for New Jersey to help shape energy policy following the release of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan.
The group includes the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey, Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825, Consumer Energy Alliance, Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey, New Jersey Builders Association, New Jersey Concrete & Aggregate Association, Southern New Jersey Development Council, Utility & Transportation Contractors Association, UA Pipefitters Local 274 and Operating Engineers Local 825.
“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 cost the residents of New Jersey and what is the realistic timetable to implement any changes?” said Ron Morano, who will serve as executive director of the group. “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.”
Affordable Energy for New Jersey’s goals include: growing support for clean, affordable, reliable natural gas; creating knowledge about New Jersey’s access to natural gas; broadening the conversation from production to delivery of energy; and emphasizing affordability of energy while reinforcing safety and environmental benefits.
TRENTON, NJ – Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) today joined civic, labor, energy and business groups to launch Affordable Energy for New Jersey, a group working to ensure New Jersey residents continue to have safe, reliable and affordable energy choices in the wake of the recent release of the state’s Energy Master Plan (EMP).
“CEA is honored to be a part of this diverse Coalition to advocate for sensible, common-sense energy policies to ensure we can continue to have clean natural gas,” CEA Mid-Atlantic Director Michael Butler said. “This is crucial to meeting the energy needs and budgets of our friends and neighbors. New Jersey depends on natural gas to meet the vast majority of home heating and power demands, while keeping emissions down and helping provide a clean energy future.
“We can’t allow reckless policies to hurt consumer’s budgets, leave our most vulnerable out in the cold and our skilled tradesmen and women out of a job. For too long, posturing and irresponsible rhetoric has driven New Jersey’s policy discussions on natural gas and we are proud to join this great coalition to help dispel misinformation and advocate for a secure energy future for everyone in the Garden State.”Continue reading
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.
The state of New Jersey is in the process of transitioning to a low carbon economy, which means businesses in the state may be faced with new regulations.
Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order that puts the state on a path of transitioning to 100 percent clean energy use by 2050.
Ray Cantor, vice president of government affairs for the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, told The Center Square that the governor’s Energy Master Plan “seeks to not only transform the electrical grid to ‘clean’ sources by essentially eliminating natural gas, it also seeks to electrify the building and transportation sectors.
“While we are supportive of decarbonizing our economy to the extent feasible, we have significant concerns with the cost as well as feasibility,” Cantor said.
Cantor said his association is in favor of reporting requirements that allow for a good inventory of carbon sources. Cantor believes reducing carbon by using renewable energy and supporting nuclear generating facilities will have a more positive impact on the economy and business communities than banning a fuel or source like natural gas.Continue reading
An upcoming cascade of new state regulations to respond to climate change is causing trepidation in the business community even before being issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection, business leaders said.
Spokespeople for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association said yesterday that their members know little about the regulations that will implement Gov. Phil Murphy’s recently updated Energy Master Plan (EMP), but fear that they will impose onerous burdens on companies as part of what Murphy called “the most sweeping set of climate regulations in the country.”
“The fear is probably more than what we know,” said Ray Cantor, vice president of government affairs for the association. “The EMP really didn’t take into account any of the comments that business groups offered, and then [Gov. Murphy] signed the Executive Order the same day with very vague language that said DEP shall change its air, land-use and other regulations to take into account climate change. That’s all we know.”
Shawn LaTourette, DEP chief of staff, said the EMP process was conducted by the Board of Public Utilities, which included business representatives in its discussions. Now, DEP will oversee the regulatory process, and the agency wants to hear from all stakeholders, including the business community.
“We’re at the beginning of the next chapter, and we’re inviting the business community to come with us in writing the next chapter,” LaTourette said in an interview with NJ Spotlight. “We’re going to be with them shoulder to shoulder, just like we are with local governments and our partners in the advocacy community because we are really all in this together.”Continue reading
TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan unveiled last week to address climate change has drawn sharp criticism from 30th District Assemblymen Edward “Ned” Thomson and Sean Kean.
Both lawmakers, whose district includes Belmar and Lake Como, claim that EMP’s goal to move New Jersey to “100 percent clean energy” by 2050 will dramatically increase energy costs, citing specifically the proposed phase-out of natural gas, which currently heats more than 75 percent of homes and businesses, and generates about 50 percent of the state’s electricity.
“Completely eliminating natural gas is irresponsible and will dramatically increase energy costs at a time when so many of our residents are struggling to keep up with higher taxes and an exorbitant cost of living,” said Thomson (R-Monmouth). “Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is a noble goal, but the ambition of the plan is more than our residents can afford.”
While also acknowledging there are positive elements in the plan, Kean (R-Monmouth) said New Jersey is facing an affordability crisis and many people cannot afford to pay more for energy or home heating. As a result, he said, the plan must realistically plan for energy consumption and production that is responsible and affordable.
“We cannot rush to renewable energy if the cost is too great and will not meet the state’s energy demands,” Kean said. “Natural gas provides over half of our electricity and heats three quarters of New Jersey’s homes. Natural gas must still be part of the EMP in a thoughtful and economical way.”