The GSI report on the state energy master plan asks a big question: How much will it really cost?
A research report released on Wednesday by the Garden State Initiative gave a detailed look at the state’s energy master plan, wondering if it can work – and why the full cost of the plan has not been released.
GSI President Regina Egea said most New Jersey residents support a move towards cleaner energy, but said they deserve more details on a plan released in January 2020.
GSI officials said the report, New Jersey’s Energy Future: At What Cost to You ?, provides an overview of what’s – and isn’t – in the plan, and recommends that residents of the region require more information from Gov. Phil Murphy’s and state administration. Public Services Council.
“The EMP provides a vision of the administration’s goal of shifting our state to renewable energy, which most New Jerseyans support,” Egea said. “But visions and strategic plans without providing underlying costs are rightly greeted with broad skepticism and suspicion.
“The administration only recently launched a cost analysis that will not be completed for 18 months, but the implementation of the EMP, including contractual commitments for billions of taxpayer dollars, continues. Residents and businesses deserve to know the expected price of EMP and its impact on their daily lives. For this reason, any action on major elements of the plan must be delayed until, at the very least, the cost analysis is completed at the end of 2022. The stakes are simply too high for us to be able to. all do otherwise.
Egea said the administration and lawmakers must strike a balance between shifting to an inexorable reliance on renewable energy for the sake of sustainability and the economic burdens New Jerseyans already bear.
“So much remains unanswered,” she said. “These are the vital questions of residents and business owners that, until answered, should preclude any action on key elements of the EMP until – at least – the cost analysis essential is completed and communicated publicly so residents and businesses can respond. “
Here are some of the questions explored in the report, along with comments from GSI:
- What will it take for New Jersey to meet the EMP’s bold targets of becoming 50% carbon neutral by 2030 and 100% by 2050: the administration will miss the target it set itself in 2018 to ensure that renewable energies produce 21% of the state’s electricity by the end of 2021; last year renewables only represented 5.3%. So how can New Jersey meet the interim requirement of 35% by 2025, let alone the 50% target by 2030?
- The time and cost for each of our residents who will be forced to switch to all electric from gas heating (in addition to the expected sharp increase in their electricity bill): the PEM estimates the cost of the change at 7,500 $, but in Massachusetts the actual cost of converting to electric heat pumps was about $ 23,000, not including the purchase of a new electric range, grill, or dryer.
- The impact of the EMP on economic growth, incomes and employment: Besides several brilliant predictions, the details remain a mystery. While the state is likely to benefit from the flow of federal funds for wind power projects off its coast, many of the planned new jobs will require job training. Previous substantial funds for skills training have yet to generate many new jobs at new facilities like the Paulsboro marine terminal.
- The effects on key sectors of the state’s economy – particularly tourism, fishing, transportation and construction: The rigor of examining the 850-foot-tall wind turbines visible from the Jersey coast is already challenged by professional tourism organizations – our second industry in the state. The commercial fishing industry, our fifth largest industry, recognizes that a variety of environmental impacts associated with wind energy at sea and on land must be addressed and mitigated. Details are missing. The EMP plan to electrify the transport sector, including transport systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bypasses how it can meet the specific goals of substituting electric vehicles for gasoline vehicles and providing enough electric charging stations by 2050. And housing and business entrepreneurs are now asking about a plan to demand the environmental impacts of new projects.
- What Real Difference The EMP Can Make on Climate Change: Recognizing that New Jersey does not exist in a controlled bubble, our pace of investment must be balanced with recognition of the counterproductive actions of our global neighbors and competitors . An energy consultant estimates that the benefits of the EMP will amount to three to four days of pollution produced by China.