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New Jersey Business: State Proposals Put Energy Affordability, Reliability at Risk

By: Ray Cantor

The adoption of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP) earlier this year marked a potential turning point in how energy is produced and consumed in New Jersey. It could also mean the beginning of the end of reliable and affordable energy across all sectors.

Climate change and its potential impacts are driving the policy decisions in the EMP. The 2007 Global Warming Response Act had already mandated a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2020 (a target met primarily by the switch from coal to natural gas generation of electricity) and an 80% reduction in those emissions by 2050. On top of that, Gov. Phil Murphy announced his goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.

While the EMP is required to be updated every three years, the 2020 EMP set its goals and recommendations 30 years out. It called for the near total elimination of natural gas, and it also called for the complete electrification of the transportation sector. 

When the 2020 EMP was adopted, NJBIA expressed concerns because cost and reliability were not adequately considered. Yes, “least cost” policies were ostensibly a primary consideration, but “least cost” does not necessarily mean affordable. Also neglected, or perhaps the result of Pollyanna policy choices, was the reliability of energy supply.  

The full story can be read here.