TRENTON, NJ – Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) Mid-Atlantic Director Mike Butler delivered testimony at the first series of stakeholder meetings being held on the Draft New Jersey Energy Master Plan (EMP). During the meeting before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, he expressed concern that the sweeping energy policy proposals would have significantly negative impacts on families and businesses throughout New Jersey:
“While we laud the spirit of the aspirational goals in the EMP, from CEA’s perspective, we have to consider the realities and implications of the choices we are making today.
“An all-of-the-above approach to our energy solutions should be applauded; as should continued progress toward meeting our environmental challenges. However, the EMP significantly glosses over the hurdles facing the desired goal as well as the expense. More than 90 percent of New Jersey’s electric generation comes from nuclear and natural gas generation, and gas heats 75 percent of all homes in the state. How do we actually remove these energy sources from our daily lives without significant cost and disruption?
“We also need to reflect on the significant environmental progress that is already underway. The U.S. is more than 65 percent of the way toward meeting the environmental goals established by the Paris Climate Accord. No other nation on earth except Sweden is doing better.”
CEA conducted an analysis and found that New Jersey families, businesses, and households saved $21.2 billion from 2006 through 2016 because of natural gas supplies and pipeline infrastructure. All of these savings could become endangered if the EMP forces natural gas out of the energy equation.
The shift to put 330,000 new electric vehicles on the road in just a few years ignores the fact that there are only a little more than 23,000 in use now out of a total state vehicle population of over 6.4 million. The reality is that we are going to need transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel for many years to come.
Unfortunately, the public debate so far has also failed to note the fact that natural gas helps complement the build-out of renewable energy development in New Jersey and across the nation. Until battery storage technology and deployment improves and costs come down, we need natural gas and pipelines to help back up these resources when they aren’t available.
The fact remains that New Jersey is clean and getting cleaner. It has one of the lowest per capita rates of carbon emissions in the country. Energy doesn’t have to be an either/or discussion.
We urge the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to strike a balance with a portfolio that makes room for natural gas, pipelines and a variety of resources and efficiency technologies to get to the cleaner future we all want without hurting those who can afford it the least.”
About Consumer Energy Alliance
Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) is the leading consumer advocate for energy, bringing together families, farmers, small businesses, distributors, producers and manufacturers to support America’s energy future. With more than 500,000 members nationwide, our mission is to help ensure stable prices and energy security for households across the country. We believe energy development is something that touches everyone in our nation, and thus it is necessary for all of us to actively engage in the conversation about how we develop our diverse energy resources and energy’s importance to the economy.