According to a new report, it is unclear whether New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan (EMP) will help reduce emissions or what it will cost the state.
It is “unanswerable today whether the EMP will make a real difference in delivering the reduced emissions and climate change impact it anticipates,” the Garden State Initiative (GSI) said in its report. Insights into the cost of the plan and its impact on New Jerseyans “will not be known until the outside consultant completes a cost analysis near year-end 2022.”
Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a series of bills — S-3223, A-1653, A-4554 and A-5434 – to codify a 100% clean energy plan by 2050.
“From wind-turbine component manufacturing, to solar energy installation, to electric vehicles, the modernization of our energy sector will not only aid us in addressing climate change, but also drive significant economic growth and create good-paying, union jobs across the state,” Murphy said in a news release at the time. “By signing these bills today, we are marking another milestone on our path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and fueling our clean innovation economy.”
The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) determined A-4554 would result in a “marginal” one-time General Fund expenditure increase for the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to implement a solar incentive program. It would also increase electricity costs for the state and local government, as electricity rates will finance the incentive costs.
The measure would also lead to an indeterminate revenue increase to the “Preserve New Jersey Fund Account” in the General Fund.
Meanwhile, OLS said A-5434 would result in a “marginal” one-time state expenditure increase from the General Fund to the BPU, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Department of the Treasury to adopt rules and regulations for the dual-use solar program.
“The EMP provides a vision of the Administration’s goal to transition our state to renewable energy which most New Jerseyans support,” GSI President Regina M. Egea said in a release. “But visions and strategic plans without providing any underlying costs are rightfully met with broad skepticism and suspicion.
“The Administration only recently initiated a cost analysis that will not be complete for 18 months, yet implementation of the EMP, including contractual commitments for billions of ratepayer’s dollars, continues,” Egea added. “Residents and businesses deserve to know the EMP’s expected price tag and how it will impact their everyday lives. For that reason, any action on the plan’s major elements must be delayed until, at the very least, the cost analysis is finished at the end of 2022. The stakes are simply too high for all of us to do otherwise.”
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